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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:

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

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

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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

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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/

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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:

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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

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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:

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  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:

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  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:

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  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

Moonspell introduce “1755” – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 3rd November 2017 by Pieni

Moonspell
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
1st November 2017
Promoted by Alma Mater Books & Records

1755 II

Today is the release of Moonspell’s so awaited “1755” (review here). Three shows were performed in advance and I attended the last one – the one when the infamous 1755 earthquake completed its 262nd anniversary.

1755 IIIA drawing of Lisbon in ruins – like the video for “In Tremor Dei” – as backdrop, one stand on each side of the stage for the Crystal Mountain Singers, and the new orchestral version of “Em Nome Do Medo” started playing at ten in the evening. Recorded, serving as intro, as the original version would be performed live later on the encore. So the first song to actually be performed was the title-track, Fernando Ribeiro singing it wearing a raven Venetian mask. As the album had been available in streaming format for a couple of days, a good share of the crowd was already singing along; the singles “Todos Os Santos”, “Evento” and “In Tremor Dei” had pretty much the whole house backing up the lyrics, not just the choruses. Moonspell are known for their powerful shows but when the crowd responds accordingly, interacting like they did that night, it’s always an overwhelming thrill.

1755 IVOverwhelming was also the presence of fado singer Paulo Bragança. On my album review I’ve described his voice as “riveting” and that the outcome of his collaboration with Moonspell was “mind blowing”. It’s so much more when you experience it live that there’s no accurate words for it.

1755 VIn a “city and venue that always welcomed them so warmly” (quoting Fernando himself), the tragedy told in this new album turned into rapture; Fernando said he understood that it would take us a while to get used to “1755”, not just for being new but also for being sung in Portuguese, but for what I saw that night no adjustment period is required.

1755 viiFor the cover of “Lanterna Dos Afogados” (by Os Paralamas Do Sucesso), the lights dimmed and Fernando held a lantern – the backup singers as well – enhancing that light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel feeling which the songs bears.

1755 VIThe album is a little less than one hour long, so even with the usual chit-chat – “dial 17 55 if you want more information. By now we know everything there is to know about earthquakes” was quite funny – it was too short for a concert. So they came back to play a 7-hit encore. No matter how many times you listen to those final “Alma Mater” and “FullMoon Madness”, the shiver down your spine is simply mandatory.

1755 vi

https://www.facebook.com/moonspellband/
https://www.facebook.com/almamaterrecords/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Soen w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 2nd November 2017 by Pieni

Soen, Madder Mortem, Heavenwood
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
20th October 2017
Promoted by Free Music Events

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About two weeks ago, Soen dropped by Hard Club to promote their latest album “Lykaia”. It was a bold move to book the main room of the venue – 1000 people capacity – but it worked pretty well! It didn’t sell out, but it was packed enough to justify such choice. And as much as one goes to a gig for the bands playing and not for who’s promoting it, I must give my congratulations to Free Music for the successful event. Also, I’d like to thank Inês Reis and the whole staff for the cheerful and welcoming way they’ve treated both press and audience. Hope to meet them again in the near future.

https://www.facebook.com/FreeMusicEventsOfficial/

DSC_0290 copyHeavenwood set foot on stage at nine sharp. As I’ve mentioned last time I’ve seen them (see here), Equaleft-Miguel Inglês occasionally assumes the singer role, whenever Ernesto Guerra can’t make it. This was one of those times – my first. Knowing Miguel’s vocal skills and posture I don’t know why I was impressed, but I was. Focusing mostly on the latest “The Tarot Of The Bohemians”, they’ve finished grandly with the new/revamped version of “Frithiof’s Saga”.

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https://www.facebook.com/HeavenwoodOfficial/

DSC_0532 copyAs Madder Mortem hadn’t played here for quite a while, they were more than happy to go back before the release of “Red In Tooth And Claw”, which is the album they’re currently promoting; just as happy as the crowd was to listen to “M For Malice” or “Hangman”. So it was contradictory when, after playing “Armour”, Agnete M. Kirkevaag apologized for depressing us on a Friday night; but I don’t think anyone felt depressed, as the emotional overwhelm that Madder Mortem’s music boosts is quite gratifying – especially live, when one can witness how much the band members give themselves to the performance.

https://www.facebook.com/mmortem/

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DSC_0901 copyEverybody was already hyped, so when the first chords of “Canvas” echoed, we all reached the ultimate climax – listening to the crowd singing through and through, but especially along the guitars in “Jinn”, was a goose-bump sponsor. We were often applauded and awarded with a heartfelt smile from Marcus Jidell, while Joel Ekelöf, also with a sincere smile, thanked us for our support, ever since the first SOEN concert here, 5 years ago, when opening for Paradise Lost. That one was also memorable, but this night was simply unforgettable.

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https://www.facebook.com/SoenMusic/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino