Author Archive

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

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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/

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:

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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 Uncategorized 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

Moonspell on tour

Posted in News with tags , , on 19th October 2017 by Pieni

Portuguese dark metal veterans Moonspell are about to release their first conceptual album, “1755” (read review here). They will play three shows in their homecountry, in an exclusive introduction before the release: 30th and 31st October in Lisbon and 1st November in Porto:

moonspellpt

They will then promote the album in Spain, with Bizarra Locomotiva and Norunda, before returning home for a few more shows in Arcos de Valdevez, Aveiro, Castelo Branco and Loulé:
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But in case you live outside the Iberian Peninsula and don’t have the chance to travel there and catch one of these promising gigs, Moonspell will join Cradle Of Filth through Europe on the following dates:
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Moonspell – 1755

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 18th October 2017 by Pieni

Moonspell
“1755”
Dark Metal
Release: 3rd November 2017
Via Napalm Records

1755

Whether one likes it or not, Moonspell have changed the way Portugal’s metal scene is looked at. It’s been 25 successful years, so they’re not releasing now a conceptual album, in their native tongue, because they need to prove themselves; they’re doing it because they just can.

As you probably know by now, 1755 was the year when the Great Lisbon earthquake took place, on All Saints’ Day, resulting in the near-destruction of the city and a death toll of tens of thousands. That alone gives you an idea of the emotional weight of this record, which goes much beyond the lyrical content depicting such tragedy. There’s the obscure orchestral arrangements (courtesy of Jon Phipps) in the new version of “Em Nome Do Medo”, the operatic female voices throughout the album enhancing its epic imprint, the brazenness of “Desastre”, the weeping guitar solo in “Ruínas” – a song otherwise quite brisk. A similar contrast occurs in “In Tremor Dei”, between that bold melody and the riveting voice of fado singer Paulo Bragança. In case you don’t know, fado is a Portuguese classic music genre, of a sad and longing nature – after all, it literally means “fate” -, sung in heartbreaking intonations. If the idea of Moonspell featuring Bragança is somewhat shocking, the outcome is simply mind-blowing.

Marquis of Pombal, the Prime-Minister at the time of the earthquake, said something like “now we bury the dead and take care of the living”. Maybe a bit cold, but a positive vision nevertheless. And that’s also how Moonspell finish “1755”: originally performed by Brazilian rockers Paralamas do Sucesso, “Lanterna dos Afogados” is a song of hope and being there for one another, now with a much darker vibe – very Moonspell-ish. Come to think of it, there isn’t really any new trait here; it’s how the band now combines and tweaks those traits, accordingly with its bleakest theme, that makes “1755” a memorable masterpiece.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão 2017 – metal day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 5th August 2017 by Pieni

Holocausto Canibal, Amorphis, Heavenwood, Urban War, Final Mercy, In.Verno, Skinning, Stucker
Louro, Famalicão (PT)
28th July 2017

amorphislaurus

stuckerlaurusThe 3rd edition of Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão experienced a few changes but having its metal day on Friday wasn’t one of them. And with the addition of a second stage, the number of heavy acts doubled. First one on the “breakthrough stage” was Stucker. It was around 5 p.m., the crowd wasn’t exactly massive, but when you’re in a thrash metal band playing in a metal fest, chances are that you’ll get a good feedback, no matter how scarce the number of people giving it. And Stucker have improved their posture quite a lot since I’ve last seen them, more committed. Musically they sound stronger too. They’re currently in studio, recording an EP which I was told it’s a “back to the thrash roots” ride; promising.

https://www.facebook.com/StuckerPT/

SKINNINGLAURUS

After two albums, Skinning’s death metal is quite praised among the national underground – therefore the feedback was more intense, even if the crowd was just a little larger than before. But a seven, maybe eight-year-old kid was eagerly headbanging, and for what I could gather, he was no relative of any member of the band – that alone was worth as much as a vicious mosh pit.

https://www.facebook.com/SkinningMetal/

invernolaurus

Then from Spain came the “dark metal” of In.Verno – meaning heavy melodies spiked with synths, with a beautiful female voice mingled with male growls. This was still part of the band’s Insanity Tour, promoting their second album “The Reasonable Choice Of Insanity”, and it was a pleasant and refreshing way of closing down the so-called first part of the day.

