Midgardsblot 2018 – Where Black Metal and Vikings Meet

Dimmu Borgir 17082018-18Midgardsblot is a unique festival in that it combines two cultures that you shouldn’t think had too much in common  – the extreme metal and the viking communities. But this happened for the fourth year last weekend at the Midgard viking center at Borre in Norway, and what a weekend it was! (Photo above: Dimmu Borgir)

Acyl 17082018-07

Norway have several black metal festivals, but only one Midgardsblot. Here you can see Vikings battle each other, you can buy Viking crafts, and you can see the best black metal bands and bands that combine metal aesthetics with medieval folk roots.

Watain 18082018-30Erik Danielsson from Watain

Every Easter a big crowd gather in Oslo for the Inferno festival, four days of Black Easter with several bands and a multi-national crowd from more than twenty different countries from all over the world. In Bergen the Norwegian metal family gathers for Beyond The Gates in late August, and they got to Karmøy, south of Bergen, for Karmøygeddon in May. The Norwegian Viking community have several gatherings, in Lofoten, at Borre, 70-80 miles south of Oslo, and also other places. There are quite a few who try to live a simple life without today’s technology, making their clothes from natural materials and hunting for food without preservatives. It may look a bit strange for outsiders, but when you think about it t makes a lot of sense.

Abyssic 16082018-13

Gildehall bar 18082018-01The Gildehall in the background

At Midgardsblot both of these cultures meet for a three days festival. This was the fourth time it is arranged, and in my opinion, the best so far. The location is historical, since the area is full of old grave mounds from the Viking era. There is a Viking museum there, and they have also built a replica of a “gildehall”, the building where the Vikings held their parties. For the festival the organizers have put up the main stage beside the gildehall and there is also a Viking camp plus a camp for the metal fans.

Blot 16082018-18

Blot 16082018-20

Blot 16082018-23The Blot

The bands who play at the festival is a mix of the best black metal bands, but also with folk bands who go back to the Nordic Viking and medieval roots, and most of the bands are from Norway, Iceland, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, but also with more international bands. One of the most interesting bands this year was Acyl, whose members are Algerians living in Paris, playing metal mixed with Algerian folk music. Last year the Mongolian band Tengger Cavalry played, mixing black metal with Mongolian folk elements and throat singing.

Dimmu Borgir 17082018-05Dimmu Borgir

This year’s headliners were Norwegian Dimmu Borgir and Swedish Watain. Both gave us impressing shows in very different metal styles. Dimmu Borgir are more of a prog metal, or sympho metal band, while Watain are hardcore old school black metal. Other great performances came from the Greek band Rotting Christ, Hamferð from the Faroe Islands and from Einar Selvik, the leader of Wardruna and also the composer of the music to the TV series Vikings.

Blot 16082018-31The mayor of the county of Vestfold, Rune Hogsnes

Metal yoga 17082018-03Metal yoga

Midgardsblot started in 2015, and the fourth edition this year was well organized, with great music and friendly people, plus all the Viking activities and everything else that belongs to a festival. The seminars are high quality with interesting and relevant topics. They also have a special kind of yoga for those who need to shake loose – metal yoga where the instructor growls with the music.

Viking Battle 17082018-02

Viking Battle 17082018-10Viking battle

All in all the extended weekend at Midgardsbot is three days with great music, interesting information and extraordinary people. I am already looking forward to next year.

Here are the bands that played at Midgardsblot 2018

Bergtatt

Bergtatt 16082018-10

Bergtatt 16082018-04

Abyssic

Abyssic 16082018-09

Abyssic 16082018-01

Mork

Mork 16082018-04

Mork 16082018-13

Acyl

Acyl 17082018-01

Acyl 17082018-02

Apocalypse Orchestra

Apocalypse Orchestra 17082018-01

Apocalypse Orchestra 17082018-06

Folket Bortafor Nordavinden

Folket Bortafor Nordavinden 17082018-01

Garmarna

Garmarna 17082018-11

Garmarna 17082018-03

Garmarna 17082018-08

Kaunan

Kaunan 17082018-06

Kaunan 17082018-03

Nexion

Nexion 17082018-10

Nexion 17082018-14

Nexion 17082018-03

Rotting Christ

Rotting Christ 17082018-28

Rotting Christ 17082018-14

Rotting Christ 17082018-22

Dimmu Borgir

Dimmu Borgir 17082018-14

Dimmu Borgir 17082018-48

Dimmu Borgir 17082018-45

Dimmu Borgir 17082018-25

Aarabrot

Aarabrot 18082018-08

Aarabrot 18082018-05

Darkher

Darkher 18082018-07

Darkher 18082018-05

Einar Kvitrafn Selvik

Einar Selvik 18082018-04

Einar Selvik 18082018-09

Ensiferum

Ensiferum 18082018-24

Ensiferum 18082018-09

Ensiferum 18082018-05

Ensiferum 18082018-17

Hamferð

Hamferd 18082018-04

Hamferd 18082018-15

Hamferd 18082018-05

Nytt Land

Nytt Land 18082018-01

Nytt Land 18082018-03

Saor

Saor 18082018-08

Saor 18082018-10

Saor 18082018-11

Vanvidd

Vanvidd 18082018-07

Vanvidd 18082018-06

Vanvidd 18082018-05

Watain

Watain 18082018-27

Watain 18082018-23

Watain 18082018-19

Watain 18082018-20

Watain 18082018-15

All photos are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.

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