Inferno 2024 Festival and Conference Wrap

Inferno 2024 Festival and Conference Wrap

Yet again, it is time for what has become somewhat of an annual pilgrimage for Slow Dragon Music; Norway’s Inferno Metal Festival and Conference.

The Oslo based event has grabbed it’s place on our calendar every single year since the global pandemic, and with good reason. There is no messing when it comes to putting it together. A superb array of extreme metal (and some other offerings) is arranged each time, based wholeheartedly on the artistic contribution they bring to the table. Is it the biggest? No. Is it the best? It’s certainly a contender… Below is part one of our experiential review, which aims to capture some of the vibe of the event, or at least our time there. 


“What I like about Inferno is its honesty. To me, the main differences in heavy music festivals, the world over, are the venues themselves and the people. Inferno, for the size of bands it hosts, has a modest 1500 attendees. The venue doesn’t feel cramped, even when clocking in one-in-one-out at the John Dee stage – which happened a couple of times this year, or on the night of Dimmu Borgir – the busiest I have ever seen Rockerfellar.

Yes, it can be a little snug but who doesn’t want to cosy up to some 7ft Viking black metaller, ripened by the pit and swishing their ale about? Inferno, and Oslo itself, extends their hosting by having smaller venues throughout the centre, offering sightseeing, drag bingo, memorabilia auctions, food and shopping deals… even hiking. It makes the festival feel expansive and welcoming, without dilution of the main reason we queue up each day along Torgata.

This is where the people element comes into play for me, where Inferno and its audience are honest and humble. Everyone that comes to Inferno comes for the music, they come for the conference, they come to the family reunion. From what I’ve seen in recent years, there’s a new trend in the UK, (and a little creeping into mid-mainland Europe), to turn up to multi-day festivals and spend all day getting dressed up, pissed up and ready to prowl in the early hours after the bands have all hit their pillows.

Yes, each to their own.

I might sound like a mardy old fart who wants to listen to the bands, hang out with mates who equally want to play or listen to metal, and then catch ZZs before the first bands of the next day, true. Y’know, to see the new blood and get value from my three-figure ticket price. To go to a music festival and what, wait for it, actually watch some performances. Well, y’know what, our Nordic and Scandi friends do it all the time, and I think that in part, that’s to do with metal being a part of everyday life, a common ice breaker rather than a status.

It’s so refreshing to talk about a band’s back catalogue between sets than loudly overhear the catalogue of “who-they-are-wearing” whilst you’re trying to listen to Watain’s set, (actually happened). Or sharing a pint with the members who were just up on stage, now in the crowd alongside to see the next band, rather than enjoying said pint, but rudely interrupted with happy-snappers eager to fill up their socials with pics of all the bands they “saw”. Yawn. Inferno is not a festival for those that just like black metal. It is a festival for those that love to listen to black metal. That’s it, and that’s why I love the experience each year. So, let’s get started.”


Inferno 2024 Festival and Conference Wrap

Arriving early in Oslo for Inferno is always a buzz. You can see and feel the whole city preparing to welcome what is to come. After the yearly visit to the iconic Neseblod* record shop – portender of bankruptcy as always – concluded far too quickly, we headed over to Salt for the delegate mixer and Indie Recordings Showcase. The harbour-side jumble of permanent stalls, benched fire-pits, sauna, and the tented bar area already bring back memories of previous years. We arrive sharply and the venue is already a buzz with family old, new, and to be acquired, greeted by a hue of cold fjord air, log fires and the sweetness of what will be many pear ciders throughout the night.

After what feels like the shortest two hours known to man, we enter the larger of the high, wooden raftered stages, (not initially realising there would be two this year) and we are home. This warm-up session is all about acts presented by Indie Recordings. The audience is treated to sets by Fight The Fight, Halcyon Days, Oberst, Mørket, and, finally, the pick of the evening, Jordsjuk. While not every band hits the spot in the SDM camp, it is a great mix, and very well received by the substantial crowd. On all accounts, the best was certainly saved for the last, though. This event is a fantastic way to catch up and get back into the character of the overall festival, before the true madness begins.


Inferno 2024 Festival and Conference Wrap

Back at the hotel (Clarion The Hub – if you’re going, this is a brilliant option, and very central) we get our heads down for a few hours before the impending Inferno Music Conference kicks off. Thankfully, it’s starting a little later this time around, and, of course, takes place in the hotel building. The first day of industry panels involves a career talk with Jessica Pimentel (from Brujeria, Alekhine’s Gun, and Orange Is The New Black), a collection of truly interesting podcasters (including A&P Reacts and Shayan from Trivax) introductions to some rather tempting looking festivals, and one impassioned debate on censorship and explicit lyrics. If you, like us, are more than just a fan of extreme metal, and like to see behind the curtain, we cannot recommend the IMC enough. Check out our article on the conference from last year:

So, after cramming our collective skulls with juicy insider knowledge (and free coffee), it’s just about time for the drum roll heralding the Inferno proper…


*Not long after the festival, we received the news of a fire in the Neseblod basement. Thoughts are with all the kind, helpful and amazing staff that we annoy each visit with our broken Norwegian and enthusiastic smiles – we hope all are well and safe. It was really awful to hear of such devastation occurring at what is more like a museum than a store to many people. Keep up to date with their recovery here:

Inferno 2024 Festival and Conference Wrap




Inferno 2024 Festival and Conference Wrap