The last day of this year’s Inferno Metal Festival had some of the best bands, and also the most morbid show, plus the definitely shortest concert. The night’s headliner, Abbath, left the stage after four songs, which was a huge disappointment to everyone who came to see them. But we got great shows from Primordial and Belphegor, and Slagmaur started the whole thing with this year’s most spectacular and also the most morbid show. (Photo above Helmut Lehner from Belphegor)
I saw Slagmaur at Inferno two year’s ago, when they played at John Dee and not the Rockefeller stage. I didn’t become a fan of their music, but they had some interesting masks and did a good concert for the fans. This year they had really prepared for a shock performance with two public hangings and ending the show by burning a witch on an upside down cross.
I don’t know how others reacted to Slagmaur’s show, but I must admit that the whole setting gave me strong discomfort. With all the bad things happening in the world now and among other things, Turkey’s president promising to reinstate the death penalty if his wins the election. Of course both the hangings and the burning was done by stuntmen, but it was very realistic. It might have meant to be a comment to the reason we celebrate Easter, but to me it was a bit over the top.
Primordial played at Blastfest in 2015, and I really liked the band. Specially singer Alan Averill, who is everywhere on stage gives a highly visual profile to the band. I wasn’t disappointed this year too, the band was tight and good, and Averill gave us a new example of how to give a live concert that extra ingredient.
Belphegor was new to me, but I’ll happily see them again anytime. The are a Austrian blackened death metal band that started out in 1991, and guitarist and singer Helmut Lehner has been with the band the whole time. Bassist, Serpent, started in 2007 while drummer Simon “BloodHammer” Shilling, started two years ago. Their guitarist, Sascha “Impaler”, has been a live guitarist since 2015.
Belphegor is an old school band, with a strong satanistic and heathen philosophy. Their name is taken from the demon Belphegor, and their albums and lyrics reflect their beliefs. On stage they gave the fans a straight and good show, no extra flashy behavior, but some great playing. Belphegor is high on my list of favorite bands from this year’s Inferno Metal Festival, both musically and visually.
Abbath was the headliner this last day, and the expectations were high to their performance. The band is Abbath Doom Occulta from Immortal on guitar and vocals and King ov Hell on bass. Abbath the musician is larger than life, but a fantastic guitarist, and usually a great stage personality.
The concert started with Abbath blowing flames before the band came on. Their playing was good and tight, and I have always liked King ov Hell’s bass playing in the different bands I have seen him. I left the hall after four songs, just missing that Abbath threw his guitar down on the stage and left the stage. So far we haven’t got any good explanation for this behavior, but it was a pity for the organizer and all the fans who had come for this concert.
Except for the sad end to the festival, Inferno 2017 has been a great festival for me. I missed it last year because of an early Easter that collided with my SXSW trip, but it was good to be back this Easter. The festival is extremely well organized, everything works smoothly, and the audience, who come from all over the world, are friendly and well behaved. Inferno is one of my favorite festivals, both for the music and for the ambience, and I will definitely come back next year…
All photos are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.