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The Hole In The Sky festival in Bergen is now in its 7th year. It took place for the first time honouring the late Immortal drummer Erik “Grim” Brødreskift and has established itself since then. Already the years before we wanted to report about this heavy indoor festival for you and now we finally made it.
Friday, August. 25th 2006
Maybe it’s even more extreme in Norway than in other countries but in almost every band you hear names of people who play or have played with the band and who you know from at least one other band. With Grimfist Horgh (Immortal) played drums and made the band known even outside of Norway. This was long ago and the “new man” on drums is an American and is called Dustin Perle. He’s not quite a match to the drum machine Horgh but it’s enough for Grimfist. Those who had the luck to squeeze into the garage the previous day to hear Morbid Angel were reminded of them now in many places. The really brilliant, new front man, Tommy Hjelm, who had his “acid test” here, put beside his aggressive vocals also the crowd into good humor by chatting to them after almost every song; drinking toasts to them and joking. Great start of the evening! You should really check this band out live when they’re playing in your area. (sa)
Jeez, that was really scary. Ages ago I had a CD of Witchcraft in my player and since then never touched it again. While I still tried to remember why the Swedes already entered the stage. Dark progressive rock folk actually sounds pretty interesting and also appeals to me but what Witchcraft had to offer here can be described with only one word: boring! Ok, maybe two words: extremely boring. Dreary lyrics, monotonic melodies and pseudo avant-garde posturing. I didn’t watch the performance until the end but I don’t think that much changed in the last 10 minutes. One Witchcraft fan, who had come a long to see the band, couldn’t agree with me at all and thought the band was excellent but we all know tastes differ. (sa)
Right now Gojira are definitely the best that France has to offer and one of the best acts of this year’s Hole In The Sky. This death metal band has an excitingly new sound and stands out from the masses. A confident, new band that managed to find an untrodden spot on a well-worn path. (sm)
Shaefer proved here on the mic that his voice hasn’t lost anything of its intensity and brutality. What distinguishes Atheist from other bands of their genre are the many beaks, time changes, riffs and technical finesse. To be honest, for me this is just too much but I have to acknowledge beyond doubt that the partly very challenging songs were perfectly played and also with a lot of joy. Songs like “Modern Man” got for me a little bit too much out of control and I have to out myself as a jazz-passages hater. Anyway, Atheist are back again and even though songs like “I Deny” remind of their heyday and their time with late bassist Roger Patterson the band pushes forward once again and wants to have another go. (sa)
The sound, which was great the whole day, paired with harmonious light and an almost splits-doing Mike, Schmier in top form and an equally awesome Marc on drums made up the right mixture for Destructions thrash smashers. The song choice covered once again the whole productive period of the band. Unfortunately I couldn’t see the encores of the concert and with Destruction you should always stick around to the very end because there’s always something happening. Thus a brave spectator, who was able to withstand the unbearable air moisture and heat a little longer than me, told me that Grutle Kjellson, singer of Enslaved, rampaged with the band onstage as a guest musician for the encores. (sa)
The question who the headliner of the evening was needn’t to be asked because already before Satyricon entered the stage, all hell broke loose. The Norwegians didn’t disappoint their crowd and won their laurels with a set consisting of old classics and some new stuff from the “Now, Diabolical” album. The old sardine factory was full to bursting and even after the performance was long over some die hard fans just didn’t want to leave. Great finale of the day! (sm)
Saturday, August, 26th 2006
Keep Of Kalessin
Obsidian C, who also plucked guitar at Hole In The Sky, had the honour to open the last day with his band Keep Of Kalessin. Unfortunately there was a little bit too much partying at some after-parties and so only a handful of people had managed to attend the gig. The band didn’t seem to be bothered by it because they played as if there was no tomorrow and with their bad ass black metal woke up even the weariest sleepyheads . (sm)
Sagh’s melodic doom was very catchy and managed it to get to the crowd. The musicians, who you usually can find in a bit more heavier climes, surprised here with their softer side. The ridiculously appearing pyro wasn’t worth the effort because it didn’t fit at all to the performance. Sagh are ones to watch! This band could really make it! Nice thing! (sm)
1349 With 1349 a great pre-act for I was chosen. Lots of fire, less variety in their music instead a very crowd-interacting Ravn whetted the appetite and got the crowd in the right mood for the following I. There was no crowdsurfing because of the pyro but there was some proper headbanging at least in the front rows. There’s not much more that has to be said about the gig of 1349 because they offered their usual black metal – no more, no less.
