Author Archive

American Jetset – Saloon Rock Whiskey Pop

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 15th June 2020 by Pieni

American Jetset
“Saloon Rock Whiskey Pop”
Rock
Self-released on 8th April 2020

saloon

“Saloon Rock Whiskey Pop” is said to be American Jetset’s first full length album, but as it features only six songs, I’d call it an EP instead… Whatever the term, its contents live up pretty much to its title, delivering that kind of rock which isn’t exactly hard but it’s harder than pop and that you expect to hear in a bar, while having a few drinks with a bunch of friends.
Personally, I’d like the voice to sound a bit more… passionate, but then it would probably make it feistier and closer to hard rock, and that’s probably not American Jetset’s goal. They play rock – period. And the whole guitar work – meaning solos, riffs, licks… – it’s already spicy enough to ignite a sparkle in your ear and then the rest just follows naturally. I must highlight the bass line in “Walking Contradiction”, as it’s very bold, but sadly it stays in the background in the other songs. Still plays an important role in the whole outcome, but it doesn’t stand out as in that first song. “1000 Ghosts” shows a more upbeat side of the band and “Never Be Goodbye” is the mandatory ballad, all acoustic, clapping hands on the chorus – which features the album title – and on the non-clapping parts you easily imagine the hands of the crowd holding a lighter (yeah, a lit cellphone will probably be more accurate, but a lighter gives out a more traditional vibe, fitting better in the mood). Meaning they cover all key bases of rock in about half an hour of juicy music.

7/10

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Paradise Lost – Obsidian

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 10th May 2020 by Pieni

Paradise Lost
“Obsidian”
Gothic metal
Released: 15th May 2020
Via Nuclear Blast 

obsidian

I believe that in all 17 studio albums Paradise Lost have released so far, this is the one with the most accurate title – its songs are deep dark and their refinement pretty clear-cut, just like an obsidian rock. And since we use the word “rock” in a metaphorical sense to describe something strong we can rely on, and “Obsidian” is, in my humble opinion, the strongest record these guys have done in years…

Paradise Lost have always managed to write sorrowful songs that will otherwise bring you elation rather than depression, and just a few seconds into that acoustic intro of “Darker Thoughts” will prove this statement right. Nick Holmes sings in a heartfelt clean pitch here, and as the electric, heavy part kicks in, so does his harsh growl. There are orchestral arrangements in the background throughout the whole song – violins, if my ears got it right – which a sucker for details such as me must point out. And as the two following songs are the ones I already knew from YouTube – the stricken “Fall From Grace” and the homage to The Sisters Of Mercy “Ghosts – it was already clear I was facing a masterpiece. A lot of “old school PL vibe” revamped, which I admit probably helped with the impact it caused on me – but I still think “masterpiece” is the right word.

The keyboard line and guitar work of “The Devil Embraced” are particularly riveting, while “Serenity” bears a more straight-forward and rawer heaviness that turns out quite catchy. And while the melody of “Ending Days” bears the beautiful sadness that I’ve implied before, “Ravenghast”’s nature is gloomier, almost ominous.

Saying “all gothic metal fans” may sound presumptuous, so I’ll stick to “the majority of gothic metal fans” will fall in love with this record; but for those whose lives were touched by “Icon” and/or “Draconian Times”, “Obsidian” will also be a blissful revival of the past.

9/10

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Testament – Titans Of Creation

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 1st April 2020 by Pieni

Testament
“Titans Of Creation”
Thrash metal
Released: 3rd April 2020
Via Nuclear Blast

Testament - Titans Of Creation - Artwork copy

“Titans Of Creation” isn’t just a powerful title; it’s also the definition of its songwriters. Not that it took 13 albums to recognize their grandeur – in all honesty, none of Testament’s members has had anything else to prove to anyone for a long time – but the fact they could push the envelope just a bit further this time is impressive. From what I gathered reading the press release, it seems the writing process was more dynamic, hence the little tweaks that are making all the difference.

I’ve always admired Peterson’s and Skolnick’s classy guitar work, but now it sounds even more elaborate – check out the solos and general riffing in songs such as “Children Of The Next Level”, “WW III” or “Symptoms”… hell, check out those in ALL tracks and you’ll see what I mean. It’s more diverse, so you get a better sense of what they’re capable of doing with those strings.

Peterson shows another side of him as he voices some parts of “Night Of The Witch” and “Curse Of Osiris”, in a demon-like pitch. The contrast between his and Billy’s tone is just perfect for the songs in question.

You’ll recognize the catchy chorus of “Dream Deceiver” as pure Testament, but the ominous vibe of “City Of Angels”, enhanced by its slower tempo and somber bass line, that will be new. But then again, as the lyrics refer to serial killer Richard Ramirez, it had to be something dark…

“The Healers” also sound somewhat different, with a more intense approach rather than a feisty one, its beat prone to become an earworm as well. It talks about Billy’s personal experience with his past cancer, but given the Corona pandemic situation the world is going through at the moment, it will probably become a hymn of hope to many metalheads.

8/10

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Hollywood Undead – New Empire, Vol. 1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 12th February 2020 by Pieni

Hollywood Undead
“New Empire, Vol. 1”
Rap Rock
Released: 14th February 2020
Via BMG / Dove & Grenade Media

HUNewEmpireVol1cover

Whether one likes Hollywood Undead or not, their ability to combine all kinds of musical traits can’t be ignored. So when many people said – Johnny 3 Tears himself included – that “New Empire, Vol. 1” would be heavier than ever, and then “Already Dead” was out, with all such Linkin Park-vibe, I was momentarily afraid they’d changed their focus to an “alternative metal” direction and forgot everything else that’s always made them somewhat unique. Well, they didn’t.

“Time Bomb” was the second single and proof of this heightened nature, laced with a fiery party-mood. Also “Empire” was released beforehand, built on enthralling drums and strong bass lines, revealing how intact is the band’s diversity.

“Heart Of A Champion” falls more or less in the same description as “Empire”, but is a tad more intense, more seductive – a mandatory sing-along chorus if played live. “Killin It” is way too hip hop for my personal taste, but while the metalhead in me will skip this track, the music writer must acknowledge its edgy composition, as well as the aforementioned mix of traits I’ve always admired in this band. The final track “Nightmare” is also a hip hop tune, but the soft piano keys and bitter chorus make it more alluring to my ears – and surely a grand finale for most fans.

And while “Enemy” goes blasting pretty much through and through, “Upside Down” gets the prize for the catchiest melody in this record. It features Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens, even though I believe Danny would’ve covered that perfectly (sorry Quinn!). And “Second Chances” is the most beautiful – in that somber kind of way – piece. At some point, a sharp breakdown highlights such somberness.

Yes, “New Empire, Vol. 1” is heavier, but it’s unmistakably Hollywood Undead. I don’t like labels, but the rap-rock one they go by still fits – it’s just that the rap got darker and the rock got thicker.

8/10

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Pieni’s highlights of 2019

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2019 by Pieni

2019 was a bumpy ride and despite attending fewer shows and writing less for Valkyrian Music, this past year still had plenty of memorable moments. Here’s my favorite live ones:

samaellnmf19

  1. Samael at Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão (Louro)
  2. Infraktor at Vagos Metal Fest (Vagos)
  3. Equaleft at Hard Club (Porto)
  4. D.A.D. at Hard Club (Porto)
  5. Overkill at Hard Club (Porto)

Records:

Rust

  1. “Rust” by CrashDïet
  2. “We Defy” by Equaleft
  3. “Verkligheten” by Soilwork
  4. “West End” by The 69 Eyes
  5. “I, The Mask” by In Flames

Thank you Ozzy for filming the kind of music video I like the most – with an actual story to it. In the absence of that, something amusing and/or featuring visual impact will do:

  1. “Under The Graveyard” by Ozzy Osbourne
  2. “Idiots” by CrashDïet
  3. “Deutschland” by Rammstein
  4. “Trve As Fvck” by Hills Have Eyes
  5. “Already Dead” by Hollywood Undead

I have a handful of expectations for 2020 but, at the moment, I believe these are the ones I’m most eager about:

HHE2019

  1. The Hills Have Eyes new album and its release show (no date announced yet but hopefully it won’t be postponed much longer).
  2. The Hollywood Undead new album, “New Empire, Vol. 1”, and their gig in Madrid which I’ll be attending in a couple of months.
  3. W.A.S.P. will embark on a tour where they’ll only play songs out of their first four albums. Already got my ticket for the Barcelona show.
  4. Sister posted something on their Facebook page which included a #newalbum, so I’m looking forward to that as well.
  5. Seems like Kiss are saying goodbye to the stages. Whether this is indeed their last tour or not, I won’t miss it.

Happy New Year!

Renata “Pieni” Lino

CrashDïet – Rust

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 22nd September 2019 by Pieni

CrashDïet
“Rust”
Sleaze/glam rock
Released: 13th September 2019
Via Frontiers Music

Rust

It’s been over a week since “Rust” was released but only now I’ve managed to write about it. Why? Because every time I’ve started doing so, the songs popped up in my head and I just couldn’t stop singing along and moving my whole body to their rhythm. When the single “We Are The Legion” was released on New Year’s Eve 2017, I felt that old school sleaze vibe which CrashDïet have always offered us and knew that whatever came next would be worth the waiting; still I was amazed at such worthiness.

Don’t expect me to compare singers, as that wouldn’t be fair to any of them. I’ll just say that Gabriel Keys has a powerful voice which fits the band like a glove, and even though I’ve only listened to him in the new tracks, I can imagine him singing the old ones as if it had been him who’s originally recorded them. Yeah, that kind of voice.

They’ve recently asked on their Facebook page which was our favorite song off the new album and to me that’s an honest trick question. How can I choose between the enticing riffs and catchy chorus of the title-track and the seductive melody of “In The Maze”? How can I choose between the enthralling beats of “Into The Wild” or the upbeat pulse of “Crazy”? The heart-warming ballad “Waiting For Your Love” in contrast with the sleazy speed of “Reptile”? And what about the hymn-ish “We Are The Legion” or the crowd-friendly “Filth & Flowers”? The latter even has parts as if recorded live because it’s exactly the kind of song that will have the audience cheering and do that now-you-sing-it game that vocalists love to put us through.

CrashDïet have had their fair share of downs but their albums have always been ups in their career. I won’t say “Rust” is the highest up so far but, once again, only out of fairness. I can say, though, that this is the essence of sleaze rock, bearing such purity and class – so hard to find nowadays.

9/10

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

The 69 Eyes – West End

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 14th September 2019 by Pieni

The 69 Eyes
“West End”
Gothic rock
Released: 13th September 2019
Via Nuclear Blast Records

The 69 Eyes - West End

Over the past 30 years, The 69 Eyes have developed such a characteristic sound that they’re at a point in their career where one can identify a song as theirs, even before Jyrki 69’s unique voice comes through. Yes, 30. The dark balloons on the cover? Best decoration for a goth’n’rock anniversary party.

They’ve also invited a few friends for such party. You’ve probably seen the video for “Two Horns Up” by now, featuring Dani Filth. Those ominous church bells in the first few seconds which lead to that rough bass intro and melt into a rocky melody spiced up with piano keys… that’s the catchy trademark of the Helsinki Vampires.

Curiously enough, “27 & Done” is a lot merrier, despite its dark theme (that apocalyptic age at which so many rock stars have died). Same formula, but merrier.

“Black Orchid” was also released as a video, probably because it has one of the most beautiful guitar solos in the whole album. It took me back to “Dance D’Amour”, believe it or not – so much bolder, so much sharper, and yet my mind brought it up. Go figure.

Then there’s the orchestral arrangements on “Change”, giving a classy touch to an already dandy ballad. It’s like they say, “the devil’s in the details”.

I was surprised they didn’t film a video for “The Last House On The Left”. Jyrki 69 himself says it’s “the perfect Halloween horrorpunk song for this year”. Honestly, I think it’s perfect for any festive occasion. It also features Dani Filth and Wednesday 13 and Calico Cooper as well, making a hell of a vocal mix! I wouldn’t call it punk, though, but definitely rock’n’roll. By the way, “Outsiders” gives away that vibe too. Dancing is not really my thing but I caught myself doing so while writing this review.

These are just a few remarks. I could’ve picked many more but I think you’ve got the picture. I’ll wrap it up with a cheesy but heartfelt “happy anniversary, keep it rollin’!”.

8/10

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão reveals timetable for this year’s edition

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 10th July 2019 by Pieni

Once again on two stages – the secondary Estrella Galicia and the main one Porminho – the 25 bands will play as follows:

LAURUS TIMETABLE copy

Every day will have a set of DJs keeping the metal pumping.

https://laurusnobilis.pt/en/

In Flames – I, The Mask

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 24th February 2019 by Pieni

In Flames
“I, The Mask”
Metal
Released: 1st March 2019
Via Nuclear Blast Records

inflamesithemask

It’s been a while since I’ve stopped considering In Flames “melodic death metal” (even if I labelled them as such when I reviewed “Battles”, after going with just “melodic metal” on the previous one, “Siren Charms”). The truth is that they’ve developed such a characteristic sound that one would either come up with a genre described in a whole sentence or just fit them in one that pretty much covers it all. Let’s go with “metal” then (which, whoever runs their Facebook page, seems also okay with).

I believe I’ve said this several times – not just regarding In Flames – but I don’t see toning down the aggression as a bad thing; in this case, losing the “death” angle. All I care about is listening to quality music, whatever its nature, and “I, The Mask” is full of that.

Out of the three songs they’ve chosen to promote the album with, the title-track was the one which least impressed me. Curiously enough, one of the fastest tracks. It’s not a bad song, don’t get me wrong. It’s just too straight-forward in the middle of the richness that the rest of the album turned out to be. But then again, come to think of it, maybe that’s precisely its strength. “Burn” is up there as well, but with a less catchy chorus.

“(This Is Our) House” is sort of anthemic, with all that talk of standing your ground and the teen choir’s they’d already used on “The End”. At first I thought a spunkier chorus would sound better, but after hearing it a few times, this one is just right. In fact, this album needs a couple of rounds to grow on you as a whole.

“I Am Above” and the ballad “Stay With Me” are my favorite, as they’ve got that something-I-can’t-put-my-finger-on that just enthralls me. Perhaps the attitude of the first and the depth of the second, but I believe is much more than that, as it usually is when a song hits you hard.

There’s another ballad in the form of “Follow Me”, where you’ll certainly hear an echo of “Come Clarity”, but only on a musical level – the message in it bears a sense of hope that their old classic misses. And even though I can’t remember a title to compare – in a good sense – “Voices” with, you’ll see that the opening track is very much an In Flames song. Not so much with “Deep Inside”, the Arabian hints catching me somewhat off guard, but it worked out in the end. The only song I skip when it comes up is “In This Life”. I’m sure it will be someone’s favorite, but for me, it’s annoying as hell.

When I’ve first listened to this album – their 13th – I’ve automatically given it a “4”. Then, as aforementioned, it started growing on me and I thought a “4,5” would be more accurate. Now that I’ve put into words what I think about it… hell, it deserves a “5”!

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Equaleft’s “We Defy” release party – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , on 3rd February 2019 by Pieni

Equaleft, Analepsy, Web, Sotz’
Hard Club (Sala 2), Porto (PT)
1st February 2019
Promoted by Raising Legends

equalwedefy0

Despite the ticket presale going on a steady run, Equaleft singer Miguel Inglês never believed he’d have a sold out venue. Now, he has this pet hate of sorts for Manowar and he promised to buy a Manowar album in case the tickets did sell out. Guess who’s adding “Sign Of The Hammer” to their CD collection?

sotzwedefyAs I’ve mentioned before (read here), Sotz’ have been evolving so much and playing in so many events that I didn’t realize this was their first Hard Club show until singer Dan mentioned it. The room still wasn’t at its full capacity – Friday traffic was even more chaotic due to the storm and a couple of other events in the neighborhood – but it was crowded and supportive enough to leave no doubt about the genuineness of Dan’s “thank you for being here”. That gratitude also produced a new song, “The Return Of Kukulcan”, right before the last one “Tzak’ Sotz’”.

https://www.facebook.com/sotzband/

webwedefyFrom a national popularity point of view, it didn’t make much sense to see the legendary Web get on stage next, but Analepsy had to drive about 200 miles to get to the venue – and Web just don’t care about that playing-first BS. Singer/bassist Nando was mourning a relative, who had passed just two days before, but no one could tell – he was his usual self, giving it all, and joking about Filipe’s white guitar and how the cookies Equaleft had brought were all gone by now, eaten in the backstage, so if that was why we were there, then we could go home. He also didn’t flinch when introducing the new song, ironically called “A Grave To Be Dug”. An awesome new song, by the way, bearing a sound you easily recognize as theirs. The chorus to “Mortal Sound” and “(In)Sanity” were sung along by pretty much everybody in the room.

https://www.facebook.com/web.bandofficial/

analepsywedefyBrutal death metal Analepsy, living up to the “brutal” part. Hair running in all directions on stage, while bodies did more or less the same on the floor. And that’s pretty much all I can say about it – as usual – and trust me, it is NOT a derogative report on their performance. I hate writing something as basic as “it was a great show” but in this case it will have to do. At some point there was a kind of a joke involving a rock band who was actually playing next door but it’s a Portuguese thing that even I can’t explain the fun in it, so… nope, nothing more to add.

https://www.facebook.com/analepsyofficial/

equalwedefy1Equaleft’s second full length album was featured in my expectations for 2018 but its release was held for a couple of months more and here it is, in the beginning of 2019. It’s okay, as the waiting was more than worthy (read the review here). And its live presentation…. well, their gigs are always mind-blowing, I can assure you that didn’t change a bit now! “We Defy” was played in full, but with… is 5-year-old songs too young to be considered “classics”? Anyway, “New False Horizons”, “Tremble” and “Maniac” were performed among the new ones, while “Invigorate” wrapped it all up with a golden key – without the Star Wars lightsaber but with two special guests: Sotz’-Dan and Tales For The Unspoken-Marco. Gonçalinho came on stage to play the sax on the new version of “Uncover The Masks”, and while there are no guest singers on the album, Web-Nando was called to sing along “Endless”. By the way, he lied about the cookies, obviously – a few boxes of them were offered to those who survived the violent mosh circles up front. Also, guitarist Miguel had his birthday that night and Inglês got us all singing him the “Happy Birthday” song, but the candles he blew were sitting on a symbolic kind of cupcake, so no cake for us – we deserved the other traditional cookies!

equalwedefy2

The release of “We Defy” was a deserved tremendous success. Don’t know what’s next, but I really hope is something even bigger – maybe selling out Hard Club’s main room? -, worthy not of buying a Manowar album but playing a cover of said band…

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Equaleft – We Defy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 27th January 2019 by Pieni

Equaleft
“We Defy”
Groove metal
Release: 1st February 2019
Via Raising Legends

wedefy

Equaleft are labelled – even by themselves – as “groove metal”, but their sound has always been too exquisite to be defined by just two words; but since we had to go for something, given the intense throb of said sound, “groovy” is a good broad definition as any. Now “We Defy” lives up to its name and keeps pushing the envelope, but I still won’t dare coming up with a new label.

I will say, though, that the somberness has reached a new level. The very first song on the album, for instance. If prog-doom isn’t a thing yet, “Before Sunrise” could be its genesis. But then again, there’s a certain… glow in its musicality, making it sound sad but not depressing, so I guess not so doom-ish after all.

In “Once Upon A Failure” there’s this heaviness and rawness that mingle oh-so-well with the ominous echoes of its melodic chorus, while the enthralling solo, by the hands of Sullen guitar player, André Ribeiro, gives off such a vibrant darkness. The title-track’s is even more mesmerizing, as the heaviness in “Fragments” is bolder – they all have something in common and something unique which, in the end, makes us recognize it as Equaleft.

There are two other guests but none of them performing vocal parts, even though in songs such as “Endless” or “Strive” you may wonder if it’s really Miguel Inglês singing. Trust me, it is. Many people don’t know, and those who do often forget, that Miguel used to sing in a gothic/doom band (Mysterium) and that this lower, deeper pitch is very much his and fits perfectly in the darker direction some parts of this new album have taken.

It’s not even about maturity, as the previous “Adapt & Survive” was already a pretty seasoned work. It’s simply moving forward and achieving greatness once again.

[On an additional note, their former guitarist Nuno “Veggy” Cramês takes the lead on “Realign” while the third aforementioned guest is José Pedro Gonçalinho, who plays a killer sax on the revamped “Uncover The Masks” (originally featured on the 2010 EP “… The Truth Vnravels”).]

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Soilwork – Verkligheten

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 8th January 2019 by Pieni

Soilwork
“Verkligheten”
Melodic death metal
Released: 11th January 2019
Via Nuclear Blast Records

soilwork - verkligheten - artwork

When I reviewed “The Ride Majestic”, about three and a half years ago (damn, feels like yesterday!), I said something about being surprised with how Soilwork could still impress me. Well this time they didn’t catch me off guard: I’m still impressed but I was counting on it.

A fellow reviewer said they’ve gone more melodic but I don’t think that’s quite it; I mean, sure, “Verkligheten” is a more melodic record, but I don’t think it was intentional. I believe they’ve just focused more on being intense than actually heavy, and such deeper sound enhanced the melodies which have always been a part of Soilwork. Take the latest single, “Stålfågel”, for instance; those initial synths bearing an Alan Parsons whiff, the growls of someone who Wikipedia claims to be Alissa White-Gluz (but it’s not) a mere shadow in the background of the chorus and the so straightforward solo result in an enthralling combination that’s way more than just “melodic”. it’s still my favorite song, by the way, even if I stood a bit disappointed when the lyrics didn’t match the title’s tongue. In fact, despite the Swedish album title, all songs are sung in English. Shame. At least one should be pretty interesting.

Tomi Joutsen was also invited to snarl over “Needles And Kin” but his presence is much more highlighted – the own nature of the song enabling it. I dare saying this is the heaviest song (“Arrival” right behind it), the riffing and drumming even reminding some black metal refined act, but the chorus always featuring some harmony to go along with the rest of the album.

I really hope “The Ageless Whisper” makes it to the live shows as it’s a very anthem-like track which I already imagine everybody clapping their hands to, in sync with the drums in its intro and later on, right before the solo. But several others, and for several reasons, are prone to turn the crowd into a bunch of happy campers ‘cause I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one loving “Verkligheten” as a whole.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Pieni’s highlights of 2018

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , on 1st January 2019 by Pieni

And here’s that time of the year again. It was tricky to choose among so many great gigs I’ve attended in 2018 but here they are:

infraktorcorrosc3a3o48

  1. Infraktor at Origens Caffé (Ponte de Vagos)
  2. Dark Tranquillity at Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão (Louro)
  3. Primordial at Hard Club (Porto)
  4. Web at Hard Club (Porto)
  5. Helloween at Pavillón Multiusos Fontes do Sar (Santiago de Compostela)

Out of the recording studios come these:

exhaustinf

  1. “Exhaust” by Infraktor
  2. “I Loved You At Your Darkest” by Behemoth
  3. “You Can’t Kill My Rock’N’Roll” by Hardcore Superstar
  4. “Eonian” by Dimmu Borgir
  5. “Decadence” by The Ransack

Most bands go for lyric videos nowadays, or just film themselves performing somewhere. I really appreciate when there’s more than that: like these:

  1. “Bring The House Down” by Hardcore Superstar
  2. “Stålfågel” by Soilwork
  3. “When The Seasons Change” by Five Finger Death Punch
  4. “Burn” by Corroded
  5. “Give Me Leather” by Gama Bomb

As for my expectations for this new year, here’s what I’m most eager about right now:

wedefyticket

  1. Equaleft‘s “We Defy” is going to be released in 2019 after all; already have my ticket – number one! – to the release party.
  2. Hills Have Eyes new album should see the light of day as well. Stoked like you can’t imagine (or maybe you can, ha ha).
  3. Have Soilwork’s “Verkligheten” to review – can already advance that I loved it! Looking forward to see them live with this.
  4. The Godiva have been announced to play at Vagos Metal Fest… with an orchestra! Pretty sure it’s going to be mind-blowing!
  5. I’m still waiting for news from the Breaking Today camp, but since half of the band plays in Hills Have Eyes as well, I guess they won’t find the time to do both… So I’ll replace them with In Flames on this list, as their new album is set to be released in February.

Happy New Year peeps!

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão growing… again!

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 26th November 2018 by Pieni

As July is still far away, Ecos Culturais do Louro decided to promote a special event, in celebration of Christmas. It’s called A Hell Of A Xmas and features bands that have played in Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão editions, as follows:

cartaz hell of a xmas.jpg

As for the festival itself, they’ve been gradually releasing names, along with guess-the-band-and-win-a-ticket contests. Just a few hours ago, Fleshgod Apocalypse has been confirmed as one of the four headliners – yes, the fest will last four days in 2019, between the 25th and 28th of July. Here are the other names so far:

ENTOMBED A.D.

WRATH SINS

SINISTRO

W.A.K.O.

CREMATORY

MISS LAVA

ANALEPSY

GWYDION

PESTE & SIDA

SOLDIER

PRIMAL ATTACK

TALES FOR THE UNSPOKEN

SIMBIOSE

HUMANART

https://www.facebook.com/laurusnobilismusic/

Primordial w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 22nd October 2018 by Pieni

Primordial, Basalto, Aura
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
21st September 2018
Promoted by Notredame Productions

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One month yesterday and the memories still send shivers down my spine. Primordial’s songs already have that effect on their fans, but something about that night’s performance made them more enthralling. I always thank the promoters for allowing me the chance of shooting these gigs but this time my heartfelt reverence towards Carlos Freitas and Notredame Productions goes deeper, for bringing such show to us.

DSC_0067 copyBut first things first. Post black metal Aura, promoting their debut EP “Hamartia”, which had been released in July. Aggressive, but bearing the somberness of a doom band, the mix works out extremely well, the four musicians really “into it” when on stage. For what I could gather, “Your Eyes Can Sweat My Desire For Catharsis” is their strongest track. An extra note on the bass player’s professionalism, as the piece on the bass that holds the strap broke but he didn’t stop playing; he just put his foot up on one monitor and held the instrument on his knee. I can only imagine the strain on his back and arms while doing it. In the end of the song he fixed it with duct tape, but since their songs are over 6 minutes long, consider my hat tipped.
https://www.facebook.com/oficialauraband/

Then came the 99%-instrumental Basalto. In fact, the first I’d seen them, a few months prior, I’d say they were an instrumental act. But this time, on the first and last track, guitarist António Baptista growled something indecipherable.
The final product is labelled as stoner/doom metal, but it’s achieved with a variety of other elements, such as jazz and blues, making it a lot spicier, more spirited. “Doença (“disease” in Portuguese) is their second album, released in February, and according to them, it represents everything black or dark in Humanity’s intellectuality. Interesting concept.
https://www.facebook.com/basaltostoner/

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In +25 years of attending concerts, I can only remember three concerts that went on for two hours: Iced Earth (the “Horror Show” tour, which coincided with the release of the boxset “Dark Genesis” and so the band decided to play a little bit of their full discography so far, with three different stage sets); Queensrÿche (the “Operation: Mindcrime” 20th anniversary tour where they performed both the album and its sequel in full) and Moonspell (the 20th anniversary of “Irreligious”, where they also played the whole DSC_0272 copy“Wolfheart” and “Extinct” albuns). Primordial was now the fourth, but the first without any special reason for it, apart from “not being like one of these new bands who play for an hour and go home” (quoting Nemtheanga himself). You’ve probably done the math by now: more time to play, less key-songs left out of the set, even if they have to insert new ones out of the latest “Exile Amongst The Ruins”. Plus, if you know how charismatic Nemtheanga is, you know how intense every minute of a Primordial show can be; 120 of them is something just beyond words.
Nemtheanga recalled several times their first show in Portugal, 20 years ago, praising “his friend” José Costa for it, and also mentioned the last time they’ve played at Hard Club (although that gig happened in the original venue, on the other side of the river, but that he didn’t seem to remember). Such sweet nostalgia, brought on not just by the older songs…
From “Nail Their Tongues” to “Empire Falls”, going through “To Hell Or The Hangman” or – my all-time favorite – “The Coffin Ships”, this concert was a roller-coaster ride of emotions that will hardly be forgotten by any of the presents.
https://www.facebook.com/primordialofficial/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão 2018 – 3rd day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 5th August 2018 by Pieni

The Godiva, Dark Tranquillity, Tarantula, Crisix, The Temple, Revolution Within, Low Torque, Legacy Of Cynthia
Louro, Famalicão (PT)
Promoted by Associação Ecos Culturais do Louro
28th July 2018

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LEGACY18No “alternative metal” band had played yet so Legacy Of Cynthia had the pleasure of doing so, kicking off the third and last day of Laurus with their brilliant “Rats And Rattlesnakes”. Their sound is too exquisite to describe but that exquisiteness is also unique, and it works perfectly live – especially in an open air festival. Their vitality spread out to the crowd, and even when bass player Caesar made a “small” thank-you speech – he himself recognized he was a pain in the ass and that those who’ve been to Legacy Of Cynthia gigs before were surely sick of listening to him – everyone applauded, clearly amused. I admit dancing to “Cabaret”, which wrapped up their set.

https://www.facebook.com/legacy.cynthia/
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Late last year, rockers Low Torque released their third album, “Chapter III: Songs From The Vault”. They’ve brought along some juicy tracks like “Dust Mojo” and “Mutant”, endorsing heavy headbanging and body movement in general. And that’s it, not much else to say – pure rock’n’roll is that straightforward.

https://www.facebook.com/lowtorque/
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It was the first time I’ve seen Revolution Within’s new drummer Rúben Moreira (apparently also known as Tozé…) and the kid’s got my personal approval. He also plays in One Step To Fall and their singer Diogo Pardal would join Raça later on to roar “Pull The Trigger”, but that was closer to the end. Way before that the crowd had already gone wild with the band’s other hits and usual violence. In the end, Raça thanked everyone and paid respects to the Abbott fallen heroes: “Dimebag, Vinnie Paul – rest in peace, wherever you are”.

https://www.facebook.com/revolutionwithinband/
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Time to head back to the main stage Porminho and watch The Temple. They were still sound-checking, playing their cover of Mão Morta’s “Budapeste” – which sadly they didn’t perform “for real” afterwards. But then again, their own songs set the crowd on fire, starting up a really peculiar mosh pit that included laughter, capoeira moves and guys on other guys’ shoulders. Its climax was certainly “War Dance”, when singer João and guitarists Marcelo and Tiago joined drummer Rui in a tribal percussionist feat.

https://www.facebook.com/thetempleband/
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Crisix is not your average thrash metal act. The music is thrash through and through: you’ve got the shredding guitars, the long shrills, the strong bass and the powerful beats. But the performance is much more than angry faces and neck-breaking headbanging. They run, they jump, they laugh… Fiesta all the time! In fact, that’s the exact term they use at some point, when they all change instruments and guitarist B.B. Plaza and bassist Dani Ramis take over the microphone. A medley of covers, including Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right (To Party)” and RATM’s “Killing In The Name Of”, put the Barcelona band at the top of Laurus’ most amusing artists. And their own songs, such as “Get Out Of My Head”, “Conspiranoia” or “Ultra Thrash”, made a huge cloud of dust rise up out of the mosh circles.

https://www.facebook.com/CrisixOfficial/

TRTL18Getting Tarantula to play between Crisix and Dark Tranquillity wasn’t the best of options – unless the idea was for the crowd to recharge batteries. Their old school heavy/power metal is legendary around these parts, but even with the crowd echoing loudly the choruses to “Face The Mirror”, “You Can Always Touch The Sky” or “End Of The Rainbow”, something felt amiss. It’s been less than two years since I’ve last seen them live and they were in pretty good shape. Now it seemed like the spark was gone, or at least dimmed. It was a bit disappointing. And I’ll never understand why, despite someone always screams for “Power Tower”, they still refuse to play it…

https://www.facebook.com/Tarantula.Official/
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There’s this Dark Tranquillity song called “The Mundane And The Magic” (which they’ve played in Laurus, by the way) and I believe “magic” is just the right word to describe what happened when the Swedes got on stage. Their current album “Atoma” was released over a year-and-a-half ago (review here) but as Mikael Stanne said, “it still felt pretty new”; the title-track, “Clearing Skies”, “Force Of Hand” and a couple more were just as rejoiced as old classics like “Monochromatic Stains”, “Therein” or “Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive)”.
The encore started with “State Of Trust” and then Stanne said that it was always a pleasure to come back to Portugal and that we knew they’d keep coming; he’d learnt over the years that we were very passionate, that we weren’t “Lost To Apathy”. And “Misery Crown” was just… well, what I’ve first said: magical.

https://www.facebook.com/dtofficial/

GODIVA18This year’s festival finished with a local band, that came back together after almost a decade-long hiatus (I think it was an actual split-up, but whatever it was, it’s over). The Godiva was the first band I’ve shot with a digital camera, back in 2005, and for me it was enthralling to see this new version of them, all re-vamped and full of life – despite their “deadly” make-up, ha ha. And those who only knew them from the brand new single “Empty Coil”, or didn’t know them at all before this show, seemed to enjoy the old songs such as “Spiral”, “Fallen” or “Oblivion”. A great new era for the band, closing what represents a new era as well for this great festival. See you in 2019, Laurus Nobilis!

https://www.facebook.com/thegodivaband/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão 2018 – 2nd day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2nd August 2018 by Pieni

Web, Mata-Ratos, SepticFlesh, Equaleft, Hills Have Eyes, Nine O Nine, In Vein, Sotz’
Louro, Famalicão (PT)
Promoted by Associação Ecos Culturais do Louro
27th July 2018

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sotzlnmf18The second day started at mid-afternoon, with Sotz’ doing the honors. Here’s a band that’s been improving their performance at every show, and consequently winning over more fans – 4:30 p.m. and a large number of people ready to shout out and mosh around their support. Without any kind of disrespect for previous line-ups, I believe the current one is the most efficient in living up to the aggressive impact the band yearns for their sound.
I’m not sure if the crowd was singing along – Dan Vesca is pretty hard to follow up – but they clearly recognized the tracks off the EP “Tzak’ Sotz’” and the recent single “Baak’”.

www.facebook.com/sotzband/

INVEINLNMF18Another band that’s grown a lot since the first time I’ve seen them a couple of years ago is In Vein. Raising Legends has been doing a hell of a job managing them, getting them to play practically everywhere, to the point where I confess I rolled my eyes when seeing their name on this bill. My sincere apologies – it was well deserved. Songs such as “S.A.T.A.N.”, “Paranoia” or “Infinite Night” fueled the headbanging and the horns in the air – singer António Rocha tried to convince the firemen to join the latter at some point, but they just smiled.

www.facebook.com/invein.band.pt/
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Representing a rockier side of metal, we got Nine O Nine, guitarist Tó Pica’s new band. Introducing their debut “The Time Is Now”, released in February, Louro was filled with the enthralling melodies of “Big Event”, “Beauty Femme” and “Sofia” – dedicated not just to all Sofias but to every woman in the audience. Singer/bassist Sérgio Duarte didn’t want us to get the idea that NON were mellow, so they finished their set with the brisker “The Rush”.

www.facebook.com/NON909/
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The Estrella Galicia stage closed for the moment and the spotlight turned to the main stage, Porminho, with Hills Have Eyes spreading their usual vitality. Fábio Batista’s voice was a bit worn down but he himself was jumping all around, so it made no real difference in the intensity of the music. Plus bassist Luís Silva backed him up, making sure all lines were sung. Splitting their setlist between the two most recent albums, but visiting “Black Book” through “Unneurotic” and the new single “Never Quit”, Fábio thanked the people that probably weren’t much into their sound but still were there, watching them and showing them respect. This and the little speech that always goes along “Anyway It’s Gone”, about music being music, no matter the label, hence they’d never decline an invitation for a “metal festival”.

www.facebook.com/hillshaveeyes/
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From metalcore to groove, Equaleft was the epitome of the “may the force be with you” slogan which their singer Miguel Inglês loves so much. They’ve been recording the successor to “Adapt & Survive” and even if the title or release date weren’t revealed yet, a live promotion is running already: “We Defy”, “Once Upon A Failure”, “Strive”, “Endless” and “Overcoming” made part of the band’s set and were tremendously cherished. Still, the highlight was “the lightsabre song” – the classic “Invigorate” – where Sotz’-Dan Vesca was a spontaneous guest. During the last song, “Maniac”, Miguel crowdsurfed while singing and then rewarded the fans with cookies. As usual.

www.facebook.com/equaleft/
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When promoter Aguiar Silva got on stage to address the audience, I thought he was going to introduce the headliners; it was something much more noble than that. In case you don’t know, SepticFlesh come from Greece, where several wildfires have taken about a hundred lives. Portugal went through a similar tragedy last summer, so more than sympathetic with the situation, we related. Therefor when Aguiar asked not for a minute of silence but half a minute of applause for the souls lost in those fires, Louro trembled. Singer/bassist Spiros Antoniou himself would dedicate “Prometheus” to the same souls – after all, in Greek mythology, Prometheus was a Titan who stole fire from the gods and gave it to the humans. But before that, songs such “Martyr”, “The Vampire Of Nazareth” or “Prototype” had already left the crowd in total rapture. Spiros dislocated his shoulder a few weeks ago, and even if everything’s okay now, he still couldn’t raise his arm/fist as high as he wished to, so he wanted our help to do it for him. We obviously complied. 10-year-old “Anubis” and last year’s “Dark Art” built the encore of a stellar show.

www.facebook.com/septicfleshband/
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Mata-Ratos spent almost a decade without any new material but their life on the road rarely took a break – that being the reason why their original schedule on Saturday was anticipated to Friday (something about a show in Spain). “Banda Sonora do Apocalipse Anunciado” was released in 2016, but needless to say that it was songs from almost 20 years ago – “A Minha Sogra É Um Boi”, “Amor Eterno” or “CCM” – that brought out the inner punk in all of us. Singer Miguel Newton still paces the stage through and through like a lion in a cage, but I’ve managed to frame him more clearly – he’s either slowed down a bit with age or I’m just getting more skilled.

www.facebook.com/infamesmr/
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Back to the Estrella Galicia stage to watch the final band: only Web to have such a numerous and loud crowd at 2 in the morning. They’ve been somewhat away from the stages, writing the successor to “Everything Ends”, but unlike Equaleft, nothing new was revealed – well, except for the intro, that was a new one. And guitarist Filipe Ferreira’s posture! Web is the band I’ve seen the most in these +20 years of attending metal concerts and this was the first time Filipe made me wonder if they got sponsored by some energy drink. “Vendetta” was the last live song of the night, before António Freitas assumed the role of DJ.

www.facebook.com/web.bandofficial/

Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão 2018 – 1st day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 31st July 2018 by Pieni

Infraktor, Cruz de Ferro, Booby Trap, Atreides
Louro, Famalicão (PT)
Promoted by Associação Ecos Culturais do Louro
26th July 2018

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Fourth edition of Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão, first one fully dedicated to metal in all its varieties. Those first three editions we’ve covered the first day only, which was the heaviest one. Now we’re proud to bring you coverage of the whole fest.

001Last year the organization had already set a second stage for big bands still climbing the popularity ladder (calling them “smaller bands” wouldn’t be fair or accurate at all). This year that stage was a bit larger and endorsed, hence named after, the Spanish beer Estrella Galicia – Galicia being the community where the first band Atreides came from as well. The opening day served as a warm-up, with only the Estrella Galicia stage active and four acts on the bill, so the melodic heavy metal of Atreides started echoing around eight-thirty in the evening. The crowd wasn’t big, true, but I confess it was much bigger than I’d expected – and also more responsive towards a band clearly unknown to them, despite their two studio albums. Songs like “Frágiles” or “Laberintos” caused quite an impression – including in some little kids who were tagging along their parents but having a ball on their own.

www.facebook.com/atreidesgrupo/

btlnmf18Things got a bit more hardcore with Booby Trap’s crossover. The most veteran band on that day’s bill got a more aggressive feedback, just like their sound, but still they tried to convince the people in the back to get closer to the stage and join the party – unsuccessful, not even after guitarist Wild Bull provoked them by calling them something like “pussies”. Anyway, “Survive”, “Overloaded”, “Drunkenstein” (my favorite) or Motörhead’s “Ace Of Spades” (which they covered long before Lemmy’s death) kept the audience pretty hyped.

www.facebook.com/boobytrap.pt/

CFLNMF18Cruz de Ferro is Portuguese for “iron cross”, so that alone gives you an idea what kind of metal they play and what they sing about – yep, traditional heavy metal about Portuguese battles and history in general. They had a handful of devoted fans in the front row, raising their fists and singing along loudly. To those, singer/guitarist Ricardo Pombo exclusively dedicated “Ritual da Cruz” (ritual of the cross), apologizing to the rest of the people attending the festival. But since they’ve played for the very first time a new song called “Soldado Desconhecido” (unknown soldier) – in memory of all Portuguese soldiers who lost their lives in the second Great War – I guess no one minded to be left out of the aforementioned dedicatory.

www.facebook.com/cruzdeferro666/

INFLNMF18But it was Infraktor’s “ferocious metal” that got the most out of the crowd, proving the promoters right when they chose such a young band to headline the first day. Well, young as Infraktor, who released their debut album “Exhaust” early this year – the members are all old-school ambassadors of the national underground, as I’ve told you when I reviewed said debut (here).
From “Blood Of The Weak” to “Ferocious Intent”, this was the night’s most intense performance – both on and off stage. Some people were singing along the choruses, but in order to everyone give use to their vocal chords, Pantera’s “Strength Beyond Strength” wrapped up the show, as someone in the crowd “guessed”. Singer Hugo Silva joked, asking him if he had peeked at the setlist, but knowing that he’d just attended some previous Infraktor concert.

www.facebook.com/infraktor.metal/

DJ Nattu taking over in the end wasn’t the best idea, but apart from that, my heartfelt congratulations to everyone involved in putting together this event. And this was just the first day.

Photos & text: Renata “Pieni” Lino

Escape The Fate – I Am Human

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 26th May 2018 by Pieni

Escape The Fate
“I Am Human”
Alternative Rock
Released: 30th March 2018
Via Eleven Seven Music

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Escape The Fate have conquered a few million fans over the past decade with their modern alternative rock. That’s still the best way to describe their sound, although with “I Am Human” it has lost a bit of its original edge. One could say it’s heading towards a more mainstream direction, but let’s face it – they’ve always been down that road. But now there’s a refinement to it, a maturity that gives texture to all the catchiness and class to the briskness. Some of the guitar work has even hints of the eighties, the solos in “I Will Make It Up To You” and “Beautifully Tragic” being the most notorious.

On the other hand, we have more “up-to-date” tunes, such as “Empire”, featuring this decade’s trend of blending the most spirited anger with the most fetching melody. Speaking of melodies, the mandatory ballad comes in the form of “Bleed For Me”. Not exactly extraordinary, but it serves its purpose of touching your heart.

Touching are also the lyrics of “If Only”, contradicting the chirpy acoustic chords provided. The kind of song you associate with Summer camps, even if these usually don’t bear so much regret. “Let Me Be”, however, is lighthearted enough to make you want to dance to its rhythm and sing-along cheerfully.

The title-track is quite seductive, but my personal favorite is “Do You Love Me” – the bass in this album is so overlooked that it’s refreshing to feel its vibrancy in this song.

All in all is a pretty pleasant record. Its new path didn’t take such a dramatic detour – especially when you’re able to recognize the step forward it represents in song-writing – but indeed some of the most hardcore fans of the band may be disappointed. At the sane time, “I Am Human” is prone to gain them a handful of new ones.

3,5/5

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Insomnium + Tribulation – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 28th April 2018 by Pieni

Insomnium, Tribulation
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
9th April 2018
Promoted by Prime Artists

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“Winter’s Gate” is the name of Insomnium’s latest album and therefore the name of the tour – even if the release is one-year-and-a-half old. Plus, given the cold wave that’s been washing over Europe when Spring was supposed to be settling in, “Winter’s Gate” sounds pretty fitting.
Monday night, the crisp weather, the 2-band bill instead of the usual 3, the ticket price somewhat higher than normal… I confess I was expecting a poor crowd in terms of numbers. Well sometimes it feels good to be wrong and see that, after all these years, your hometown can still positively surprise you.
DSC_0054 copyWhat I didn’t like to be wrong about was the duration of Tribulation’s gig. Sure, I knew this wasn’t a co-headlining tour, but since there was no other band on the bill, I was hoping for a little more than 45 minutes – especially when they have a new album to promote as well. “Down Below” was released in January and only a third of its fantastic tracks were performed – “Lady Death”, “Nightbound” and “The Lament”. Of course we wanted to hear everything else they’ve played, from their previous works, but we wanted more – hence the 45-minute slot not being enough. I remember the first time Insomnium played here, eight years ago, asking us to buy something at the merch stand in order to “help the little guys”. Here they were this night, not so little anymore, so let’s cross fingers that next time Tribulation come here they’ll be headlining their own show. And that it won’t take that long – even if there’s only 5 years left to complete the 8 since the first time they’ve played in Porto.
The “Down Below” artwork is in shades of red and black but the lights during Tribulation gig were green. And black. Too much black. It was pretty hard to capture those enthralling movements of Jonathan and the devilish faces of Adam; but then again, no still image can truly show what one experiences at a Tribulation gig.

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www.facebook.com/Tribulationofficial/

DSC_0448 copyThe darkness came back in full when the Police Academy theme echoed – Insomnium’s intro – but then went on. And on and on. There were only glimpses of a weak light during the whole performance of “Winter’s Gate” (in case you don’t know, the new album has just one 40-minute-long track, divided in 6 parts, although the second, “The Golden Wolf”, is subdivided in two). If the idea was to illustrate the long winter nights they have in Finland, congratulations, you’ve made it! Wasn’t the spirited vibrancy of their performance – and the matching feedback from the crowd – and it would’ve been pretty depressing.
After Insomnium closed their winter’s gate, “The Primeval Dark” lived up to the exact opposite of its name and the room lit up like a summer day. By then I had retreated to enjoy songs like “Mortal Share”, “Weather The Storm” or “The Promethean Song” in the far back – so no bright pics, sorry.
The photographer in me left the venue frustrated, but the music lover had her heart full – and a pleasant smile for the first chords of Moonspell’s “Alma Mater” that preceded the encore “Only One Who Waits”.

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www.facebook.com/insomniumofficial/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino