Inferno Festival 2023, Oslo, Norway

In the winter cold city of Oslo, Norway, an ominous festival took place gathering the masses from all over the world. In commemoration, and with passion toward the metal scene, the town that gave birth to extreme black metal hosted the Inferno festival with a packed line-up. The chilly winds gushed as light snow hit the ground, yet nothing held these metal heads back from attending this brutal congregation.  The festival consisted of a web of venues, The Rockefeller is the main hub, with a connected venue underground known as John Dee, both upcoming bands and well seasoned ones shared stages. Within under a mile the day would get started at Vaterland a local pub with plenty of draft beer and amazing finger food. Other venues partnered with Inferno Festival such as Rock in, Kniven and Brewgata, all local businesses supporting the extreme metal scene.  The bands that opened the gates to hell all brought their own style, aggression and talent.

Ritual Day 1

For gallery and review click on the link…happy reads!

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INGESTED– Played a packed venue, delivered some hammering neck breakers. Their sound perforated eardrums with such heavy bass notes, and breakdowns. Their energy on set is virulent and will floor all standing near by. A force to be reckoned!

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Nekromantheon– This band is energetic, and a punch to the throat. Fans gathered early in the day to witness such powerful performance with amazing, riffs, guitar solos and thrash metal influenced vocals. Their set warmed the stage at Inferno Fest.

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Blood Red Throne– In the underground stage, Blood Red Throne brought epic tones, with aggression and gruesome vocals. The band played a tight set, with phenomenal death metal emanating to the packed John Deer space. In blood red lights, the band brutalized this overfilled venue, heads did roll.

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Djevel– Darkness descended upon gloomy Norway as Djevel performed an ominous ritual. With the sounds of demons, and guitar hymns, Djevel set the black metal mood for Inferno Festival, a genre worshipped by all. This is the sound your mother warned you of.

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Dark Funeral-Swedish satanic black metal rode in their black horses bringing pestilence and satanic mantras. Dark Funeral played a phenomenal ritual bringing their satanic guitar riffs, insane vocals and ferocious drum work. Hailed satan, the Rockefeller did indeed.

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Cannibal Corpse– A savage night, a gruesome set, and a lively George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher on stage rapped and strangled the fans. Vicious guitar solos, decapitating bass tones, throat ravaging vocals. Cannibal Corpse, came (blood), destroyed and “cut their fucking heads off” Oslo was not ready for such glamorous violent attack.

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Emperor– The mighty emperor closed the night, playing thirty years of black metal music in a powerful set only one could dream of. Black metal reigned at the Rockefeller, in Oslo Norway during the Inferno Festival, the capital of the world where black metal was baptized in fire. Emperor, relentlessly played tracks like “In the Wordless Chamber”, “Inno A Satana” to which fans chanted along to. Ihsahn, and ensemble captivated metal heads with ravenous tracks like “I Am The Black Wizards” they never slowed down and the fans raged through out the entire set. It was a memorable night, filled with diabolical metal.


Ritual Day 2

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ODIUM– The band played a great set, with orchestrations, ominous guitar riffs and relentless drum work, all complimenting the gory vocals. Inferno Festival saw the return of Mustis on stage after a hiatus and the band sounded morbid AF. Odium’s orchestrations, and malevolent vocals set the Rockefeller stage for a night filled with evil. Black metal as pure as fire, Odium played violently, and majestically.

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Darvaza– In the hollow grounds of John Deer, Darvaza came and wreak havoc with their fierce performance on stage. Their sound can be interpreted as a locomotive harrowing you to a glorious death. Their black metal is pure mayhem and so is their magnetic performance. Be ready to witness pure gore and putrid vocals, savage guitar work and beheading drum work. Darvaza will leave you speechless.

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WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM– Hailing from Olympia, Washington, this American black metal band delivers infernus tracks. Their powerful set left the crowd wanting more, intense and vicious sound. With hints of blackened melodies, the band ravaged the Rockefeller, fans headbanged and raised their horns hailing Wolves In The Throne Room.

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Lili Refrain– A solo project, a ritualistic performance emanating bone chilling vocals and drum live loops. With powerful vocals, hymns that captivate the soul Lili Refrain drew the crowd to the cavernous John Deer.