Already last year Abbath was onstage at Hole In The Sky but with his Motörhead coverband Bömbers. A little bit of that was also incorporated into his new band, I. I already got an idea of I’s songs at the listening session which took place before the gig and their first live concert only confirmed my assumption. It sounded mainly like Immortal like we’ve known and loved them but it’s partly a bit more cheerful and more like a tribute to Lemmy. By the way, the guys aren’t painted!
Also Abbath’ band is worth to check out: Enslaved and Audrey Horne guitarist Ice Dale, Sahg and ex-Gorgoroth bassist King and his old Immortal drummer. All the lyrics were penned by Demonaz who, however, wasn’t onstage. The rare pleasure to see Abbath, Demonaz and Horgh once again together onstage is supposed to happen at next year’s Wacken Open Air.
Abbath, King and Ice Dale pulled off a great show and although all the songs were new there were at least two or three that had great potential.
My Dying Bride
The transition from I to My Dying Bride is quite hard, because whilst the acceptable moshpit was relaxing and only flared up in the first three rows, the rest of the crowded, sweaty hall was floating in sweet melancholy, fascinated by the partly deadly sad worlds Aaron Stainthorpe and his men created for their listeners. Sure Aaron is a poser beyond comparison with his white shirt, the very photographer friendly spotlight on him, the slow, suffering, theatric movements and the fake blood on his hands, but just this gives the special charm to the band. Here at Hole In The Sky this all seems even more intense, cause the concert hall of Kulturhuset USF has, compared to the festivals they played this year, a lot more club character. This happenstance also the My Dying Bride –fans appreciate, who visibly enjoyed the concert. Who thought doom is too slow and boring could hide in the bars and restaurant. In the crowd you could find fans in old My Dying Bride-shirts as well as – thanks to the various merchandise-stands – a lot of new ones. One fan I just saw in an I-shirt before now was wearing a My Dying Bride-shirt. Well, this is only for the hard ones, so you could see fans with My Dying Bride tattoos on their arms, legs and even one with the logo on his forehead. Crazy! The set didn`t differ, if I remember right, to the ones they played at Wacken Open Air and Summer Breeze, but here it seemed more real. Beautiful concert!
How long can you test and check your guitars? I did experience extra long sound checks in Finland, whilst most of the people already disappeared before the concert began, but what the Swiss were doing here was topping everything. As Celtic Frost were supposed to begin as the last band the hall was already filled with people and the photographers were already released into the media pit, it still lasted 20 minutes (infelt 40 minutes) until I happily recognized that there was only one guitar left (of seven) to check. Unfortunately the guitar-tech got confused and started over again … and after further 15 minutes the concert started with half an hour delay.
Due to the partly very annoyed audience it took two to three songs to make them forget the waiting anger and you could enjoy a very good Celtic Frost concert. They played one new song and a lot of old songs. A little bit disappointing was the missing interaction with the crowd and the too few action on stage – well, the guys don`t get younger…
Fazit: The Hole In The Sky has its own charm and that`s good. Sure you can`t compare indoor with open air, but who wants to? After monster events it is a perfect completion of the season with a line-up, that needs to search its own kind. Great!
Samira Alinto, Saskia Meerbaum; transl. Kathleen Gransalke, Katrin Dietl