Archive for Hard Club

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

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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!

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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

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

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

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

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.

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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

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

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

Gojira + Equaleft – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 9th July 2016 by Pieni

Gojira, Equaleft
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
7th July 2016
Promoted by Prime Artists
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July and this was the first time this year that I’ve worked with Prime Artists. They’ve promoted several gigs lately but all in Lisbon and I haven’t had the chance to cover those almost 200 mi. And even though it makes sense to promote a show in a more central, strategic city like the capital, after last night I start wondering if it isn’t also related to the conditions offered by the venues. Hard Club, seriously, what the hell happened to you?! After Ghost, last November, I thought you’d realized it was time to do something about the sauna-temperatures that place can achieve. You indeed bought huge fans to help the AC system in its job, but unless you actually turn them on… And you may think that I’m overreacting, that just a couple of lines on the subject would suffice, but when a band like Gojira is playing a sold-out show and it’s forced to shorten the set because the musicians are close to passing out due to the heat, yeah, a whole paragraph on Hard Club’s greed and lack of professionalism is appropriate.

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Now let’s focus on the good things – the concerts. There’s always some disregard for local, smaller bands, but this time almost everybody was present when Equaleft got on stage, at nine o’clock sharp. When Gojira headlined Vagos Open Air a couple of years ago, there was a petition for Equaleft to be included in the bill, as their sound is the best match to the French’s. At the time it wasn’t possible but I guess you can’t fight what’s meant to be. This was also the first gig of guitarist Miguel Martins, after a short introduction in December, when he played just a couple of songs (report here), but it was such a milestone in Equaleft’s career that former guitarist Veggy flew all the way from Brazil to take part in it.
 photo _DSC0635 copy_zps5jodxrcg.jpgI’ve been to too many Equaleft shows to know how good they are and what kind of positive feedback they get from the crowd, but this being their first time playing in front of so many people, it brought me a special sense of joy & pride – there was a fair share of longtime fans, but they were a novelty to the majority and I saw them surrender to their power groove. And to the chocolate butter cookies they gave away in the end of the show, as it’s their tradition, when singer Miguel returned on stage after a little crowdsurfing (also his usual).

www.facebook.com/equaleft

 photo _DSC0766 copy_zpsn7lmusgx.jpgIn thick smoke, strobe lights and louder-than-hell roars, Gojira took the stage with “Toxic Garbage Island” – and from the very first second to the last, the crowd gave a new meaning to the words enfants sauvages. They were restless ven during the tribal drum solo of Mario Duplantier, clapping their hands to the rhythm nonstop.
When Joe Duplantier addressed the audience, apart from the little pleasantries that he knew how to say in Portuguese, he said they loved our country and compared the city of Porto to a fairy-tale. Later he would mention the UEFA Euro 2016, saying “congrats on the final”, and as France had beaten Germany minutes before the show, he said how the victory would be good to France, given all the social-economical crisis their country was going through. We didn’t take it bad – there wasn’t a single whistle or boo – but the way “POR-TU-GAL! POR-TU-GAL!” echoed through the venue, showed him we weren’t keen on letting them win easily.
“Shooting Star” would end the show after about one hour and a quarter, with Mario stage-diving into the eager crowd. “Explosia” should have been the last, but they couldn’t take the heat any longer, as aforementioned. Still, band and audience left “hot club” (as Joe called it) with their hearts full.

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Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Full gallery in our Facebook page here.

Heavenwood w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 1st April 2016 by Pieni

Heavenwood, The Temple, Blame Zeus, Gates Of Hell
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
26th March 2016
Promoted by Raising Legends

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In late February, Heavenwood released their fifth record “The Tarot Of The Bohemians” (review here) and the first release party took place about a month later, in a full-enough Hard Club. Other three top-notch bands from the national scene were on the bill, all of them so different from each other, making this a diverse event, even more interesting than “just” a release show.

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First band on stage was Gates Of Hell, delivering their thrash-death-’core like they owned the place. I guess one can still call Márlon “the new guy”, as he was introduced as the new singer only last December (report here), but to me it feels like he’s been there all along.
There was a couple of missteps but I believe it wasn’t entirely their fault – trust me, I’ve seen them over a dozen times by now; the sound was a bit messy at first, so my guess is that they were having trouble listening to each other. Whatever or whoever was to blame, they went on so passionately that no one cared about such slips.
The show had begun at nine, half an hour later than scheduled, but still Márlon thanked the crowd for getting there so early to see them (20:30 is pretty early for a gig here in Portugal). The title-track of their debut (and so far only) album “Critical Obsession” closed their set.

