Norwegian Oldies and Norwegian Oldschool
Mayhem, Carpathian Forest and Minas Tirith
at Rockefeller Music Hall, Oslo, March 10th 2001

by: Chris Flaaten
Minas Tirith were first up. I had already seen them live once before, but then they had a rotten sound. This time everything was -much- better; in fact, close to perfect. They opened with some new material which turned out to be an intro to "Hellfaith", the opening track from _Demons Are Forever_ [reviewed in this issue]. They played a great set, including some old favorites and a new song. They sounded tight as glue; these guys know each other's musical abilities and the songs intimately. The only drawback is that they do not present a very entertaining visual performance. Both vocalist/bassist Frode Forsmo and guitarist Stian Krobol stood with their feet planted on the ground, never interacting much with the audience. This and the fact that their music is far from black metal are probably the two reasons why most of the audience never got into their performance. The ones who knew them beforehand did, though, as they played marvelously.

Carpathian Forest were next. The first thing I noticed was that they seemed to have kept the bass settings from Minas Tirith: you could hardly hear the guitars because it was so high in the mix. Carpathian Forest do not have any interesting bass lines, though, so they sounded dreadfully uninteresting. The second thing that struck me was the guy behind the synth. Big, strapping fellow wearing a ton of spikes, etc.. He touched the synth only during one song, though; the rest of the time he basically stood there looking mean. He did some vocals on a couple of tracks too, but did a poorer job at it than their original vocalist. Near the end of their set the sound got somewhat better and I could hear some riffs. Still wasn't impressed, though. I was not a big fan of their music before the concert and am possibly even less enthusiastic about it now. They had a good vocalist, though.

Mayhem opened in a fury of pyrotechnics with "In the Lies Where Upon You Lay". Apart from a slightly messy sound from Hellhammer's V-drums, they had a great sound. Driven by Blasphemer's precision riffing and Hellhammer's drumming-inferno, Mayhem were very convincing musically, and also visually thanks to madman Maniac. Maniac is probably one of my least favourite vocalists, but he does well in the concert setting. Mayhem played a well rounded set including greats such as "Deathcrush" and "Freezing Moon", old obscurities like "Carnage" and four or five songs from their latest album. There was a decent response from the audience, which is rare in Oslo, and Maniac of course responded by cutting himself. All in all it was a good concert, with Mayhem being Mayhem, Minas Tirith ruling musically and Carpathian Forest being somewhat of a disappointment.

(article submitted 13/5/2001)

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