The yearly metal event of Kristiansand since 2003, namely
Southern Discomfort Metal Festival,
has granted Southern Norway with their place on the metal map of the country,
well aided by active and engaged organisers, from the
one team to the other.
Many will agree that SD
this year has been one of the best we've attended.
They've been many, too, since back in the days of 2004 precisely for my part,
where my fondness for live performances was more pronounced than
it is nowadays, so when the shows during my last stay
in Kristiansand manage to find their place on this imaginary podium of mine, the
SD crew 2014 edition must have done
a bunch of things right.
Commencing with the programmation: as usual at Southern Discomfort, local bands are represented
(Opus Forgotten, Mental Despair, Timewaves), and the festival holds a smaller
profile, setting quality over quantity. Each night, only five bands play, the
first three with the main headliner on a bigger stage, the two (or three, depending
on the year) last ones on a smaller, more intimate stage.
Another thing SD did right this year was, according to me, the stage
time for each band: early start,
not a lot of wait in between bands (just enough time to taste one glass of the
many brews available at the beer pub attaining the main venue, Kick Malt &
Mat), and a relatively early end, keeping the audience's interested up and
going, instead of many leaving and getting lost somewhere in town at some other
pub, or some others falling into lethargy during late shows,
as has been observed in the past.
One more thing that worked particularly well was the order of the bands:
as local Opus Forgotten opening, many fans of old had
to come early, solving the well known problematic of empty venues due to
vorspiel (warming up at home) in Norway, and particularly in smaller towns.
next day, both international guests were on the programme. The one, Dordeduh,
did such an effort that they manage to capture the
interest of the audience for
the whole evening, well kept up by following
band Kampfar, to culminate in the last, bigger act from overseas, Septicflesh,
which again was a smart choice given the enthusiasm
for them in Kristiansand. Ending the festival by Norwegian stage masters Vulture
Industries was just one more well-calculated move from the festival's organising
Friday, September 12th
A discovery for some, a vision from the past for others, as Opus
Forgotten 's presence tonight isn't exactly
due to the promoting any new or bigger release.
Indeed, most of their discography dates back from the end of last century, with
a last scream in 2004. The cult band, active 1994-2004 has never released any LP
either. Obviously not forgotten for everyone, Opus Forgotten is
responsible for a thicker early attendance than is often the case at the
festival's first show. The bloody gang, although they haven't played together
for a while, are clearly no strangers to playing live. The stage is Opus
Forgotten's for 45 minutes of raging old school black metal, riffing
away all souls in a headbanging reaching the one after the other in a contagion,
at least on the front row. The band count active members in Carpathian Forest,
Communic, and earlier Scariot, Trail Of Tears (live) and Green Carnation (live).
Opus Forgotten live at Southern Discomfort 2014:
Filmed by ArtistFoto
Opus Forgotten discography:
For those who buy it, Sahg do a certain effort to engage the
audience. Their 70's inspired groovy metal dwells in-between heavy and doomy,
but then isn't purely either of the kind, and something is missing. Or the
message doesn't come through enough for me, or judging by the overall activity
in the pit. Only by the end of the set, the musicians and the audience connect.
The show definitely livens up when guitarist Thomas flys on a whining solo trip,
showing the passion for music behind the name Sahg. Maybe a
string to pull earlier next time?
Sahg live in Germany (2014):
Last album: Sahg III (2010)
Taake's awaited performance passes
fast, although variation is missing in the sound landscape, as a thick fog that
just won't dissipate. I've attended more exciting Taake shows
with a more active band, yet they'd only released a couple of albums.
Taake's characteristic melodies drown completely most of the time. The
live recording of simple but epic "Nordbundet",
performed by Krakow's vocalist (and also member of Aeternus), however,
gives a completely different picture of the show, so
I can just have been standing at the wrong place in the room soundwise. Most
eye-catching tonight: vocalist Høst's prolonged statue poses, soaring through
Taake live at Southern Discomfort 2014:
Filmed by ArtistFoto
Last album: Noregs Vaapen (2011)
After three shows and a couple of visits at Kick Malt & Mat, time to
head for Benny's (Rockhouse) for the two last bands.
Mental Despair hits the stage. The
young combo shows that good music survives time. Their melodic metal bears
influences of thrash and death in a modernised, slightly core, way. The set
functions well for the audience, probably because the band believe in their
music and don't wave and shout unnecessarily in order to attract attention. Five
good musicians doing their job, that's enough.
Mental Despair have among others
warmed up locally for Communic and are now working on expanding their repertoire
and live territory.
Mental Despair live at Southern Discomfort 2014:
Filmed by ArtistFoto
Mental Despair website:
Last album: Another World
Alien Ken's performance that I didn't get to see can have been
a shame to miss, given the band's previous appearance at Benny's Rockhouse
and the live clip underneath.
Alien Ken live at Southern Discomfort 2014:
Alien Ken live at Benny's Rockhouse (2013):
Alien Ken website:
Last album: Contact (2014)
Saturday, September 13th
Quite content with the previous day's show, there was no less to expect from the
The trip to town and Southern Discomfort started early, in order to get a chance
to pop up at the Stribefeber!, Kristiansand two-day
comic strip festival, comprising an exhbition of local comic strip makers and
also, more enriching, a cycle of conferences held by national and international
professionals the whole day. Unfortunately, we were in town a bit too late in
order to reach any of them, and the evening was to be spent on music, of course.
Anyway, for you who are interested in comics, the timing this year was pretty
good, and I'd recommend you to enroll the conferences by the next occasion,
under Southern Discomfort 2015, perhaps?
Stribefeber! Comic strip festival:
Who will not have been mesmerized by the performance of tonight's opening act?
Dordeduh's music is one of a kind, and when it was living its
own life, the band playing in a bubble, my impression of tonight's show is
completely turned upside down. The whole band has a strong presence, the
technical drummer redefines the rules for metal drumming, the vocalist
charismatically translated the band's Romanian message for the Norwegian
audience. Moreover, the lightning illustrates the evolution in the music
perfectly, creating a warm and intense atmosphere, and adding a dimension to the
already epic soundscape.
Last album: Dar De Duh (2012)
Nine years have passed since Kampfar's last show at Kick.
Not many will remember, but I'm sure the band does, and Kampfar
themselves were not the ones to blame, working
their ass off on stage, as they always do. Tonight proves to be a new and better
chance for the band who's been touring several times for bigger audiences these
last years and has gotten use to warm welcomes abroad. The Kick venue
at this hour counts enough guests to fill Kampfar's pit at
least. Dolk is out of control, takes the whole stage and seems to be having a
blast. His introducing shrieking «Helvete» grants him the horns from the whole
pit, and the boat can roll from there. The show is appreciated for my part,
though the set is mostly from newer releases.
Last album: Djevelmakt (2014)
Inviting Septicflesh was a smart
move from the festival side, as the band has lots of fans in Kristiansand. Many
have probably seen them live at Hellfest or Wacken already, so it is an honor to
get their visit locally. Though not my cup of tea musically, the band is tight,
experienced, but monotonous, partly because I don't follow them, but also
because the compositions all sound alike, that is the dynamics don't vary enough
to catch my interest.
Last album: Titan (2014)
Quick version of the evening at Kick: Three strong
live bands, three different styles, same dedication.
Winners of this year's Wacken Battle get
praise from some, while others don't buy
their stuff. One thing I can say is that many have
come to see them, so they're obviously doing something right
At some point I have to catch up with friends that have travelled south for the
festival, so (maybe) get the chills watching the link below.
Timewaves live at Wacken Open Air 2014:
Last album: Recreation (EP,
I 'd known the name for a while but hadn't had the
chance to see the band live. Now it is thing done. All who haven't seen
Vulture Industries in the act cannot call their life complete. The
music isn't necessarily what I find the most exciting on record, and I believe
it to be linked to mixing details, so it might be different from record to
record also. The live sound anyway, when the show's been going on for a couple
of songs, and not less the live performance of these barefeet madmen transforms
all you can have heard from them at home. It seems that Vulture
Industries' interest lies more on touring than building up an extensive
discography. Their performance skills are high. This is organic, creative,
visceral madness coming out of these guys, and literally popping out of the
vocalist's crazy wide-opened eyes. One after the
other, the numbers performed confer this band as the discovery
of the year for several persons I come to speak with, as
well as for myself.
Vulture industries live at Kilkim Zaibu, Lithuania (2014):
Vulture Industries website:
Last album: The Malefactor's Bloody Register (2010)
After a week-end of great musical experiences with some surprises, it is time to
thank the Southern Discomfort Metal Festival crew for their
tremendous work this year. They
have clearly found many keys to building up the
event. I still miss the Serious Discomfort concept from some years back
(conferences with metal professionals), but there are many other possibilities,
counting other collaborations, but that would not be of our present concern.
For those who missed Southern Discomfort Metal Festival this
year, you still have a chance to see some bands of the line-up at Minor
Discomfort (no age limit).
One day: October 11th
5 bands, counting: Timewaves, Mental Despair, Harm
Minor Discomfort Website:
See you next year!
Information about Southern Discomfort Metal Festival
ArtistFoto - Professional concert
pictures and reviews:
Direct link to SD 2014 pictures
Review of SD 2014 in Eternal Terror, webzine