https://www.facebook.com/invernospain/

FINALMERCYLAURUSThe action moved to the bigger stage, with Final Mercy literally storming it. It had been about seven years since I’d last seen them and probably as many line-up changes since the first, a decade ago; and while some bands may look unstable after so many adjustments, this was probably the best that could have happened to Final Mercy. Guitarist Ricardo Ribeiro and bassist Arcélio’s technical skills made the music more mature, and singer Dan’s posture filled their live performance with much more vitality. A couple of days before the fest they released a video for the title-track of their latest album, “Revival” (June 2017), which I strongly recommend.

https://www.facebook.com/FinalMercy/

URBANWARLAURUS

Despite being announced on the fest website that Urban War would close the bill of the smaller stage, it seems the plan was for them to play on the prime one all along. Well, the energy of singer Márcio Pinto needed indeed a bigger space to be fully discharged and so there he was, jumping all over amidst smoke and strobe lights, promoting “Flesh Upon The Feelings”. Pretty vibrant groove metal, well-deserved of the main stage

https://www.facebook.com/urbanwar/

HEAVENWOODLAURUSI dare saying that Heavenwood were awaited just as eagerly as the headliners – and that eagerness was rewarded. In the 25 years they’ve been around, there’s close to nothing in their songwriting that one can finger-point; their live performances, however, have always been their weakness… until a couple of years ago. Don’t know if it was something about the conceptual latest album “The Tarot Of The Bohemians”, if it was the new line-up or simply the natural process of growing up… but who cares? They now kick ass on stage and that’s all that matters. I was just a bit disappointed that Equaleft-Miguel didn’t join them on stage. Due to his day job, there were a few shows that singer Ernesto was forced to miss and it was Miguel who replaced him. Given the difference in styles, I was really curious to see how that worked out. My curiosity wasn’t fulfilled, but still my satisfaction reached the top.

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

AMORPHISLAURUSIIWhen Amorphis last played in Portugal, it had been in celebration of “Tales From A Thousand Lakes” 20th anniversary and about a month before “Under The Red Cloud” was out, so despite such release has occurred two years ago, the title-track, “Sacrifice” and “Death Of A King” were performed live for the first time in our country – and they were welcomed accordingly. But then again, all songs caused similar thrill. Always addressing us as “my friends”, Tomi Joutsen asked for our help in “House Of Sleep” and our opinion about playing “Into Hiding”, now that original bass player Olli-Pekka Laine was back. Without surprise – but obviously with loads of emotional feedback – the gig ended with “Black Winter Day”.

https://www.facebook.com/amorphis/

HOLOCAUSTOLAURUSDeath-grind isn’t for everybody’s ears, so having Holocausto Canibal closing the bill was the right decision – the ones who couldn’t endure such extreme sound could leave (and a lot did…) and those who enjoyed it had the chance of seeing a great band of the genre on a big stage. As singer Ricardo said himself, it doesn’t look like but they’ve been around for 20 years. They’ve released a vinyl re-recording of both their debut demo and album under the inkling title “Catalépsia Necrótica: Gonorreia Visceral Reanimada”, which is Portuguese for something like “necrotic catalepsy: reanimated visceral gonorrhea”. Musically and lyrically, the brutality prevails, but they’ve toned down the theatrics a bit – less blood and entrails, that is – focusing more on sound than image. Whether you like it or not, one must acknowledge the big act they are.

https://www.facebook.com/hcgore/

And so the metal day of Laurus 2017 came to an end. I tip my hat to everyone involved in this venture, not just from an event-promotion point of view but also for the support given to national metal, still so underestimated by many.

Text & photos by:

PRESS

Sepultura w/ Equaleft – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 8th July 2017 by Pieni

Sepultura, Equaleft
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
4th July 2017
Promoted by Prime Artists

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Drummer Marquito left Equaleft last October but when your former band is invited to open for Sepultura, you must return for (another) last gig.
Everybody came out of the shadows, apparently – media included. So we were divided in groups and each shot one of the first three songs. My only concern was regarding the exchange between songs but the situation was handled smoothly. So kudos to Prime Artists and the Hard Club staff – thanks to them, we all had a shot at covering such memorable show.

marquitoIt was the closing of a chapter in Equaleft’s book, marking the last gig promoting “Adapt & Survive”. If memory serves me well, they’d said that already a few months ago, but just like Marquito, they couldn’t say no to Sepultura. I believe this time it was really the last one, though, as I know a new record is taking a solid shape, with a new drummer who will be announced soon. But that night was still just for what are already considered classics among the national underground – the intrepid “Invigorate” (featuring the mandatory Star Wars lightsabre), the groovy “Tremble”, the eccentric “Maniac” or the classy “Uncover The Masks”. And in the end, “their trademark” box of cookies was distributed among the fans.

JEDIMIG

www.facebook.com/equaleft

derrick2There were a lot of Equaleft t-shirts in the crowd, but when Derrick Green himself goes on stage wearing one… damn, even I felt proud – hence the need of mentioning this little detail. Regarding what really matters: when you’ve been in a band for over 30 years and “big” for almost as long, one hour and a half always seems awfully short, especially after the release of another album. The trick is finding the right balance between new and old and, of course, performing both like there was no tomorrow. Guess who were able to do just that? (Okay, I confess I’d rather watch them play “Troops Of Doom” than “Inner Self”, but we can’t always have our way, and the near sold-out venue went bananas screaming along “nonconformity in my inner self / only I guide my inner self”, so who am I to complain?). Also, if you’ve read my live reports before, you probably know how I disapprove of solos; Sepultura seem to share this opinion as Andreas Kisser proved his skills – as if he still needed to – by playing the instrumental “Iceberg Dances”, out of the latest “Machine Messiah” the band’s currently promoting.
JUNIOR“I Am The Enemy” kicked it off, “Roots Bloody Roots” (what else?) finished it up, in-between Derrick told us “this is your fucking territory” and that he wanted to see us all arise, and Andreas dedicated “Sepultura Under My Skin” to Moonspell and F.C.Porto – the first for being good friends and representing Portugal’s metal throughout the world, the same way Sepultura do with Brazil’s; the latter… well, we all know how football is big in Brazil.
It was such a brutal show that no one even took offense when Derrick mistook Porto for Lisboa. Of course he was booed loudly, but his apologies were so immediate and genuine – plus, he’d said Porto several times during the evening – that it turned out more of a funny moment than an actual fail. Therefore, a perfect night.

KISSER

www.facebook.com/sepultura

Gallery at our Facebook page here.

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão 2017

Posted in News with tags , , , on 29th June 2017 by Pieni

Laurus Nobilis motto has always been “celebrate music” and on its third edition, there will be the double of such celebration with a second stage and a larger bill. This second stage will be called “Palco Revelações” – Breakthrough Stage – supporting new talents to the point of where attending these performances is free.

The main stage, named after one of the biggest supporters of the fest – the salumeria Porminho – will welcome some big names of the Portuguese scene plus an international headliner: Amorphis. So it’s only fair that for this you’ll have to pay a ticket:

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Schedules and more info at: http://laurusnobilis.pt/horarios/http://laurusnobilis.pt/horarios/

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

The End Of Grace – Infinite Shadows Of Memories

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 9th May 2017 by Pieni

The End Of Grace
“Infinite Shadows Of Memories”
metalcore
Released: 10th May 2017
by Illumnirec

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Where I come from there’s a saying that goes something like “who awaits always achieves”. And then someone twisted it, creating a new and pretty negative version, that says “who awaits gets desperate”. The latter translated my state of mind in the recent past regarding a full-length record by The End Of Grace, which I’ve been waiting for since the band got together. But it’s finally here and I’m living the original version of the saying, as waiting for “Infinite Shadows Of Memories” totally paid off. Between the two EPs “Lost In Transition” and “Unity”, there had already been an evolution in the songwriting, its features emboldened; but “Infinite…” is more than an upgrade of said features, it’s a new path straying away from the traditional metalcore they’ve begun with.

The crystal-clear clean tones have been replaced by somber, deep ones, still contrasting perfectly with Kriss’ growls; the focus on breakdowns is water under the bridge, the main priority now based on the musicality and not on sounding tougher than leather – even if they do sound relentless nevertheless. It’s just a whole new level of melody, more mature.

The ominous catchiness of “Life On The Line”, the yearning of the title-track, the collision of opposites of “Breathe”, the daring “Ride The Dark”… This record is a rollercoaster of emotions and shows TEoG pushing the proverbial envelope with their music. Hell, a whole stack of envelopes! It’s not even clear what it should be called anymore, but whether you go for “blues-core, deathcore or metalcore” (quoting the upbeat “We Really Don’t Know Yo”), this is The End Of Grace.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Blindagem Metal Fest – Ponte de Vagos, Portugal

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , on 7th May 2017 by Pieni

Chaos Synopsis, Aneurose, Nuclear Warfare, Infraktor
Origens Caffé, Ponte de Vagos (PT)
29th April 2017
Promoted by Paulo Perdiz & Blindagem Metal Show

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Blindagem is Paulo Perdiz’s baby, a radio show that’s been promoting metal since 1990. At some point the spreading of news wasn’t enough and concerts were added to the bill, giving birth to these Blindagem Metal Fests. Last weekend, Origens Caffé witnessed another one of these events with a quite packed house.

www.facebook.com/blindagem

DSC_0091 copyFirst band getting on stage was Infraktor, “ferocious thrash” straight out of Escapães. It was the only national band on the bill and made it right by their country – I used the quote marks in “ferocious” because that’s the band’s own tag line, but they lived up to it and there’s no better word to describe the show.
Their debut “Exhaust” has no release date yet but the recordings are done. In a perfect world, that should mean the album would soon be blasting off your listening devices, but I’ve been engaged in this biz for way too long to know that there are no accurate predictions until all processes are complete. What I can assure you is that I will let you know as soon as it’s announced.
They were asked to play 45 minutes instead of the usual 30, so “Unleash The Pigs” was back on the set (it had previously been replaced by “Son Of A Butcher”) and “Confront” got its riff sequence altered in order to extend it a little bit. Infraktor topped my expectations-for-2017 list (see here) and they’ve been meeting said expectations so far.

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DSC_0349 copyThere’s a reason for German thrash to be so popular and Nuclear Warfare reminded us why, inflaming mosh circles practically from the first minute. Singer/bassist Fritz knew a few words in Portuguese – after all, the band has a Brazilian drummer, Xandão – but we were happy to teach him some more. Cursing words, obviously, in good ol’ cheerfulness.
The hymn “Just Fucking Thrash” and The Ramones’ cover of “Rockaway Bitch” were probably the catchiest moments of a fierce and beer-drenched gig.

www.facebook.com/ThrashMetalTank

DSC_0443 copyBrazilian thrashers Aneurose released their sophomore album, “Juggernaut”, last July and Blindagem was one of the Portuguese dates in its promotional tour. I don’t know if they already had fans here, as the reaction of the crowd was so fulsome; but then again, it was my first time watching them and the adrenaline rush I’ve felt was simply overwhelming. Straight-forward, in-your-face metal music, headbanging and mosher friendly, lots of rebellious gang backing vocals to sing along… And speaking of “along”, singer Wallace joined the circle pit at some point. Songs such as “Butcher” or “Drunk As Skunk” got such a crazy feedback that all of a sudden it seemed that we were in a sold-out show, people pushing everywhere to stand up front. To the point that when Wallace called Infraktor-Popas on stage to help him sing Sepultura’s “Roots Bloody Roots” I couldn’t even see them – just listening to them. And what a duet that was.

www.facebook.com/aneurose

DSC_0490 copyLast but not least, also hailing from Brazil and also playing thrash metal – although with a bit more death to it -, Chaos Synopsis. “Gods Of Chaos” is their most recent work, released a little over a month ago, but three others have come before it and therefore they had a rich set for us. “Burn Like Hell”, “Storm Of Chaos” or “Gods Upon Mankind” are just some of the songs that you should look into if you’re in this genre. The crowd that night surrendered to them.

www.facebook.com/chaossynopsis

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Projecto Sem Nome – Bulas Para Dedos E Coração

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 23rd April 2017 by Pieni

Projecto Sem Nome
“Bulas Para Dedos E Coração”
alternative rock
Released: 8th October 2016
Via Raising Legends Records

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Projecto Sem Nome is Portuguese for “nameless project”, and while some of you may see it as a tacky lack of imagination, I think it’s quite ingenious and liberating – “nameless” but it’s still the name they go by, so it’s a clever pun, and at the same time, having such an empty meaning, it’s up to you to give it one. Just like with their lyrical content, which is so full of metaphors that even if Portuguese is your mother tongue, you’ll be left wondering about what singer/lyricist Cristovão Siano really means with those words.

Musically, it’s not so hard to label them as “alternative rock” is probably the most comprehensive and vague genre ever. “Até Amanhã” (see you tomorrow), for instance, is a rough post-grunge piece seasoned with delicate acoustic guitar fragments. “Detalhes” (details) has a more upbeat and catchy main riff but eventually sounds somewhat heavier, and then the guitar solo is pretty dire, as if out of one of those eighties hard rock hits. The ballad “Identidade XXX” (identity XXX) features a xylophone and an intense vocalization, while “Havia Lá” (there was) is probably the fiercest track, a double bass drum backing up Cristóvão’s high-pitch lament towards the end. And the duet with Blame ZeusSandra in “Marcha Gole” (sip march) gives the song an extra refinement.

Is therefore safe to say that “Bulas Para Dedos E Coração” (leaflets for fingers and heart) offers a batch of rock songs written and performed on a basis of a myriad of styles and influences. One word: classy.

4 / 5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Blame Zeus – Theory Of Perception

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 4th March 2017 by Pieni

Blame Zeus
“Theory Of Perception”
Alternative Rock
Self-released on 4th March 2017

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Blame Zeus started out as progressive rock but have now engaged in a more straight-forward direction – less technicalities, same elegance. Maybe that’s why “Queen” wasn’t included in this new album (either that or they totally revamped it and renamed it, but I honestly doubt it). “Queen” was a song they introduced live almost a year ago, at the last gig with the line-up they had at the time, and I remember saying that whatever changes were on the way, that song sounded pretty much like the Blame Zeus we all knew. I’m glad I was wrong. Not that I didn’t like their original sound, don’t get me wrong! I just find it more interesting when a band has more than one side (if you’ve read my reviews before, you’ve probably seen me using the expression “diversity is the spice of life” more than once). And “Theory Of Perception” offers some heavy, feisty stuff (“Slaughter House”, “Miles”) contrasting with gracious melancholy (“More Or Less”, “Entertainment Clown”); the rough seduction of “All Inside Your Head” and the loose rock of “Redemption”; the weepy electric solo in “The Moth” and the seventies acoustic heartache of “Signs”. Twelve new songs with distinct traits but one in common – the strong but very feminine voice of Sandra Oliveira.
Tonight I’ll see how this works live. In the studio it works peachy.

4/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Overkill – The Grinding Wheel

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 7th February 2017 by Pieni

Overkill
“The Grinding Wheel”
Thrash metal
Release: 10th February 2017
Via Nuclear Blast

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I’m having mixed feelings about Overkill’s new album. Maybe my expectations were too high after Testament’s “Brotherhood Of The Snake” and Kreator’s “Gods Of Violence”, and also an underground project called Infraktor that I’ve been keeping close tabs on; my thrash metal flame’s been rekindled and was eager for “The Grinding Wheel” to keep fueling it. But…

The length of the songs is an automatic downer for me. Yes, it’s not exactly new that Overkill like to shred away longer than the rest of their fellow thrash bands, but I believe it’s the first time they’re pulling an average of six minutes per song (literally, kids – it’s ten songs in one hour; do the math). That’s just too much.

At least they diversify the structure and it’s not the same riff over and over plus a 3-minute solo; it doesn’t get boring out of repetition and here lie my mixed feelings. Crafted compositions are clear, rich with groovy patterns, but some kind of binding agent is amiss. The opening track, “Mean Green Killing Machine”, for instance. The introductory drum beats are promising but soon reveal they’re not getting anywhere; a Judas-Priest-like melody and the rock’n’roll piece that it leads to are both pretty catchy, but fall somewhat adrift among the main riffing.

One of the features I’ve always loved the most in Overkill was their bass line, but D.D. Verni’s presence here is shallower than usual – needless to say, another downer. And as if that wasn’t enough, in “Shine On”, one of the songs where the bass stands out a little, Bobby Blitz sounds like a chicken when singing “come on” in the chorus, ruining the moment.

Curiously enough, one of my favorite tracks is less thrash, as the aforementioned rock’n’roll comes at full force in “Come Heavy”. But the rebellious “Red White And Blue” follows suit in terms of preferences and that one is as thrashy as it goes. The rest of the album… well, let’s just say that it lives up to its title: it… grinds.

3,5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Sabaton w/ guests – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 28th January 2017 by Pieni

Sabaton, Accept, Twilight Force
Coliseu, Porto (PT)
20th January 2017
Promoted by Prime Artists

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“The Last Tour” – named after the album “The Last Stand”, not after some early desire of retirement – hit Porto at one of its biggest and renowned venues. A bit bold, as it turned out. True, the last time Sabaton played here, Hard Club sold out its 1000-person capacity, but Coliseu holds six times that number. On the other hand, with the background videowall and all the apparatus, Hard Club’s stage wouldn’t have been big enough.

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dsc_0014-copyThe name Twilight Force hinted of power metal, and the dragon in the backdrop brought a positive certainty, even before the fast, chirpy melodies flooded the halls. A strange mix but they’re from Falun too and Chrileon was even Sabaton’s live backup singer back in the day (and rumor has it that the Spartans in the Sabaton song are played by four of them but I haven’t been able to confirm it) so from a friendship point of view, a fantasy power metal band opening for a militant heavy metal one makes perfect sense.
Chrileon got on stage wielding a sword to the sound of “Battle Of Arcane Might”. I don’t think many people knew them, but their high-spirits were contagious and soon everybody was riding along their “adventurous metal”. Funny blokes too, always teasing each other with a smile on their faces. “Gates Of Glory” was particularly welcomed by the crowd but the whole show left a positive mark.

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www.facebook.com/twilightforce/

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00000196-copyThe “Generation Clash” – song they sadly didn’t play – went wild the moment Christopher Williams stood behind the drums screaming in salute. We have a saying in Portugal that goes something like “old are the rags”, meaning that “old” is a word that shouldn’t be applied to people, and the youthful attitude that Wolf Hoffmann & Co. put on that night could as well be the incarnation of such saying. From recent tracks like “Stampede” and “Stalingrad” to classics such as “Princess Of The Dawn” and the mandatory “Metal Heart” and “Balls To The Wall”, there wasn’t a single moment where “age” meant nothing more than “experience”. The synced headbanging and guitar hero poses, which I usually find so cliche, just felt right this time. I guess it all depends on who’s bringing the cliches to life after all. My heart was full.

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www.facebook.com/accepttheband/

00000426-copyEven though I was happy to see the old schoolers getting off their couches to support Accept, I was sad to see many of them leave and not give a chance to Sabaton. Well, their loss – as usual, the Swedes kicked ass. Even if I appreciated the 2014 gig more, their performance skills are unquestionable.
00000433-copyThey’ve been using their cover of Status Quo “In The Army Now” as intro since the beginning of the tour, so it’s not in memory of the Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt, who died last Christmas Eve. But it was a beautiful coincidence, and nice change – as much as I love Europe’s “The Final Countdown”.
Besides the powerful songs – “Ghost Division”, “Carolus Rex”, “Primo Victoria”, “To Hell And Back”, just to name a few – and their lively presence, their good humor and empathy towards the public are just as popular. When the show was halfway through, a roadie brought a keyboard and Joakim reminded us (well, informed, as some may not know the origins of the band) that he started out as Sabaton’s keyboard player. But when he started playing Van Halen’s “Jump” it became clear he wasn’t going to resume the role that night. Chris Rörland claimed that Tommy Johansson really knew how to play piano and to prove so, the new guitarist played a little of Beethoven’s “Für Elise”. From there, he engaged on their own “The Final Solution”, in a beautiful acoustic version.

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Later on, someone would throw a horned helmet with the Swedish colors that Joakim put on, saying that he probably looked like a “palhaço”. That’s Portuguese for clown, and the whole venue burst out laughing. And in the end, he tied a Portuguese flag on his back, like a cape, super-hero style, wondering if his super power would be being the best football player in the world. Great musicians, great performers and funny – what more could one ask from a metal show?

www.facebook.com/sabaton/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Kreator – Gods Of Violence

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 24th January 2017 by Pieni

Kreator
“Gods Of Violence”
thrash metal
Released: 27th January 2017
Via Nuclear Blast Records

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“Gods Of Violence” or how to make the same thing and still sound fabulous.

When “Phantom Antichrist” was released, I used keywords such as technique, melody and elaborate guitars; now, almost five years later, the same words pop up in my mind. Yet it doesn’t leave a taste of repetitiveness but of… familiarity.

Living up to its name, “Apocalypticon” is an epic promise of war, a promise that starts being fulfilled right afterwards, with the fierceness of “World War Now”. Some sharp melody in-between makes it both classic and classy.

“Satan Is Real” is the other side of the coin – still belligerent, still menacing, but the rhythm is more grinding than shredding. There’s even some symphonic elements here and there to emphasize the throbs.

“Totalitarian Terror” is something I’ll love to hear live, a thrash hymn, with a catchy, sing-along chorus.

Okay, I admit some of the acoustic chords of the title-track are a subtle reminder of Metallica’s “Fade To Black”, but the rest of the song is very Kreator-like and another strong candidate to a live favorite.

The spunky spirit of “Army Of Storms”, the force of “Hail To The Hordes”, the mischief of “Lion With Eagle Wings”, the militant “Fallen Brother”, that weeping solo of “Side By Side”, “Death Becomes My Light” brings over a little more semi-acoustic moments – these not similar to any other band’s – before galloping away at full speed… Kreator are able of pulling out sophisticated tweaks off their sleeves, delivering exactly what is expected of them, both as a thrash metal band and as a veteran, professional act.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

20 years of “Diva” – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 14th January 2017 by Pieni

Heavenwood, La Chanson Noire
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
30th December 2016
Promoted by Raising Legends

Heavenwood’s debut album “Diva” was released on the 27th of August in 1996. I won’t say it feels like yesterday but it certainly doesn’t feel like 20 years ago either. “They went by quickly”, to quote singer Ernesto Guerra.

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Carlos Monteiro, a.k.a. Charles Sangnoir, and his one-man project La Chanson Noire was invited to open up the night. I was surprised with the choice, but then again, after seeing thrashcore and prog-rock acts playing with Heavenwood before, the “bleak pop” of La Chanson Noire made perfect sense. A piano backed up by some samples and a single voice, playing satirical “cabaret goth” songs. A weird mix, yes, but that’s what makes it interesting. The crowd preferred to stay back, but they were clearly enjoying themselves to songs such as “Familia Chantilly” (chantilly family) or “O Bordel de Lúcifer” (Lucifer’s brothel) – the latter even played by request, although it would surely be played later on.

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www.facebook.com/chansonnoire

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Any proper anniversary show includes the celebratory album performed in full and “Diva” was no different. Hmm… no, that’s not right. I mean, they did play the whole album, in the same order as the studio version, but the feeling they put on it wasn’t like anything I’d ever seen by them. Well, in Vagos it was really close, but let’s face it – nothing like a debut album released 20 years ago to make things a lot more special. It’s funny how I hadn’t heard some of those songs in ages and still knew the lyrics word by word. Ah, the power of good music.

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At some point, Ernesto thanked everybody for their presence and also the past members who helped making that record – Zé, Mário, João and Bruno – and also thr.e one member who departed way too early but is always on their minds, Rui Santos (R.I.P.). Last but not least, roadie and jack-of-all-trades Paulo Magalhães. It felt really good to hear all those names acknowledged out loud, after all these years.

 photo DSC_0644 copy_zps99yi7jb9.jpgAfter the stellar performance of “Diva” the band left the stage to return moments later with “The Arcadia Order”. 2016 also saw the birth of “The Tarot Of The Bohemians” and its songs were the ones the crowd knew the lyrics best, but the enthusiasm was equal, no matter which track/album. Blame Zeus-Sandra couldn’t make her usual appearance at “The High Priestess”, and in no way would I ever discredit her, but Ernesto singing her parts sounded quite exotic and the song got a new dynamic. It was one of those nights when nothing went wrong.

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www.facebook.com/HeavenwoodOfficial

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino