As day four of the festival arrived we decided to pay our annual pilgrimage to Neseblood Record store, previously the infamous ‘Helvete’. There had been organised trips to ‘Helvete’ earlier in the week but we decided to try and avoid the crowds. The tiny shop is packed with extreme metal memorabilia and of course the famous ‘Black Metal’ wall from the Mayhem photos. Photos taken and guest book signed, we headed to Rockefeller for the last night of Inferno 2017.
Norway’s Slagmaur describe themselves as “The scariest and darkest black metal band ever to set foot on planet Earth” and when your stage set up consists of an inverted cross along with two people hanging at either side of the stage it’s hard to disagree. As the sinister cloaked Plague Doctor makes his way onto the stage, things become even more dark.
It would be easy to get lost in the description of Slagmaur’s stage show but this band are definitely not style over substance. The songs themselves were perfectly executed and the musicians did not allow what was going on in the background to distract them from their own performances. As their time on stage came to an end they proceeded to hoist a ‘witch’ on to an inverted cross and set them on fire. Whilst the whole of the venue held their breaths, the witch burned and burned. Finally after what seemed like forever they were extinguished.
Well done to all involved for safely executing such a performance and overall the stage show and music came together to produce a dark and memorable experience.
The haunting Celtic intro set the scene for Irishmen Primordial. Front man Alan Averill was the last of the band to hit the stage as they opened with “Where Greater Men Have Fallen”. A receptive crowd in Rockefeller enjoyed “Babel’s Tower” and Alan used his commanding presence to have everyone chant along to “As Rome Burns”.
In contrast to the visual performance from Slagmaur, Primordial relied on the strength of their songs, their musical ability and Alan’s onstage persona to produce another amazing show of Inferno Festival. “Empire Falls” was a highlight for me and so far Saturday was going from strength to strength.
As the smell of incense filled Rockefeller, Austrian blackened death metal band Belphegor took to the stage. A stage that appeared to have every surface adorned with animal parts. Being in the photo pit, trapped next to a pig snout is not a pleasant experience and I was glad to get out and join the crowd for the remainder of the set. A well played and tightly choreographed performance followed. Given the events that were to follow, many were saying that Belphegor were the rightful headliners of Inferno…
After an initially impressive fire breathing entrance on stage, it became apparent that all was not as it should be with Abbath. As not only a huge fan of Immortal but also someone who loves the first release from Abbath himself, I find it disheartening that he seems to no longer take himself, his fans or his band mates, seriously. As he proceeded to make various noises into the microphone I couldn’t help but think that the joke was on us for cheering back.
After only four songs, problems with his guitar resulted in him smashing it in two before walking off stage. A tech quickly plugged in a new guitar whilst Creature and King attempted to keep things going but it was apparent that Abbath was not coming back.
Soon an Inferno promoter took to the stage to inform us that the band would not be playing and they would release an official statement about the night’s events. The crowd’s disappointment was apparent but everyone graciously accepted that was the end of Inferno 2017.
At the time of writing there has been no official statement from the band who are due to play other European festivals this summer.
Despite an unfortunate end to an otherwise great festival I look forward to what Inferno 2018 will bring. My personal highlights the year were Red Harvest, Venom Inc, Carcass, Samael, Slagmaur and Primordial. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have a nice cup of tea and listen to some Enya. Only joking, see you all at Incineration Fest next month!
Photos by Exposing Shadows Photography