Author: Jan Vermund Jakobsen
Photo Credits: Freimen (Link to photographer’s page)
Festival: Karmøygeddon 2016
Karmøygeddon has become a staple in the Norwegian metal scene by now, arranged every year since 2004 with big bands such as Behemoth, Hammerfall, Helloween and Paradise Lost as previous headliners. Its as close to local as possible for me, with only a ten-minute drive from my hometown to the city of Kopervik in western Norway. I’ve been going since 2011, this means this year was my sixth year in a row attending. There were twenty-nine bands in total playing, some as far as possible away from my preference, so the review will only be of the bands I saw. Also, my memory of the last couple of bands on each day may be a bit hazy considering there was beer, and a lot of it, involved.
On the first day of the festival there was really only one band that I was interested in seeing, Rotting Christ but I made my way to the venue a couple of hours before they started. When I arrived the Norwegian prog-metal band Leprous was playing, but I preferred sitting outside of the venue at the bar chatting with my mates as I am not fan of that particular band.
(Rotting Christ; Freimen 2016)
Rotting Christ were tight as hell, playing mainly stuff from their newest offering, Ritual. They definitely managed to get the blood boil for many of the attendees and even though I was slightly disappointed by the lack of tracks from their first couple of albums I was still pleased with the overall performance. The next and final band of the night was Susperia, again, I’m not a fan so I decided to call it an early night and made my way home to get ready for the Friday. The Thursday started late for a festival with only a handful bands, so I knew I had to get some sleep because both Friday and Saturday was stacked with bands playing from noon to midnight.
I made my way to the venue after a couple of beers and a pizza at home and I arrived right before the Swedish hard-rockers Night started up. I heard from a couple of friends that arrived earlier that Parasite Inc. had apparently destroyed the stage before Night, so it was a slight bummer that I missed out on that.
(Swedish hard-rockers Night; Freimen 2016)
Night played a fantastic set. Some old-school hard-rock was exactly what I needed to get my day started and even thought it was still early there were still quite a bit of people in attendance already. After Night, the big stage opened and the Swedish band Engel got the honor of being the first one out at this years festival. I stayed mainly in the back and hung out with my mates and had a beer, but from what I could tell, most people were enjoying their show. After Engel I took the time to get myself some food, a delicious kebab. Next up in the tent for me was Circus Maximus, Norwegian prog-metallers. Their sound is akin to mid-90s American stuff like Dream Theater and Symphony X. While not a massive fan of that sound, I could still appreciate the performance, especially by the vocalist. He sounded absolutely massive on that stage. After Circus Maximus, my highlight of the day started. Snowy Shaw, former drummer for both King Diamond and Mercyful Fate. He played a bunch of old songs from his former bands and my word, it was fucking sick. His stage show, his stage antics and the general vibe of the entire thing was fantastic.
Katatonia did a decent gig afterwards, but they had the misfortune of playing after Snowy Shaw and I fear almost any band would look inferior after that. Fridays headliner was Kamelot and the experience was pretty much the same as I had with Circus Maxmus. Not a big fan of the band in the general, but I still enjoyed their set, mostly out of seeing all the happy faces around me. Finntroll was the final band of the night and oh my, did they manage to get the crowd pumped. There was a pit going for the entire show and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Final day of the festival and I could feel my body aching from the minute I woke up. I’m a real champ and dare I say, a veteran of festivals so I pulled through, had a beer or three and made my way to the venue for the final day. The first band of the day were a AC/DC cover band called Heatseekers and they set the mood early by playing all the classics. The vocalist doesn’t really have the voice to pull off a perfect AC/DC, but it is still a decent way to start the last day. Next up were one of my absolute favorites, Year of the Goat.
(Year of the Goat; Freimen 2016)
I saw them back at Hellfest 2014 before they had released their newest album, so I was hyped to see what new songs they were going to play. The track Black Sunlight in particular was fantastic, with its sing-along qualities. An old favorite of mine, Spirits of Fire was probably the highlight of the show for me. Like Friday, I decided for an early meal, meaning I skipped Backstreet Girls, Abyssic and Guardians of Time, luckily I was ready for the mighty Sodom and they were precisely as good as I expected. Blowing through all of their classic tunes and playing a kick-ass cover of Iron Fist together with Tore Bratseth of Motörhead tribute band Bömbers. The only track I missed was The Saw is the Law.
(Candlemass; Freimen 2016)
Doom legends Candlemass was the next band up, playing an ’80s only set-list meaning we got all of the classics. Bewitched was fantastic and Solitude is probably the heaviest thing I’ve ever heard on a Karmøygeddon stage. Samael was a band I didn’t really have high expectations for considering I haven’t really enjoyed anything they’ve done since the early ’90s, but it works a lot better in a live setting and the crowd was going nuts for most of the gig. Einherjer played last year as well, but seeing as they’re locals they returned once again. This year they had a special show ready for us, playing through the entirety of their 1996 album Dragons of the North. Killer gig all the way through even though I personally would’ve hoped they pulled out some of their hits from their newer releases. After Einherjer the clock showed 22:00 and I have to admit, after 10-12 beers my mind gets a bit hazy. Helloween had the honor of playing the headlining show on Saturday and from what I remember they played a fantastic set and the crowd was absolutely ecstatic. Ensiferum was the final band of the festival but me and my mind was already long gone by time they started.
Top 5 shows of the festival:
4.Year of the Goat
All photo credits go to Freimen. Check out his website here [e,bed]http://www.freimen.no/[/embed] for more fantastic photos.
Check out Karmøygeddon on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/2706985925/?fref=ts and on their website http://karmoygeddon.no/