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Vallenfyre w/ Foscor – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 9th February 2015 by Pieni

Foscor, Vallenfyre
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
7th February 2015
Promoter: Prime Artists

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Last autumn, Vallenfyre played a few shows across central Europe and England, in support of their second and most recent album “Splinters”. They left the Iberian Peninsula for the winter, in a total of eight shows in Spain and two in Portugal, under the suitable name “Splinters Over Iberia Tour”. The last one was in my hometown, Porto – courtesy of Prime Artists.

 photo foscor3_zpsrobyqpnh.jpgThey also decided to choose an Iberian band to support them and the lucky ones were Barcelona-based Foscor. Not that it was just luck – they actually deserve it. Formed in 1997 and having released four albums – the latest, “Those Horrors Wither”, last November, so it’s quite fresh – Foscor play a mix of black and death metal, with some melody in-between. Plus, singing in both growling and clean tones, in English and Catalan, the outcome is exquisitely good! And Foscor means “darkness” in Catalan, by the way.

They focused mostly on “Those Horrors Wither”, of course, but played a couple from the previous “Groans To The Guilty” and the title-track of their second album “The Smile Of The Sad Ones”. Singer/bass player Fiar addressed the audience often, in Spanish, which was totally fine since Spanish and Portuguese are very similar; but still he apologized for not being able to speak Portuguese. How nice of him! He did say “obrigado” (thank you), and then spoke in English when it was time to thank the crew and their Vallenfyre “brothers”.

Too bad there wasn’t that many people to welcome them, and the few who were present were a little cautious at first. Eventually the applauses became more vigorous and genuine, but still too far from what it should have been, given the quality of the show. (5/5)

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https://www.facebook.com/foscor.official

 photo _DSC0393_zps8sfgisr1.jpgI’ve seen Paradise Lost almost as many times as they’ve played in Portugal (having only missed the first one), so I knew how expressive Gregor Mackintosh could be. Or I thought I knew. As much as I’d imagined he would have more liberty to move around without the guitar in his hands, I confess I’ve never expected THAT! The man is restless! And funny too! Among the quotes that made me laugh the most, there’s the one where he claimed to love God with all his semen running down His back; that he believed we were all born equal – except for their bass player Scoot; Obrigado! See? I can speak Portuguese. Took me twenty years to learn how to say ‘thank you’. Give me another twenty and I’ll learn how to say ‘please’.”; how the following song (“Bereft”) was a calm one so “there’s the bar. Go have a drink and come back in eight minutes”; how he asked some (supposedly) upper middle-class guy in the crowd for some borrowed money, adding right away that he was joking, as he had more money than any of us could possibly imagine, “that’s why I’m wearing these pants”; or how another guy could buy him a pint at the end of the show for knowing the name of their first single (“Desecration”) – something Mackintosh was certain no one knew. Oh, and how they would play a song about beef (“Cattle”). Having such humorous moments mixed with the abrasiveness of Vallenfyre’s death metal and the heavy sorrow of their doom was just priceless. Amazing performance in all fronts!

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On a less-of-a-joke note, he said Porto was his favorite city in Europe; that he’d been here for gigs, on vacation… although he had a drinking problem (this because we have very good wine – not just our trademark Port – and beer). Now I don’t know if he really meant that – the favorite part – but it obviously put a smile on my face and brought out a roaring ovation from the crowd.

Despite promoting “Splinters”, as they only have one other full-length album (“A Fragile King”), the one-hour-and-a-half setlist was equally divided between the two, but starting and finishing with the opening and final tracks from “Splinters”“Scabs” and the title-track, respectively, the latter “a video you might have seen. It has demons.”

Everyone hoped for an encore, especially when the lights took so long to be turned on, but it didn’t happen – either because they hadn’t rehearsed any other song or because of the “Techno Lovers” night that was taking place at Hard Club afterwards. Anyway, no one can complain – the show was perfect as it was (except for the low number of people, that is, but at least we made it count). (5/5)

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https://www.facebook.com/Vallenfyre

Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

Letz Zep – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 7th February 2015 by Pieni

Letz Zep
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
6th February 2015
Promoter: Clap/-Box

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It’s not always bad to get “the second best”. In this case, it was amazing to get a tribute/cover band instead of the original. And don’t think that the fact that Led Zeppelin are retired, leaving you no other option than cover bands, takes away any credit from Letz Zep.
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When they started the show at 10 pm with “Rock And Roll”, the crowd wasn’t yet totally “at it” – such a classic as this, I would expect the whole room (which was full, by the way) to sing along at the top of their lungs. Maybe they were caught off guard, because when I looked up for information on Letz Zep, I saw that “Rock And Roll” is usually saved for the encore. Whatever the case, it served to warm people up, as from that song on, they quickly fell in pace with the band and that collective voices I was hoping for was a constant until the end.

I keep reading articles mentioning Billy Kulke’s physical resemblance to Robert Plant himself, but they fail to mention his mannerism on stage. The way he moves, the way he gestures his hands, including placing them in his hips. And he does it so naturally that you don’t feel like he’s mimicking Plant. Not to mention the voice, of course. Not just the pitch but the strength, the endurance. Especially when Kulke is not exactly a kid. It was a good ten minutes past midnight when they played the last song, meaning they’d been up there for more than two hours, and still the “aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh” of “Immigrant Sont” came out sharp and steady.

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Also drummer Peter Tulloch (Simon Jeffrey was unavailable for this tour) played such a solo that would turn many 20-year-olds green with envy. It was his first time in Portugal and apparently he was in love with my country. Kulke himself mentioned how good the food and wine were, how warm the people… and how pretty the girls. And how they could dance, added Tulloch. That was because of this girl, Catarina, who had been unstoppable since the beginning. During one song, that I can’t quite remember which, Kulke even held her hand. It was also her who asked for “Black Dog” at some point, to which Kulke asked “is that time already?”. No, it was way too soon, since they played that one together with “Whole Lotta Love” in the end, before the encore. They did play “Thank You” when she asked for it, with the singer saying he couldn’t say no to a pretty face, but I’m sure they would play it anyway – in that moment or later.

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Andy Gray’s guitar playing was flawless, his flashy jacket and pants completing the whole Jimmy-Page-aura. And Shaun Herd“as talented as he is handsome” – was just as perfect behind the bass, the keyboards and a couple more string-instruments (one that looked like an upright bass and another like a mandolin, but not quite, for the country-ish “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”).

There were a few technical problems that we didn’t notice – not just because it was regarding the equipment they use to hear themselves (Kulke couldn’t hear his own voice at some point, Gray had trouble listening to his guitar, the lower keys of Herd’s keyboard were inaudible to him) but because despite all that, they’ve never missed a note.

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I’m usually skeptic when I’m told something is the best. With Letz Zep, however, I have no problem believing that they are indeed the number one tribute band to Led Zeppelin. A big thank you to promoters Clap/-Box for bringing them here and providing such a magical night. (5/5)

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www.letzzep.com

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Shining – streaming of new song available

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 6th February 2015 by Pieni

“The time has come to share a little bit of the darkness that will infect the world’s population in a few months. The song chosen for this specific event is called ‘Vilja & Dröm’ (Will & Dream). The track reminds me of our earlier days, when I was still mostly focusing on metal. However, it also represents a great leap into the terrible shift-shaping darkness that is our ninth album!” – these are the words of Shining-frontman Niklas Kvarforth regarding the new song that will be streaming on several European webzines until Sunday, before being available on the band’s official SoundCloud account (http://soundcloud.com/shining-official). In the UK, the webzine is Terrorizer: http://www.terrorizer.com/news/streams/shining-premiere-brand-new-song-exclusively-terrorizer

“IX – Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends” will be released on the 20th of April via Season of Mist, with the following artwork and tracklist:

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1. Den Påtvingade Tvåsamheten
2. Vilja & Dröm
3. Framtidsutsikter
4. Människotankens Vägglösa Rum
5. Inga Broar Kvar Att Bränna
6. Besök Från I(ho)nom

It will be available in several versions:

– Regular Jewel Case with 12 page booklet
– Limited Edition Deluxe Digibox which includes 2 bonus tracks, 12 page booklet, a mirror in a blue velvet pouch and a goat leather patch, limited to 3,500 copies
– Double vinyl in deluxe gatefold
– Transparent red double vinyl in deluxe gatefold, limited to 620 copies
– Orange/Black marbled double vinyl in deluxe gatefold, limited to 250 copies
– Opaque white double vinyl in deluxe gatefold, limited to 100 copies (exclusive to Shining Legions)
– Red/Black marbled double vinyl in deluxe gatefold and collectors 7″ vinyl, with exclusive back patch with logo and title, limited to 100 copies

Pre-orders can be already made at http://www.shininglegions.com and http://www.season-of-mist.com/, along with T’s and exclusive bundles.

In promotion of “IX – Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends”, under the direction of Martin Strandberg, a video is currently on the making (check Shining’s Facebook page for photos) and a string of festival appearances is confirmed, on the following dates and locations:

02 April, Messe des Morts Festival, Montreal, Canada
30 April, SWR Barroselas Festival, Barroselas, Portugal
09 May, Incineration Festival, London, England
03 July, Hard Rock Laager, Vana-Vigala, Estonia
30 July, Wacken Open Air Festival, Wacken, Germany
25 Sept, Mörkaste Småland, Hultsfred, Sweden

www.shiningasylum.com
www.facebook.com/shiningofficial
www.shininglegions.com
soundcloud.com/shining-official
www.youtube.com/OfficialShining

Behemoth’s official biography to be released later this month

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 5th February 2015 by Pieni

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Lukasz Dunaj gathered in 490 pages what he considers to be “Poland’s response to Mötley Crüe‘s biography ‘The Dirt’. “Behemoth: Devil’s Consquistadors” tells the history of the (in)famous blackened death metal band, with quotes and anecdotes from current and former members, old photos, flyers, lyric sheets and even interviews with Tomas Krajewski, Rob Darken, Graal and Havok, to name a few. Here are a couple of glimpses at it:

From the foreword by Krzysztof Azarewicz:
“If, as a cultural anthropologist, I were to point to a single cosmic force which Behemoth‘s music expresses, I would name it not Satan but Dionysus. A deity that represents not only the intoxicating influence of cosmic energies and earthly benefits, but also their benevolent healing properties. A deity of strength and pride. A deity of creative might.”

Nergal discusses the acquisition of his first electric guitar:
“The first communion was a very important moment for me. I know this sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. Of course, not as a religion experience – I didn’t understand anything and couldn’t care less. Same as all the other kids. We all stood there with our votive candles and waited for one thing. Cash. The first communion must be one moment when you get the most money you’re ever going to get as a child. And for this money, I bought myself my first electric guitar. Not a bike, no Legos – a guitar.”

Metal Blade Records is proud to release this work of art on the 24th February, pre-orders already available at metalblade.com/behemoth

http://www.facebook.com/behemoth
http://twitter.com/BehemothBand
https://www.youtube.com/Behemothofficial

Soilwork to release first live DVD/BlueRay

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 5th February 2015 by Pieni

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After an almost-20-year career and 9 studio albums, Soilwork are about to release their first ever live DVD/BlueRay, with its corresponding audio CDs – “Live In The Heart Of Helsinki”.

23 songs were recorded at Circus Club, on the 21st March last year, two of them including guest appearances by Floor Jansen from Nightwish and Revamp and Nathan J. Biggs from Sonic Syndicate:

01. This Momentary Bliss
02. Like The Average Stalker
03. Overload
04. Weapon Of Vanity
05. Spectrum Of Eternity
06. Follow The Hollow
07. Parasite Blues
08. Distortion Sleep
09. Bastard Chain
10. Let This River Flow (feat. Floor Jansen)
11. Long Live The Misanthrope
12. Tongue
13. Nerve
14. The Chainheart Machine
15. The Living Infinite I
16. Rise Above The Sentiment
17. Late For The Kill, Early For The Slaughter
18. Rejection Role
19. Black Star Deceiver (feat. Nathan J. Biggs)
20. As The Sleeper Awakes
21. Sadistic Lullabye
22. As We Speak
23. Stabbing The Drama

The setlist will be divided in two CDs, while the DVD/BlueRay will also include two documentaries (“Spectrum Of Eternity: A Brief History Of Soilwork” and “Behind The Scenes Of The Living Infinite”) and drumcam videos filmed during the songs “Long Live The Misanthrope”, “Rise Above The Sentiment”, “Spectrum Of Eternity” and “Tongue”.

Frontman Björn ‘Speed’ Strid commented: “There could’ve not been a better time than now, with 10 albums out and a very varied back catalogue to choose from. Our line up now is 50 % original members and 50 % fresh blood, which makes it all more interesting. Especially since the newest members have brought so much to our sound and have continued to inspire us to write new and exciting music and also brought a new found energy on stage. Now is definitely the time to see us. Trust me.”

Set for release on 16th March, via Nuclear Blast, a trailer for the DVD has been pumping on YouTube for a few days now:

Pre-order your copy:
DVD + 2 CD –  http://bit.ly/LITHOHbase
BlurRay + 2 CD –  http://bit.ly/LITHOHblubase

www.soilwork.org

www.facebook.com/soilwork

Terror Empire’s debut album streaming in full

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 4th February 2015 by Pieni

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Formed in 2009, Portuguese thrashers Terror Empire would release their first EP 4 years later, named “Face The Terror”. By then they had already gained a solid fan base with their live shows, a base that grew bigger and stronger with the EP release. This is bound to happen again when their debut full-legth hits the stores, later this month (23rd February via Nordavind Records). But until then, you can enjoy it in full at Pure Grain Audio, where “The Empire Strikes Back” is available for free streaming: http://puregrainaudio.com/audio/terror-empire-the-empire-strikes-black-exclusive-premiere-album-stream.

Cover art and track listing are as follows:

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1. The Empire Strikes…
2. …Black
3. The Servant
4. Skinned Alive
5. Revolution Now
6. The Route of the Damned
7. Man Made of Sand
8. Reality Check
9. Protective Wolves
10. Strings of Rebellion
11. Good Friends Make the Best Enemies
12. Break the Cycle

www.facebook.com/terrorempire

Through The Cracks announce new singer

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 3rd February 2015 by Pieni

Last Christmas, soulful-rock act Through The Cracks announced that singer Tillie Grundel and keyboard player Emmy Åsblom had parted ways with the band as their personal life and other projects they both had were taking too much of their time, leaving none left for TTC. So until they found at least a new singer, the recordings for their debut EP had to be put on hold. Well the waiting is over! Today, Through The Cracks are proud to introduce you to Sara Lindberg and that the recordings have resumed.

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https://www.facebook.com/ThroughTheCracksBand

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