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Godflesh– A set filled with sonic industrial tones, set the night for a diverse line-up at the Rockefeller. Their sound made metal heads sway back and forth, entering a trans, transporting them to the underground clubs of Birmingham. Heavy and groovy, Godflesh delivered a furious performance.

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Masacre– The South American, death metal band, not to be confused with Massacre, ravaged the John Deer Venue with political tunes filled with rage and brutal songs. The “masacre” started and the pit set the place a blaze. Masacre, filled the stage with adrenaline, violent lyrics and performed a neck breaking show.

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Amorphis– Finnish band, Amorphis played a bright set, playing tunes from their latest release The Bee. The band played a comforting set, energizing the crowd. After a night of gruesome and violent performances this was the perfect way to calm the soul and chant to tracks and party at the Rockefeller. Amorphis played flawlessly, uniting metalheads and soothing their ears; a majestic performance.


Ritual Day 3

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Vemod– Surrounded by darkness, the sounds of Vemod transcended across the Rockefeller. With their promising sounds, Vemod stood tall, delivered a menacing force early in the night. Their energy carried their sound and fans were mesmerized by such complexity and sinister music.

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Dwaal– Set the atmosphere on the stage, sometimes you need that hypnotic sound to give you a break from two days of aggressiveness. Non-the-less, Dwaal added density to the festival, performing a melancholic set. The sounds were heavy and sludgy, this six piece band keeps you hooked with dark tunes, the uprising sound of doom and post-metal aggression.

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Sakis Tolis– Debutant, but not new to the music scene, Sakis Tolis’s project delivered a bone crushing performance. The quartet played an energized set, delivering mellow tones, adding heaviness and darkness to his music. There is definitely a hint of Rotting Christ, but separation comes in the lyrics, intertwined with a melodic guitar, cohesive and heavy guitar work. The live performance was amplified by vicious vocals, intricate guitar leads, and amazing percussion. Hail Sakis Tolis.

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Dol Vorde Ens Navn– A black metal supergroup, Dol Vorde Ens Navn drew the crowd, filling it with darkness and brilliant musicianship. With complex vocals, this black metal band delivered a ravaging set, enticing the fans with such sinister sound. The melancholic and baleful sound is a testament to pure black metal.

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Arcturus– A supergroup, delivered a captivating avant-garde sound. The fans hailed their sound, clean vocals, and amazing drum work. The talents of ICS Vortex, Skoll, Sverd, Knut Magne Valle and Hellhammer cohesively created a heavy and melodic band not violating your ears, yet better drawing your dark soul to this creative sound. It is clear, their onstage aura transcends across music halls and draws the masses to rage during their performance. Despite their funky attire, their sound is anything but that.

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Nile– The American death metal band is at its strongest yet. The band delivered a skull bashing performance, delivering all evil and unleashing those whom the gods detest. Ravaging vocals and vicious guitar solos, the rhythm guitar and explosive drums enraged the fans, turning them into moshpit fiends. The Egyptology inspired ensemble packed the Rockefeller and played brutally tracks like Sacrifice Unto Sebek, and Vile Nilotic Rites, if you were not loosing your mind to such aggressive tracks you are not worthy.

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Gaerea– A Portuguese cathartic black metal band with no boundaries and limitations when it comes to sound. Their aggressive live performance draws the crowd and leaves them talking about such a powerful set. Dressed in black, hooded covered heads, Gaerea delivers an intoxicating performance that will harrow your soulless body through the pits of hell. Having concluded their North American Tour, they brought to Oslos, Norway their most vicious sonic attack; one which will resonate for months to come across the vast land of Norway. You want to capture lead singer and composer of Gaerea, good luck! His energy and mannerisms make it for a fun show and hard challenge to capture on camera, however the band sets the tone for this genre of music. Hail Gaerea.

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Watain– The black satanic band, Watain set the ritualistic stage for a close of the third day of Inferno Festival. With pyro and blood spilled, Watain delivered a satanic ritual. Their sound re-animated the dead, black metal at its finest. A ferocious performance was delivered by Watain, soulless bodies roamed the premise, as each drum blast and guitar solo violated the corpses. The pits of hell opened, releasing diabolical forces, as Erik and ensemble performed a sacrificial ritual. Their sound was sharp, aggressive and the stage a fiery pit. Watain as never seen before, the energy conveyed on stage shook the earth; a must see live ritual.


Ritual Day 4

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Urgehal– Classic black metal purveyors took on the stage on the final day of the Inferno Festival. With sacrilegious hymns, vicious guitar riffs and gory vocals, the fans witnessed a brutal performance. Urgehal, delivered pyro, gore and malevolent tunes. Their two lead singers performed a bone crushing lyrical maelstrom.

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Afsky– A rendition to brutal sounds, Afsky, mystified the fans. A powerful performance by this band, the fans gathered and raged to each heavy tune and riff. The vocals exploded with gore as the guitar work barraged the crowd whose adrenaline was pumping. Aggressive, and atmospheric sounds conveyed on the stage will linger in the dark halls of the Rockefeller.

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Crowbar– The New Orleans locals brought their sludge heavy metal to Oslo, Norway. Their heavy octane sound grinned the bones off fans. A powerful, sound resonated across the Rockefeller, exposing fans to this great sound. Heavy riffs, brutal vocals and a visionary drum work, Crowbar enhanced the night.

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Fleshmeadow– A heavy metal sound, with hints of death metal technical guitar work is what Fleshmeadow brought to the stage. A relentless beating and harrowing sound elicit the darkest corners of fans minds, technical black metal- what in the F, you are going to love it. A talented band, with a vicious sound, performed meticulously. Aggression, technical guitar work, ravenous drum work and virulent vocals is what Fleshmeadow stands for, they will floor you.

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Uada– The black metal band hailing from Portland, Oregon payed their darkest set yet. With pagan inspired lyrics and magnificent guitar work, they made fans howl, headbang and mosh all at the same time. Their relentless performance was surrounded by darkness, and true black metal fans. The band showcased their best black metal across continents, with howls, demonic vocals and mind blowing riffs Uada killed their set.

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Slegest- The sounds of blackened doom metal were brought to Inferno Festival by Slegest. A quartet hailing from Leikanger, Vestland Norway, heavy riffs and aggressive vocals were emanated across the hall. Their energy on stage was contagious and the fans raged nonstop. Witness pure brutality, witness Slegest.

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Abbath– The night prepared for the final three bands, and Abbath brought his best performance yet. Emerging from the dark winter mounts of Norway, Abbath warmed the night with pyro and fire breathing spectacles. Abbath played a barbaric set, with great guitar skills, bass notes and drum work the band perforated fans souls. A full venue raged as Abbath delivered tracks like

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Unleashed– The Swedish death metal purveyors brought adrenaline and aggression, yet another ominous force to be reckoned. Their lear singer, Johnny Hedlund fronts the band with poise and savagery. The band delivers a mind blowing compilation of guitar solos, vigorous drum work and gory vocals. Relentless tracks and energetic on stage persona render fans to mosh and ravage the venue as the Inferno Festival approached its end. Unleashed performed a tight set, with skillful musicianship suffocating and impressive act. No room to breath, as they played brutal song after another. A must watch live band.

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Elder– Doom metal conveyors, hailing from Fairhaven, Massachusetts, closed the final night of Inferno Festival. With their heavy riffs, and tight performance Elder enamored those who had yet seen them live. Their guitar work is unparalleled, tuned to the heaviest the band played songs from their latest release Innate Passage. Slow and heavy that is how we like it, after a night of aggression.

Inferno Festival brought some of the heaviest acts to Oslo, Norway and fans from all over the world came to witness them live. Four days of hell, in the heart of Oslo, with satanic rituals, malignant lyrics and harrowing guitar work from many bands united a crowd one thing in common; Metal! From multiple venues hosting talented musicians, to the centralized Rockefeller main venue, metal heads united and together watch history being made on stages where blood spilled, vomit projected, fire breathers, tattoo expos, and conferences were held daily. Inferno Festival is one to witness at least once in a lifetime, even though the return in imminent; this Festival has some of the best performers in the black metal, death metal, doom metal and more. It was an unforgettable experience.

By: Jose Barrientos

Photos By: Jose Barrientos

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