Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Ex Helvete/An elephant in the porcelain store/Return trip

I've been to Oslo, Norway countless times - actually even more than I would like to. To say that I feel like at home here would be an exaggeration, but it definitely feels like at my best friend's house. This time was a bit different as I wanted to buy a souvenir/present for a person that I hold very dear to me, and let's be honest, noone gives a flying fuck about souvenirs you get from simple souvenir shops. Since this person was influenced by black metal quite a bit, I've decided to buy something small yet cool and related to the particular genre of music. So I did, what anyone would do in my place - I googled "black metal museum in Oslo". 

It turned out that the old record store "Helvete" which was found and owned by Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth is still open for business, but it had been renamed to "Neseblod Records". On their facebook page they had a picture of candles shaped in the form of the arsoned Fantoft stave church. I knew immediately that is the thing I'm looking for.

Long story short I headed to Schweigaards gate 56 where "Hell" is located and which turned out to be a few (...more like six or seven) blocks away from the hotel I'm usually staying in. As I was getting closer the "nicer" western part of the city started to slowly fade into the "not so nice" eastern part and I started to feel more at home because it reminded me of Riga's centre - the houses were much older, spraypainted, a bit dirty and the roads here are much narrower than in the other parts of the city.

Approaching the designated address I saw a wooden glass door that was covered in stickers. I mean so much, that I wasn't able to see pass the glass. Once I opened the door the Electric Wizard's song "Incense of the Damned" from their latest record "Time to Die" was blasting through the felt gooood. The place itself was so minuscule yet it was packed with music related goods beyond what I've seen so far. Cd's, vinyls, casettes, t-shirts, merch, you name it. I mean it is so packed that you have to leave your bag at the counter, not to mention that two people meeting in a doorway packed with cd's is a recipe for a disaster.
The walls here are decorated with relics from the early 90's including band member worn t-shirts, jackets, guitar pedals, rare demo tapes etc. I was already impressed by how atmospheric this seemingly little place was. But the best thing was to follow. The shop attendant let us - me and two other guys that have traveled all the way from Vienna, Austria, into the the basement of "Helvete". It had an interesting vibe to it, but to be honest I've expected something a bit more from the place, although it was an amazing experience altogether. It is definitely recommended if you are ever to be in Oslo and if you are into metal not regarding the sub-genre. 

Soon after my little tour, I had acquired  the "Kirkebrann" candle and thus had completed my quest of finding a fitting present. 

Also I had been presented with an opportunity of buying one of my all time favorite albums by the mighty band "Electric Wizard" - a double vinyl of 1997 "Come my fanatics" (released in 2006 by "Rise Above Records"). I could care less, what other people have to say about this not being the best album Wizard has put out. I find this record to be the gold standard of what "Electric Wizard" stands for.

Judge it for yourself.

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