Melechesh & Keep Of Kalessin w/ support – Porto, Portugal
Embryo, Tribulation, Keep Of Kalessin, Melechesh
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
16th May 2015
Promoted by SWR Inc.
Even if a co-headlining tour of Melechesh and Keep Of Kalessin sounded pretty good – and it was, oh how it was! – it’s probably a stretch to say the venue was half-full. It wasn’t lack of promotion or even lack of fans, as both bands have a somewhat solid fan-base around here. There’s just been a fair share of gigs, and Summer festivals are around the corner, and Portugal’s economic situation is far from great – people must make tough choices.
They brought along two support acts, the first on stage being Italian Embryo. They add some synths to their death metal, but I’m not sure if “melodic death metal” is the most accurate to describe their sound. Whatever the label, they did good – even if the aforementioned small crowd was even smaller at the early hour they played at. On the other hand, the few people there gave a great response to Embryo’s performance, making them feel welcome, which always help with a band’s confidence.
They have recently (February) released their third and self-titled album, five years after the previous “No God Slave”. Apart from the title-track of the latter, the setlist was, understandably, comprised of songs from “Embryo”. (4/5)
Now Tribulation, that was the undoubtful surprise of the night! I had heard of them recently – they’re featured in last month’s Sweden Rock Magazine – but it didn’t compel me to listen to their music; their image screamed black metal and I’m not exactly the biggest fan of the genre. Kids, never judge a book by its cover nor a band by its looks. Yes, their sound is rooted in black metal, but they add so many metal & rock elements to it, and play it live with such passion that they will enthrall even those who aren’t big on black metal (like me).
Like Embryo, Tribulation were promoting their latest third album, “The Children Of The Night”, which seems to be getting a quite good acclaim. I still didn’t listen to it, but I can totally vouch for the excellence of their shows. (5/5)
It had been a while since Keep Of Kalessin last visited our country (also with Melechesh, funny thing). In those four years, mastermind Obsidian Claw took the role of lead singer, and even though I liked Thebon, this 3-piece line-up suits the band. Plus, with Wizziac doing the many backing vocals that once were done by Obsidian, he’s forced to headbang less and you can finally get clean shots of the face behind that immensely long hair… Seriously, Obsidian has a great voice and having to play guitar at the same time didn’t jeopardize his wielding stage presence. In fact, it strengthen it – during the instrumental parts, he and Wizziac move around, trade places, occasionally play together, and then as if they’re battling each other… Yeah, this works better for Keep Of Kalessin.
And if there’s been mixed feelings among the fans regarding their latest “Epistemology” album, mainly complaining about how their “epic extreme metal” is not so extreme after all, the truth is that it’s a killer when played live.
I believe it was during “The Divine Land” that Obsidian’s guitar broke a string, leaving up to the other two members to finish the song on their own. As the problem wasn’t solved yet (Obsidian explained something about different tunes, which was kind of senseless to me and everyone else who doesn’t play guitar), Vyl got to entertain us with a drum solo. When the guitar was ready, Keep Of Kalessin finished their set with “Ascendant”. (5/5)
And then came Melechesh, living up to the “fire” part of their name. Ashmedi was happy to be back in Porto, and since they’d be heading to Lisbon only at 8 am the next day, he was planning on partying all night, inviting the fans to join him. One thing he wasn’t so happy about, in fact he stated several times how much he hated it, was having to tune his guitar all the time. Funny guy.
At that other gig I’ve already told you about, with Keep Of Kalessin, back in 2011, I remember guitarist Moloch getting on stage with a black kerchief around his head and keeping it for a handful of songs until the heat forced him to remove it. This time, both his “Nomadic Soul” replacement and bassist Scorpios got on stage with that desert garment, but didn’t keep it past the first song “The Pendulum Speaks”. Shame, but totally understandable.
Between the songs of the recent “Enki” and classics such as “Genies, Sorcerers and Mesopotamian Nights”, “Triangular Tattvic Fire” and “Ghouls of Nineveh” – a song to which Ashmedi referred with a bit of sadness, as Nineveh was an ancient Mesopotamian city destroyed in a civil war – it was clear that Melechesh was the most awaited band of the night. And that’s why we were sad ourselves when their gig was over, after just one hour. Apart from that, it was perfect. (5/5)
Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino