Bands: Damage My God, Gates Of Hell, Equaleft, Pandora, Junkywax, Hellcome, Flatten, Negative Ground
Location: Molin old factory, Canelas (Portugal)
Date: 30th October 2011
Gaia em Peso (which translates to something like “Gaia in Heaviness”) is a Portuguese festival for amateur bands. Amateur in the sense that they don’t make a living out of it – the performance of most of them is quite professional.
So for 5 € only you have the chance to see 42 bands in 5 days, and you can drink beer for 50 cents and eat meat sandwiches also for 50 cents. Profit is definitely not the goal: just fun!
Sadly, I could only attend one of those days, but I still think it’s worth to share it – especially since Valkyrian reviewed the latest EP of headliners Equaleft.
The first band of the evening was Negative Ground, who had also played in last year’s edition of the fest. I remembered them as a heavy metal band, but now they sounded a bit more thrashier. Singer Bala was even wearing a Megadeth t-shirt, as if backing up my opinion. Still, the basis remains in hard/heavy.
The new bass player, Nelson, brought some life to the band’s performance, as he moves along with his playing, while his predecessor only banged his head. But then again, this heavier attitude of the band itself makes it easier to do so.
They haven’t released anything new since last year, so the EP “New World Order Arrives” is still their latest work. The crowd wasn’t that big in the beginning of the show, but whoever was there applauded, raised their arms in the air and screamed “hey!” along the guitars, which are the strongest element in Negative Ground’s music.
Flatten have been gathering fans in the Portuguese underground with their live performances. They are still recording their first EP, which I believe will be released in 2012, but many in the crowd seemed to recognise some of the songs. And those who didn’t, welcomed them anyway.
Their music is basically thrash – old school like Slayer mixed with post-thrash like Machine Head. And then Evandro puts a death metal touch on the vocals, making the songs sound even more aggressive.
It was Evandro’s birthday, so everybody sang “happy birthday” to him at some point of the concert.
“Death Line” is their most known track so far, so I’m pretty sure it was the one they played last – right between the riffs of Slayer’s “South Of Heaven” in the beginning and “Raining Blood” in the end.
I don’t know very well how to define the following band, Hellcome. Apparently they started as a thrash metal band, some 14 years ago. But what they played that night was anything but. On MySpace they define themselves as metal/rock, but I would add “alternative” to that mixture. Good musicians, you could feel a solid musical background in both performance and songwriting, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. And to say the voice didn’t impress me is an understatement. Luckily, we all have different tastes and there were people enjoying their gig.
In 2000 they won the Rocklusos award for best demotape, with “Broken Society”, and they started the gig with two of the three songs from that demo, “Running Locomotive” and “Breathe”. The setlist says they covered Sepultura’s “Slave New World” but I honestly didn’t hear it. The last song, “Cry At The Moon”, isn’t featured in any of their three demos, so I believe it’s a brand new one.
Artchoke cancelled their show (don’t know why) so there was a bigger intermission for dinner. Around 21:00, Junkywax got on stage.
This was another band I remembered from a previous edition (2009, I believe) and they also sounded different – a lot different! If it wasn’t for the girl on the bass, Alexandra, I would even think I was mistaken and this wasn’t the same band – although a weird name like this is kind of hard to forget. But it was – they simply went from alternative/grunge to sludge/southern rock, sticking to the original name as they “didn’t want to forget their roots”.
They played that sludgy metalcore for half an hour, presenting us the demo/EP “Pure Power Rising” that they’ve released this year. One of the songs (didn’t understand the title – if singer André said it at all) was punk rock, so I presume it was older. It started with bass and Alexandra also sang in the chorus.
Pandora was a complete novelty for me, although I recognised those kids’ faces from off the stage, at other concerts.
Not exactly an original name, and the sound doesn’t bring anything new either, but they did very good – especially when the band was formed barely two years ago. They know how to be on stage and deliver a good performance, and the heavy metal spiced with thrash and nu that they play kept everybody entertained.
I don’t think they have anything recorded yet, but it’s good – it will give them time to grow a bit more as a band, and polish some rough edges with the experience on stage.
Gates Of Hell should be next, but singer Raça hadn’t showed up yet. Damage My God ‘s own singer wasn’t there yet either, so they couldn’t play either. Headliners Equaleft ended up playing 2 hours before schedule, not closing that day’s bill after all. But no one in that band cares about status – they just want to play, no matter if that happens in the beginning, middle or end of the festival.
Guitarist Maglor couldn’t be there, for personal reasons, meaning the Star Wars Storm Trooper mask on “Invigorate” was a no show either. Replacing him was Pedro from Gates Of Hell – brother of the bass player, Filipe, who also plays guitar in GOH. The Portuguese underground is one big happy family.
Singer Miguel was surprised to see so many moshers on a cold Sunday night, but there they were, circle after circle and screaming along the chorus of songs like “Suffer No More”, “Sleep When I’m Dead” or “Alone In Emptiness”. Miguel himself kept jumping, but that’s nothing new.
It was the first time I’ve seen Gates Of Hell with Raça on vocals, after he replaced Zé a few months ago. But I already knew him very well from Revolution Within, so I was sure it would be a great show. And it was. His strong voice fits the band as a glove, enhancing the thrash parts which were once overwhelmed by the death ones.
They played songs from their EP “Shadows Of The Dark Ages” and some new stuff which they are currently working on and recording. Should be out next year.
Miguel from Equaleft joined them on stage to help singing “Whoremaggeddon”, and the cover of Pantera’s “Fucking Hostile” was the moshpit’s highlight.
Last but not least, Damage My God. Band formed not too long ago, but its musicians come from way back. Also labelled as thrash/death, but more the latter than the first. Really aggressive performance. They’ve recently released a 5-song EP, “F.U.C.K.”, which stands for “Fuck Underground CocksucKers”, so that alone tells you something about their attitude towards the music scene – even at an underground level.
One of the songs had to be interrupted right on the first minute – not sure if due a technical problem or a human mistake. But the mosh resumed as soon as Damage My God restarted to play, as if nothing had happened. It was past 1 a.m. but the adrenaline was still high.
After the concerts, who ended at two in the morning, a MJ (metal jockey) entertained the last survivors. I left after Metallica’s “One” and Pantera’s “Cemetary Gates”.
Renata “Pieni” Lino