Author Archive

Escape The Fate – I Am Human

Posted in Alternative, CD, Rock with tags , , , on 26th May 2018 by Pieni

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

140b030677e270427883ae360906f583.800x800x1

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

Advertisements

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

DSC_0526 copy

“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.

DSC_0239 copy

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”.

DSC_0489 copy

www.facebook.com/insomniumofficial/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

The Godiva return, wrapping up this year’s Laurus Nobilis Music

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 11th March 2018 by Pieni

The two missing names in the Laurus Nobilis Music 2018 bill have been revealed: Atreides and The Godiva. The former hails from Northern Spain and the latter from Famalicão, hometown of the festival itself.

The Godiva were quite popular in the Portuguese underground back in the early 2000s, until they decided to step away for an unknown-period-of-time. The hiatus is now over and they will close this year’s edition of Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão. Here’s the full schedule:

lnmf2018schedule

Metal DJs will entertain the crowd every night for about an hour, after the last band leaves the stage.

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

Therion w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 2nd March 2018 by Pieni

Therion, Imperial Age, Null Positiv, Midnight Eternal
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
21st February 2018
Promoted by Notredame Productions

therionhc1

In Portugal, scheduling an event for 7 p.m. in the middle of the week isn’t going to work out very well for the opening acts; but with four bands on the bill and an almost two-hour-slot for the headliners, there’s not much the promoter can do. Speaking of, a big thank you to Carlos Freitas and the whole Notredame Productions team for bringing such show to us and for letting Valkyrian Music cover it.

DSC_0077.jpgMidnight Eternal was the first band on stage. Frankly, I’d never heard of them before, but then again, symphonic power metal with a female lyric voice – and occasional male growls – isn’t exactly my cup of tea… Among the few people at the venue by that hour, there were a handful responding enthusiastically to their music – either they knew them already or the band caused quite the first impression on fans of the genre. Yep, they’re good.

Introducing their self-titled debut album, released in 2016, the band from New Jersey – as said by Raine Hilai; you shouldn’t trust everything you read on Facebook, where their page locates them in Manhattan/New York – charmed the small but “loud” (using Raine’s own words) crowd with songs such as the “first song they’ve ever written” “Masquerade Of Lies”, “Signs Of Fire” and the almost-9-minute long “First Time Thrill”.

www.facebook.com/MidnightEternal/

NULLPOSITIV

Female singer as well, but completely different posture, Null Positiv followed suit. That so-German alternative, post-industrial sound which “recognizes the signs of the times”, to quote their own motto. Even if Elli Berlin joined Therion on stage to sing “Din” later on, this was the most “displaced” band on the bill, but given their feisty performance, “diversity is the spice of life” earned a new meaning. “Hass”, “Labyrinth”, “Friss Dich Auf” or “Koma” were just some of the songs that left the crowd – considerably bigger now – pretty hyped, Null Positiv’s impact being the exact opposite to their name.

www.facebook.com/nullpositiv/

IMPERIAL AGE

If the Germans were the furthest from Therion in genre, Russian Imperial Age were the closest, with their symphonic/opera metal. The release of their third album earlier this month outlined their setlist, but they couldn’t go without performing “Anthem Of Valour” or “Aryavarta”. The combination of Aor’s tenor voice with Kiara’s soprano and Corn’s mezzo soprano, spiced up here and there by some growls of Vredes and Belf, filled the venue with a supreme vibrancy, overlaying striking melodies welcomed by everyone.

www.facebook.com/imperialageofficial/

therionhc2

With such foreplay, it took only the first chords of “Theme Of Antichrist” to drive the crowd to a climax which would last throughout the almost-2-hour long performance of therionhc3Therion. Some highlights of their latest opera – including “Temple Of New Jerusalem”, which Thomas Vikström introduced by asking us to imagine ourselves inside a church, adding right away “boring, I know” – mingled with highlights of their whole career and we’ve witnessed a hell of a show (pun intended regarding “Beloved Antichrist”). Vikström was pretty talkative, as his usual, but the final words had to come out of founding member Christofer Johnsson. He remembered the last time they’d played in Porto, 20 years before – yes, 20! – and asked if any of us had been there. A few had – me included – and so he thanked us for the “old school support”. And he asked us to scream the title of the song that, like then – and almost always – finishes their shows, the imperative “To Mega Therion”.

www.facebook.com/therion/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Bill for Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão 2018 almost complete

Posted in News with tags , , , on 25th February 2018 by Pieni

Ever since its first edition, back in 2015 we’ve been supporting and covering the “metal day” of Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão, in Portugal. Last year saw the growth of the bill, by adding a secondary stage, and this year we see the “growth of weight”, as all three days will be heavy ones. Needless to say, we’ll be covering the full festival this time.

There are still two bands to announce, but so far it features some of the Portuguese finest. As for the international headlining acts, we’ll have Dark Tranquillity and Septicflesh:

LAURUS2018

We’ll get back to you with the full schedule as soon as the two last bands are revealed.

www.facebook.com/laurusnobilismusic/

Infraktor – Exhaust

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 9th February 2018 by Pieni

Infraktor
“Exhaust”
Thrash metal
Released: 2nd March 2018
Via Rastilho Records

exhaustinf

Gourmet is a word very popular nowadays – so popular that we even use it outside its food context, just for fun. As an adjective, it’s synonym of high quality; as a noun, it’s someone who’s quite the expert on both producing and consuming high quality stuff. I started using the expression “gourmet thrash” as a joke, but in light of these definitions, when applying them to thrash metal, they couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to Infraktor – classy, top-notch tunes, performed by who knows damn well what they’re doing. I’ve known – and admired, I confess – most of them for over a decade, with their previous bands, but even if I could vouch in advance for their talented experience, the level of maturity in “Exhaust” is the sweetest icing on my expectation’s cake.

Preceded by a menacing intro and succeeded by a dark outro, the eight tracks Infraktor bring to you also offer the tough choice of choosing a favorite (I often go for “Son Of A Butcher” but only because it was the first getting stuck in my head). The riffing of “Blood Of The Weak”, the overwhelming title-track, the shredding of “Inevitability Of Reason” (a.k.a. “I.O.R.”), the solo of “Ferocious Intent”… Speaking of, I was a tad apprehensive when I was told it would feature Revolution WithinRaça. Hugo’s voice has a deeper resonance, but I was afraid it wouldn’t be enough to contrast with Raça’s sharper tone. Indeed it isn’t, but the combination of both in the chorus has such a powerful effect, living up to the song’s title – and the band’s motto – that it just makes sense. Plus, these are men who value their friendships so the “just makes sense” expression assumes a double play.

The outro features an excerpt of an Edmund Kemper interview and so I take the liberty to finish this review with a straightforward pun: “Exhaust” is a killer album.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Pieni’s highlights of 2017

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 1st January 2018 by Pieni

2017 was quite the roller-coaster, hence my somewhat absence. But that doesn’t mean I’ve paid less attention. My live highlights this past year were:

22780426_1730510013649117_7952868535505070749_n

  1. W.A.S.P. at O2 Forum Kentish Town (London)
  2. Infraktor at Metalpoint (Porto)
  3. Equaleft at Hard Club (Porto)
  4. Ugly Kid Joe at AgitÁgueda (Águeda)
  5. Hills Have Eyes at River Stone (Penafiel)

In terms of records I might have been a bit careless, but these titles are awesome nevertheless:

heartlessoppressor

  1. “Heartless Oppressor” by Primal Attack
  2. “1755” by Moonspell
  3. “Infinite Shadows Of Memories” by The End Of Grace
  4. “Hegemony” by Samael
  5. “Medusa” by Paradise Lost

Top-5 videos:

  1. “In Tremor Dei” by Moonspell
  2. “Never Quit” by Hills Have Eyes
  3. “Like Orpheus” by Orphaned Land
  4. “Blood And Chaos” by Paradise Lost
  5. “Black Flag” by Iced Earth

And expectations/anticipations for 2018:

infexhaust

  1. The release of “Exhaust”, Infraktor‘s debut album!
  2. After the single “Never Quit” blowing my mind away, can’t wait to see what Hills Have Eyes will deliver next.
  3. The release of “Dropout”, Breaking Today’s debut EP, and how it will turn out live (pretty dynamic, I’m sure).
  4. Crashdïet have a new singer, Gabriel Keyes, and judging by the first single featuring him, “We Are The Legion”, I foresee a bright future for the Swedes.
  5. Just a few days ago, in what I’ve considered one of their best live shows ever, Equaleft played two new songs, two powerful new songs. Hoping to listen to the rest of this upcoming second full-length album in 2018.

Happy New Year folks!

Renata “Pieni” Lino