Guitar World Invades Norway's 2010 Hole in the Sky Festival
It was interesting to watch the international heavy metal media sit in the same room and listen to Enslaved’s latest full-length. I was expecting some intense headbanging and all-around craziness, especially during the awesome album opener “Ethica Odini,” but everyone was pretty subdued. While there were some heads bobbing, everyone around me kept their composure and listened to the album with attention. But, despite the chilled vibe, everyone pretty much agreed this new album ruled.
After the listening session, we all went our separate ways before meeting later that night at USF Verftet. Meanwhile, I had my own little tour of Bergen.
A view from the hill
Unexpectedly, the biggest challenge for me were the amount of hills and brick roads. They get so slippery due to the rain and I was constantly anticipating rolling down a steep and rough hill. It was also tricky to navigate within the more residential areas as the streets aren’t as straightforward and grided as they are in New York. With that said, it wasn’t that hard to accidentally stumble back onto the main roads to head back downtown.
Bergen as the clouds roll in...
After a quick meal at 7-11—which was turning out to be my default restaurant of choice—I decided to head to the new venue location. I had no idea how to get there, but I remembered seeing the top of it on a hill when I was walking back from the Akvariet. Using that as my reference, it was actually quite easy to get to.
A view USF Verftet from a road above
I missed the first two bands—Secrets of the Moon and Solstafir—due to an interview with former Guitar World columnist and black metal expert Ihsahn. I did get to make it in time for one of my favorite new bands: Holland’s occult rockers The Devil’s Blood.
After a slew of technical/sound problems in the beginning, the Dutch six-piece unleashed their ghoulish brand of Seventies-hard rock with cuts from their incredible EP Come Reap and last year’s stunning full-length debut The Time of No Time Evermore. With three guitarists delivering psyched-out-to-the-max riffs and sporting enough blood on their faces to drown a small animal, The Devil’s Blood put on a show that I will never forget.
The Devil's Blood
Next up was Ihsahn and the crowd was more than pumped to see this Norwegian legend churn out his solo material. The former Emperor frontman rarely performs live, so this was a special treat for those in attendance. Though he wouldn’t be joined by some of the guests from his three solo albums—like Shining’s saxophonist Jørgen Munkeby, who has some stunning playing on Ihsahn’s latest album After—the musicianship of his backing band [prog-metal band Leprous] was stellar and Ihsahn’s progressive metal madness was the perfect complement to the night’s other “progressive” band: Cathedral.
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