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www.facebook.com/gatesofhellband

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Things cooled down considerably with Blame Zeus, as their more progressive approach is spirited but much less aggressive. They’re about to go through some major line-up changes – both guitarists and the bassist still played the show but have already announced their departure – which Sandra called “a new cycle”. And with the beginning of that cycle, she introduced a new song, “Queen”, about her career and what she had done to get that far and how it meant having to be mean sometimes… The new song has pretty much the same vibe, so the fans don’t need to worry about these changes, as Blame Zeus will continue the path of their usual sound.
Speaking of fans, there were plenty there that night and one in particular was celebrating his birthday. Sandra spared us from singing the happy birthday theme, dedicating him his favorite song instead, “Incarnate”.

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www.facebook.com/BlameZeus
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Then veterans The Temple brought down the house with their fiery alternative rock. Personally, it was the band I was most eager to see, since it had been eleven years (yes, eleven!) since I’d last seen them. And they didn’t let me down, nor the public in general. I believe they’ve made a lot of new fans. And spicing up their own great music with a cover of Mão Morta’s “Budapeste” (yeah, I know this won’t say anything to people outside of our country, but to us, it does a lot) and a tribal drum solo to which singer João and guitarist Marcelo gave both of their helping hands, their performance was a 5-star one.

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www.facebook.com/thetempleband

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I’m having mixed feelings about Heavenwood’s gig. Maybe I had set my expectations too high, maybe I was still in an adrenaline rush from The Temple show, but the truth is that I felt something was missing. The setlist was perfect; they’d promised to revisit their whole discography and so they did, and not just one song from each previous album, as some people had joked. However they tweaked the synths of the older ones to the point that I didn’t even recognize them at first. It seems the idea was to make them  photo _DSC0141 copy_zpsubhe4jzm.jpgsound heavier, but at least “Emotional Wound”, my all-time favorite, sounded anything but. I already didn’t like its softer version in “Diva”, as the original, while they still went by Disgorged, was way heavier; and somehow they managed to tone it down even more that night. That might have helped with my mild disappointment.
The new live musicians made an impression – drummer Eduardo is quite skillful; guitarist Victor smiled and headbanged all the time; there isn’t a spot on stage that bassist André didn’t cover. Frontman Ricardo also looked to be “feeling it” deeper than usual, but his voice went out of tune a few times. As for Ernesto, it was the other way around: his voice sounded better than ever, but his mind seemed somewhere else. Something missing, I keep saying. Me and a few others, but luckily, the majority of the fans left with a smile on their face, after the “Frithiof’s Saga” and “Suicidal Letters” encore. And I won’t let one less good gig destroy my belief in them. Plus, at some point Ricardo said that “stopping is dying”, referring to the band’s sound evolution. I’ve been keeping tabs on that evolution since the first album, I definitely won’t stop now.

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www.facebook.com/HeavenwoodOfficial

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Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Raising Legends Xmas Special – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 24th December 2015 by Pieni

Equaleft, Gates Of Hell, Tales For The Unspoken, Wrath Sins
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
19th December 2015
Promoted by Raising Legends

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Raising Legends Records, by the hands of its CEO André Matos, gathered its finest bands and put up a 2-day festival, naming it after the current season – after all, Christmas is about love and joy and family, and Raising Legends Xmas Special was full of those, along with the top-notch music.
Sadly, I couldn’t attend the first night, where the alternative/more-rock-oriented bands played. Would have loved to witness Cristovão Siano’s (PROJECTO SEM NOME) on-stage reveries, as well as EQUALEFT-Malone debut as the new BLAME ZEUS bassist, but I had already confirmed my presence at another gig.

 photo _DSC0618 copy_zpsyhice6a3.jpgPeople here are used to underground events starting late but forgot that Hard Club is an on-time venue (especially when it has other shows taking place afterwards). Such neglect resulted in WRATH SINS being welcomed by a far smaller audience than they deserved, but their performance didn’t suffer from it – they still thrashed away like there was no tomorrow. Which is where they got most of their popularity, actually – their debut album, “Contempt Over The Stormfall”, was released late September (review on the way) but they already had a solid fan base due to their heated live shows, the aggression of Miguel’s main vocals backed up by the graver tone of bass player Ricardo’s working pretty swell. That and the medley of cartoon themes, thrash metal style, which pumped the mosh squad that night as well. Promoting the aforementioned album, the rest of the set was comprised of songs from it, like the title-track and “Watching Time Collapse”.
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www.facebook.com/Wrathsins

 photo _DSC0788 copy_zpsfll2zcce.jpgWhen TALES FOR THE UNSPOKEN got on stage, the crowd had considerably grown bigger, but it wasn’t at its full yet. The absentee’s loss – TFTU are always great live but there was something about this gig that made it better than the several others I’ve seen of them.
2015 saw the release of the band’s sophomore album, “CO2” (review here), which features EQUALEFT-Miguel Inglês – who went by “Jedi Mig” that night… – in the song “I, Claudius”. He was obviously called on stage and singer Marco Fresco told the crowd that later it would be EQUALEFT’s last show with drummer Marcos, as the band had already found a replacement named Miguel. It was a joke, of course, regarding the recent announcement of new guitarist Miguel, making him the third member in the band with the same name. The singer called it the “Miguelification process”. Fresco, the everlasting amuser.
Other recent songs included “Taken” and “Soul For A Soul” (introduced as “soul for a fucking soul”…) but also oldies, from “Alchemy”, like “Say My Name” or “N’Takuba Wena”, had a major role in this party.
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www.facebook.com/talesfortheunspoken

 photo _DSC0272 copy_zps7donk7gy.jpgGATES OF HELL’s show was highly anticipated – not just because they’d been away for a while, but also because they would finally reveal the identity of their new singer. A new song/single, “My Path”, from the band’s upcoming second album, had been made available about a week before, but the name of the singer remained a secret. We were teased to guess, but no one could, since he indeed has some name in the underground scene but for his work behind the drumkit! The new GATES OF HELL singer is no other than Diogo Márlon, the WRATH SINS drummer. And boy, can he sing! Also, if he was any nervous – I can only imagine the difference between holding the mic instead of the drumsticks – one couldn’t tell. He just belonged there – in that role, in that band. Without any kind of disregard for the previous singers, but I feel like Márlon is the best fit in GOH so far – third is the charm indeed.
“My Path” was the only new song performed, everything else came from the debut “Critical Obsession” – the title-track finishing the set – but they also played “happy birthday” to a fan named Jessica. What a great comeback!
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www.facebook.com/gatesofhellband

 photo 2904_zpsv2fqtvjy.jpgIt wasn’t Marcos last show with EQUALEFT but it was Veggy’s. We told you about the guitarist’s departure (read article here) but since he had come to visit family and friends for Christmas, he took this chance to say a proper goodbye to the fans. EQUALEFT is one of those bands that never lets you down, but given the significance and emotional level of such show, it’s impossible to put into words just how intense their performance was. And the matching response of the crowd.
Near the end of the show, for “Hymns Of Obedience” and “Invigorate”, Veggy gave place to Miguel Martins, making this also a welcome party and official introduction of “the new guy”. And while Jedi Mig was wielding his lightsabre in the last song, Veggy stagedived and crowdsurfed.
But there was still one minute and half left, and they wanted to make the best of every second; so they went back to the EP “… The Truth Vnravels” and played “Uncover The Masks” – a song that originally lasts 2:11. Not sure if they simply played it faster or improvised some tweaks – the whole night had been a bliss for me to notice – but whatever it was, it worked wonders.
Before the group pic with the fans in the back, Jedi Mig gave away cookies to the fans in the front. He gives a whole new meaning to “Come to the Dark Side – we have cookies”…
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www.facebook.com/equaleft

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

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Hills Have Eyes’ “Antebellum” release party – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 28th October 2015 by Pieni

Hills Have Eyes, Ash Is A Robot, The Year, Dimension
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
23rd October 2015
Promoted by Hell Xis Agency www.facebook.com/hellxis/

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Hills Have Eyes released their third album “Antebellum” early this month (review here) but gave their fans a couple of weeks to learn the lyrics before presenting it live in two shows – one in Porto and another in Lisboa (Oporto and Lisbon, as you like to call them).

 photo _DSC0023_zps55cl8mfw.jpgAlong with that enthusiastic crowd of 200 people, give or take (I’m terrible with numerical estimations, sorry), three other bands joined the party. First one on stage was Dimension. I’d seen them back in August, at Casainhos Fest, but this was the first time they were playing in Porto, promoting their own debut album “Life Is A Mystery”. The latter has been getting a very positive feedback and their shows are a match, but it took a little while for the crowd to engage completely in their groovy hardcore. Singer Poli himself said he wasn’t “recognizing the people of Porto” (he has played there several times before with his other band Devil In Me). He was also a little disappointed when no one seemed to know about Luaty Beirão, the Portuguese Angolan musician and activist who had been on a hunger strike after being arrested for speaking his mind (the Angolan authorities saw that as an overthrow attempt…). But after Poli enlightened them and dedicated a song to Beirão (“Times Of Grace”, if I’m not mistaken), everybody applauded. Meanwhile the mosh circles had gained strength and the overall response to Dimension had grown intense, so when they finished their set with the title-track of “Life Is A Mystery”, Poli had a big smile on his face.

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www.facebook.com/dimensionptband/

 photo _DSC0288_zpsomgsdkq8.jpgI confess The Year was a novelty to me, but many in the audience were happily singing along most of the songs, so I’m guessing they have a fair share of popularity. Deserved, for what I could see in this show – not only for the music but for the posture on stage. And the professionalism when facing sudden setbacks – Jaca’s guitar was silent for a while (I saw him fumbling with the wire, maybe it got disconnected, but I’m not sure) and the rest of the band went on playing, singer Johnny jumping around, while waiting for the problem to get solved. Improvisation is always a plus.
They’re working on a new album – two days prior to this show they even released a teaser for an upcoming video/song, “Omotenashi” – but they’ve only played “oldies” that night, like “Karma Farmer” or “Death By Media”.

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www.facebook.com/theyearofficial/

 photo _DSC0654 copy_zpshncibefg.jpgAsh Is A Robot’s exquisite sound – a kind of progressive post-hardcore, seasoned with synths – may not agree with everybody’s ear, but Hard Club’s audience that night was pretty open-minded and overjoyed with those Hills Have Eyes neighbors (Setúbal, a little south of Lisboa, is turning out a big talent breeder). And even if the music was taking a bit to sink in, singer /keyboard player Cláudio surely got the moves to catch your attention: that guy’s restless! And funny. Like when no one reacted to his mention of supporting the underground national bands and so he repeated it, slowly, with a cursing word in the end. Or when he said they were going to play a new song (don’t think he introduced the title – if he did, I missed it) and so it would be shit. Or when he asked for a wall of death as soon as “the following relaxing moment” was over – the latter being no other than Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”. Impossible to stay indifferent.
Like in their self-titled album (the follow-up it’s in the making, by the way), Dado Nunes from Ella Palmer joined on stage to sing “Philophobia Part 1”. And it’s also worth saying that Cláudio joined the mosh pit twice and, unlike last time I’ve seen them, managed to come out of it without bleeding (it seems he needed to go to the hospital after the Lisboa show the next day, though, so I wish him a full recovery soon).

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www.facebook.com/AshIsARobot/

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To the sound of a snippet of The Weeknd’s “The Hills” (yes, you’ve got it – the part where Mr. Tesfaye sings “the hills have eyes, the hills have eyes”), the party hosts got on stage and… well, singer Fábio said something about starting a fire before the last song “Strangers”, as that’s precisely its first verse, but the arson lit up right on the first moment of their show. The sound was a bit messy at first (eventually it got straightened out), but the crowd was singing along so loud –  photo _DSC0961_zps9fb6bbda.jpgmyself included – that I believe only a few of us noticed it. And no one cared. The passion HHE put in their performance makes up for any technical detail. After all, as said in the aforementioned album review, I call them “probably the best Portuguese metalcore band” – that includes the live aspect of the thing as well.
“A new phase in HHE’s life”, using Fábio’s own words, so they went through all the previous ones – even the one that included a split album with My Ocean and Last Reunion, in the form of the song “Ending The Cliché”. And because a party needs its special guests, this was the first song of the set featuring one – Ricardo “Congas”  photo _DSC0984 copy_zpsnubriidl.jpgDias, from For The Glory. Then Vasco Ramos from More Than A Thousand – a good friend and producer of the band – joined in to his usual “Anyway, It’s Gone”, and also Di Noise gave her beautiful voice to “The Bringer Of Rain”, just as she does in the studio version.
I’ve lost count of how many times we were told “thank you”, not just during the show but afterwards, on social media. But I think I speak for everyone who was there that we’re even on gratitude grounds – we all had a blast of a night. When the time comes to write an overview about 2015, “Antebellum” will be listed as number 1 in my album chart. And this gig of Hills Have Eyes will surely top the live performances.

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Full gallery here.

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Annihilator w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 13th October 2015 by Pieni

Annihilator, Harlott, Archer
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
9th October 2015
Promoted by Prime Artists www.primeartists.eu
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“Suicide Society”, Annihilator’s 15th studio album, was released on September 15th 2015. And 15 days later, the Canadian band kicked off the In The Blood European Tour in Birmingham. Maybe 15 is their lucky number.

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This tour hit only one city in Portugal – which happened to be my hometown – so a fair share of people from across the country (and I believe from the north of Spain as well) headed towards Porto that evening. The roadtrip and the fact that it was a working day might explain why the venue was roughly half full when the first band Archer got on stage. Well, their loss – the Santa Cruz, CA, heavy metal band delivered one hell of a show. It was clear that the majority of the audience didn’t know them, but if you’re attending an Annihilator show, it means you like heavy and fast stuff, right? Archer don’t play thrash, but their metal is speedy and thick enough to please the most demanding thrashers. And among songs from both their releases (“Doom$day Profit$” and “Culling The Weak”), they also offered a cover of Megadeth (“Tornado Of Souls” – because they “come from a certain part of California and felt like they should play something related to that”), where singer Dylan Rosenberg sounded exactly like Dave Mustaine did when he recorded the song back in the day.

Bassist Dave Da Silva also addressed the audience, saying that playing in Portugal had a special meaning for him, given his last name (in case you don’t know, Silva is the most common surname around here). So they not only know how to play good metal live, they also know how to bond with the crowd – which are the two goals a band must achieve on stage. Mission accomplished here.

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www.facebook.com/archernation

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Harlott were more popular – at least I noticed a handful of metalheads singing along. Their “down-under” accent made some of the words indistinguishable, but when it came down to music, the communication was flawless. Thrashing out since 2006, Harlott brought us some sharp, spirited songs from both their albums “Origin” and “Proliferation”, although they focused naturally on the latter, being their most recent release. There was also a funny song – in terms of lyric content; musically, it was straightforward, serious thrash – called “Hairy Dick” that I can’t find anywhere. So it’s either some unrecorded song, just meant for live shows, or it’s included in a certain “Pain Emblem” EP that was never officially released (thanks for the info, Metal Archives).

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www.facebook.com/HarlottOfficial

The place had been filling in and it was pretty packed by the time Annihilator got on stage. Not a sold-out venue, but still a number beautiful enough.

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Even though I liked Dave Padden very much, I must confess I’ve never understood why Jeff Waters didn’t remain on the role as a singer. I can imagine it’s more comfortable to just play guitar when on stage, but it did work out those few times in the past. And it clearly still does. The opening track was precisely “King Of The Kill”, the title-track of the first album where Waters sang lead. 21 years later, Waters just nailed it. And closer to the end, after almost one hour and a half, he still had it in him to shout those high-pitched “Alison”, from the “Alison Hell” chorus – even if he begged us to sing it for him.

Now that the vocal part is cleared… well, I don’t think the instrumental part needs any kind of introduction regarding its quality. A few songs from the new album, including the title-track, a few all-time classics, some in-between hits, a drum solo… oh, and those “food songs”, that I personally find annoying but the majority of the crowd thrills with – “Chicken and Corn” and “Kraft Dinner”.

When introducing the band, Waters made sure to tell us where the guys came from – in case the little country flags on the drunkit didn’t give away how important that was for them. So him, drummer Mike Harshaw and guitarist Aaron Homma come from Canada, and then bassist Rich Hinks, who doesn’t come from Canada but from a “little island called United Kingdom”. The look on Hinks’ face when Waters said “little” was priceless. Because metal isn’t all about anger and demons – it can be funny too.

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Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

Clan Of Xymox w/ Tracy Vandal – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 18th September 2015 by Pieni

Clan Of Xymox, Tracy Vandal
Hard Club (Sala 2), Porto (PT)
13th September 2015
Promoted by Muzik Is My Oyster

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Last Sunday, Clan Of Xymox and Tracy Vandal offered some unforgettable moments to the couple of hundred goth lovers who headed out to Hard Club that night.

 photo tracy_zpseazbkprl.jpgTracy – who made sure of letting us know that Tracy Vandal was a band, not just her, while pointing towards Pedro and Miguel – proved that not only she has a wonderful voice but also a bright sense of humor; the contrast between that and the sad, dream-like sound of her music was simply brilliant. Complaining about the high-heels and the tight dress the boys made her wear (“they don’t let me dress as a boy, they don’t understand how hard it is”) and saying she was only goth when she sang were just some of the most amusing lines. Then when she got into the middle of the crowd, to slow-dance among the delighted crowd, and the dress didn’t allow her an easy climbing back on stage, she leaned towards a young boy, clearly seeking for help. But the kid was so startled he didn’t move. When the song was over and Tracy was able to put the mike down and use both hands to get up there, she addressed the boy saying that when a fat, Scottish old woman needs help and you’re not strong enough to do it, you call a stronger guy. Obviously, everybody laughed. After consulting with Miguel – which she did all the time, actually, claiming that the boys kept the setlist a secret from her –, she announced “Explosions” as the last song.

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www.facebook.com/onthishill

 photo _DSC0362_zpsdfjwahb5.jpgThen Clan Of Xymox was everything one could expect from a dark wave / gothic rock band – seductive, emotional, gloomy here, vibrant there… At 54, Ronny Moorings can be proud of being able to cause such an effect on people with both old and new songs, after almost 35 years with this band. Although, of course, the classics had more history, brought up more memories, and were naturally welcomed with more enthusiasm. “Louise”, “A Day”, “Jasmine & Rose”, “Muscoviet Mosquito”… and yet so many others were left out. But at the same time, every single song was worth it – covers of “Venus” (Shocking Blue) and “Heroes” (David Bowie) included – the latter closing the show. There’s not much more I can say, as magic can hardly be put into words.

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www.facebook.com/clan-of-xymox

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Arch Enemy w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 24th May 2015 by Pieni

Drone, Unearth, Arch Enemy
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
22nd May 2015
Promoted by Prime Artists

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Last time Arch Enemy played in Portugal, Angela Gossow and Nick Cordle were still in the band. So more than a concert by a great band promoting their latest album, this was also a welcome party to the amazing Alissa White-Gluz and the legendary Jeff Loomis. Oh, and double birthday party, since it was the b-day of Daniel Erlandsson and someone in their crew who I didn’t get the name of (sorry!).

 photo _DSC0089_zpsb9uzq3ud.jpgGerman post-thrashers Drone were the first ones on stage, bringing to life the expression “warm-up act”. The venue was far from full yet, but the response they got from the crowd made it sound like the almost sold out gig it later turned out to be. Singer/guitarist Mutz asked for a big mosh pit in “Welcome to the Pit”, as if to illustrate its title. Even being one of the early songs, when usually people are still “getting in the mood”, the crowd circled viciously.

During the following song (“Format C”, I think), both Mutz’s mic and guitar went mute. But the rest of the band didn’t hesitate in continuing, as well as the crowd, who started screaming loud heys to compensate the la ck of vocals. Bassist Fabian and guitarist Marcelo couldn’t stop smiling, and neither could I, happy to see how a technical problem was so easily turned around. But I guess metalheads know how to show their support when a band is delivering a great show. “Theopractical”, from their 2007 debut “Head-On Collision”, closed their half-hour set with a golden key. (5/5)

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https://www.facebook.com/DroneMetal

 photo _DSC0353 copy_zpscdwtfovg.jpgA big part of the crowd had high expectations regarding Unearth and those expectations were totally met. And the Massachusetts metalcore band also seemed very pleased with the Portuguese – I couldn’t see Trevor Phipps’ face when he said how amazing both Porto and Lisbon (in the previous night) were, as the lights were extremely dim (alternated with blinding strobes) during their show, but one could sense the honesty in his words.

Officially promoting their latest “Watchers of Rule”, they didn’t focus entirely on it, performing a quite diverse setlist. But whether it was an oldie or a new song, they all fueled the crowd’s fire. In the last song, “The Great Dividers”, Trevor himself crowdsurfed over the thrilled audience. (5/5)

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https://www.facebook.com/unearthofficial

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Despite all the craziness shown during both supporting acts, there was still a lot more in store for the headliners – the security guys had their hands even fuller now. I know the opinions divided when “War Eternal” came out, not just regarding the change in vocals but also the non-change in songwriting, but I doubt anyone can point a finger when it comes to live shows. At least this one in Porto was flawless. Well, okay, Alissa could have picked up the band’s flag in front of the audience during “We Will Rise”, in a victorious pose, mimicking the video, but let’s not be picky.

 photo _DSC0588 copy_zpsgzy2bika.jpgOf course Alissa isn’t Angela. Why should she be? She has a totally defined identity that actually suits Arch Enemy – it would be senseless to lose that and become a shallow rip-off of her predecessor. Listening to old songs such “Ravenous” with this new energy was surprisingly refreshing. Angela had a dominant posture and a powerful growl, and Alissa has a vibrant attitude and a vocal pitch somewhat higher – it’s not better or worse, just different. And it works damn well live.

She also made us scream along the choruses all the time, and incited to mosh circles, and, of course, asked to sing “happy birthday” to Daniel. And this time, it wasn’t just Michael Amott who shone in “Snow Bound”Jeff Loomis delighted all the guitar-freaks in the house. And always in those uniforms of theirs, despite the sauna-heat felt in the venue.

“Fields of Desolation” finished the set, but the show was only over after the trendy selfie, with the band holding a Portugal flag that a fan offered them. Sweet! (5/5)

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https://www.facebook.com/archenemyofficial

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Finntroll w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 24th March 2015 by Pieni

Profane Omen, HateSphere, Finntroll
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
20th March 2015
Promoted by SWR Inc

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With “Nattfödd” celebrating its 10th anniversary last year, Finntroll embarked on an intense European tour where they’ve been playing the album in full. The second leg of the tour included an one-off show in Portugal that was almost a no-show – there were some problems during the trip between Madrid and Porto (“you wouldn’t believe it if I told you” were Vreth’s words), but they made it, about forty minutes later. And since half of the gigs in my country run late, we didn’t even realize how serious the situation was.

 photo _DSC0152_zpsqiqqhhvt.jpgProfane Omen stormed the stage with wide smiles on their faces. They had never played in Portugal before and that was something they’d been wanting to fix for a long time, which singer Jules Näveri told us in a perfect Brazilian-accented Portuguese! I later learned he’s married to a Brazilian lady, explaining why he is so fluent in this difficult language. But even if it was quite easy for him, it was something highly appreciated by everyone in the room and helped breaking the ice, since it was obvious that Profane Omen weren’t exactly famous among the crowd. Well, they are now. And not just because the singer could speak Portuguese (and even make funny remarks). I’m pretty sure their music and adrenaline-driven performance would eventually win the audience over. I’d heard of them before, but not the music, and for some reason I was convinced they were a death metal band. Wrong! Their sound is just as heavy but with lot of groove and a punk-rock irreverence that made my first expression – “stormed the stage” – quite literal. Around since 1999, the Lahti-based band has released four full-lengths so far and played a little bit from every one (well, almost every one – they left “Inherit The Void” out), kicking off with “Wastehead” and finishing with “Painbox”. It was my first time seeing them and hopefully not the last. And a longer setlist next time would be even better! (5/5)

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https://www.facebook.com/pages/Profane-Omen/42711203429

 photo _DSC0634_zpsjdpsfvlx.jpgNow HateSphere didn’t need any introduction to the Portuguese audience. Last time the Danish played here, in support of Hypocrisy, “Murderlust” had just been released – three days before – and we were hoping that they would return to promote it as headliners. That didn’t happen but it didn’t make the reaction of the fans less enthusiastic – some of them were there that night exclusively to see them perform.

Because of the delay, they had to cut their set shorter, beginning with “Reaper Of Life” instead of “Lies And Deceit”, as apparently was the original idea (I took a peak at the setlist, where “Lies…” was at the top, crossed all over by a black marker).  Still, as in any other HateSphere gig, they made the best of their available time, totally owning the place.

Since Trevor Strnad wasn’t there, it was the crowd that helped Esse singing “Iconoclast”, doing the same gesture of repeatedly raising the arms in the air, as it’s typical of The Black Dahlia Murder singer. “Oh, so you know the guy? Good!”, said Esse with a grin. He would also say we looked beautiful, even if he admitted he couldn’t see a thing, thanks to the smoke machine.

And speaking of helping singing… At some point, Esse turned the mic into someone in the crowd, and later he would actually pass it into someone else’s hands. Not sure if those “someones” were random as the first was Afonso Ribeiro, drummer in local band Gates Of Hell, and the second was Raça, former singer in that same band – a band who plays this cool little song called “Abusive Resolution”, where Esse did some guest vocals on its recording.

“Oceans” and “Sickness” were the two final songs, the latter entitled to the already traditional wall of death. The moshing that followed suit was even more intense than what had been until then and trust me – that says a lot. Once again we wish next time we’ll see them as headliners, like we did back in 2010, when still promoting “To The Nines”. One can always hope, right? (5/5)

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https://www.facebook.com/hatesphere666

 photo _DSC0935_zpsjo2fv883.jpgI know some people left after HateSphere, but still the room was more crowded for Finntroll than at the opening of the doors. That’s the downside of having a bill of so distinct genres – it reaches a wider range of public, more tickets are sold, but it doesn’t mean all the people will watch all the bands.

Between gigs there’s always background music playing, but this time we had… frogs. And crickets. A very nocturnal sound. I know that trolls live in swamps and “nattfödd” means “born at night”, but listening to that during the whole intermission was a bit too much. Or maybe it was my eagerness to see Finntroll after six years.

Without surprise, “Nattfödd” was performed in its entirety and then came the promotion of the latest “Blodsvept” (that’s actually two years old already – damn, time flies!) mixed with a bunch of classics. All drenched in beer and happy dancing.

Vreth was quite chatty, to which the crowd responded loud and cheerful. At some point he asked who had been at their last gig there and I was surprised that not many hands were raised. But then again, there were lots of kids at the venue, I suppose they weren’t old enough to attend a festival back in 2009… (I was there, took a few cool pics too: http://frontrowforever.net/2011/05/28/revisited-finntroll-caos-emergente-20090913/)

I believe it was after “Jaktens Tid” that they left the stage and the damn frogs echoed again until Finntroll returned for the encore. But by this time I was too pleased to be bothered by the croaking – these trolls don’t belong in the forest but definitely on stage. (5/5)

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https://www.facebook.com/officialfinntroll

Photos & text by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Amon Amarth w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 13th February 2015 by Pieni

Savage Messiah, Huntress, Amon Amarth
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
11th February 2015
Promoted by Prime Artits

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Amon Amarth are very dear in my country, but it still positively surprised me that the show in Lisbon sold out a couple of weeks before the event. It didn’t sell out in Porto but it was close enough. And considering that both venues hold 1.000 people each, we’re talking about almost 2.000 metalheads “deceiving the gods” in this little corner of Europe. Not bad, huh?

 photo _DSC0110_zpsv9f8aanv.jpgEven though they could have pulled that off totally on their own, they obviously didn’t, bringing along two other bands. First one was Savage Messiah, who were playing in Porto for the first time. I don’t know how popular they were around here, but Portugal has a fair share of thrashers. And since Savage Messiah were formed in 2007 and last year were awarded as part of the Music Export Growth Scheme by the British Government, I’m pretty sure that many had at least heard of them. Still I didn’t notice the lyrics being sung along, hence my doubt. But I did listen to how loud they screamed their “Hey! Hey!” and how high they raised their fists, so if they didn’t know them before, they certainly do now, and in a very good way. Really a shame that they’ve played for such a short time – so short that photographers were rushed out of the photopit after just two songs instead of the usual three, as three would have literally meant half of the show. So it’s understandable that they’ve only played songs from their latest album, “The Fateful Dark”, even though they have two more in their baggage. The half-an-hour setlist included the opener “Iconocaust”, the “inspired by Satan” song “Hellblazer”, the title-track and “Minority Of One”, which was the last one. (5 / 5)

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https://www.facebook.com/SavageMessiahMetal

 photo _DSC0343_zpsblrxhhrr.jpgI wasn’t so stoked about Huntress and remained that way when the show was over. No, wait, I was stoked at the end BECAUSE it was over. At the time of their debut album, I wrote a review for another webzine and rated it 4/10. I’m looking at it right now and the first paragraph reads: « Huntress is a Californian heavy metal band highly overrated. Napalm Records took them in as “the undisputed newcomer of 2012” and I’m still wondering why. But then again, heavy metal always works on stage, and if you have a hot blonde with a very exposed cleavage screaming her lungs out, well, that surely calls a lot of attention. My question is – in the end of the show, do you remember any song? Did any solo, chorus or even a simple riff stick to your brain? Probably not. At least that’s what happened to me after listening to their debut “Spell Eater”. » What would you know? I was so right! Except for “I Want To Fuck You To Death”, that is, as the chorus is not just explicit but really catchy. But then again, as Jill Janus was so happy to inform, the song was co-written by Lemmy from Motörhead – so maybe the reason why it sounds distinctive.
Anyway, Jill was very energetic (as an aerobics instructor, as a friend would point out) but sadly her high pitch was far from steady. And the long screams were supported by the microphone effects. Then the guitar-hero poses of both guitarists were way too much for my personal taste. Mine and about a dozen friends who I’ve exchanged ideas with afterwards. But I guess we were a minority as the crowd gave a fiery response to Huntress (“We’re from California and we smoke a lot of weed”). So I can’t say that it was a bad concert, just that I didn’t like it.
Jill said “obrigada”, very pleased with herself by knowing the difference between “obrigada” and “obrigado” (it’s a gender thing – as a woman, she had to say the first, the latter is for men). She failed later, however, when she dedicated a song (“Zenith”, I think) to the girls, whom she called “muchachas”. That’s Spanish, Jill. But the crowd was hyped, and a crowdsurfing girl was praised by the singer: “that’s right, sister!”.
A new song, “Flesh”, was also introduced, and the set ended when “it was time to call the witches”“Eight Of Swords”. They left the stage with Jill saying “stay high”. Quite the advice… (3,5 / 5)

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www.facebook.com/HuntressKills

 photo _DSC0497_zpsvsxejzdr.jpgWe always associate Iron Maiden’s “Run To The Hills” to Indians and cowboys because of the music video. But if we look into the lyrics – “one man came across the sea…” – it could be any invader. So given the Vikings’ history, it was only suitable that this song served as intro for Amon Amarth.
Whatever I say about this show, it won’t do it any justice – regarding both the band and the crowd. It was the fifth time I was seeing these Swedes and I’ll make sure it wasn’t the last – they’re THAT kind of band. Right on the first song, “Father Of The Wolf”, I felt a boot on my head, as the crowdsurfers got into action practically in sync with the first riff.
It also didn’t take long for Johan Hegg to say good evening and welcome us to their party – in perfect Portuguese! Trust me, it’s not easy to catch our accent. That he took the time to practice meant a lot to everyone in that room. photo _DSC0458_zpsqxdwuax7.jpg
For one hour and a half, the frenzy only slowed down when Hegg introduced the songs, drank to us from his horn, and the few moments that followed “Victorious March”, marking the encore. Notice that I said “slowed down”, not “quieted”, because the crowd kept screaming and applauding, such was the frenzy. And even despite the heat, that spiked to sauna-levels.
The aforementioned encore started with the sound of thunder, the lights still dim. Then the band returned, with Hegg holding a Mjölnir in the air. Then he hammered the ground with it, Thor-like, before starting to sing “Twilight Of The Thunder God”. In the end he said it had been the last song, getting a desolated roar as response. To get one more, we had to scream our lungs out loud enough. I think it was the first time I saw a singer satisfied with our loudness on the first take. “Of course we have one more song for you!”, Hegg said, asking bassist Ted Lundström to take the lead. As expected, “The Pursuit Of Vikings” echoed, and in the last chorus, Hegg wasn’t as easily pleased with our vocal performance, pushing us further… and achieving his goal, of course.
The whole band had a smile of their faces when they left the stage, with Hegg claiming we were “fantastic” and promising to come back. The next day, they posted a thank-you little video, with the caption “Oporto should now be called Oparty”. For this kind of pun, I didn’t mind the stupid “O” that, for some reason, the English language added to the original name of my hometown. (5 / 5)

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www.facebook.com/OfficialAmonAmarth

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Letz Zep – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 7th February 2015 by Pieni

Letz Zep
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
6th February 2015
Promoter: Clap/-Box

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It’s not always bad to get “the second best”. In this case, it was amazing to get a tribute/cover band instead of the original. And don’t think that the fact that Led Zeppelin are retired, leaving you no other option than cover bands, takes away any credit from Letz Zep.
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When they started the show at 10 pm with “Rock And Roll”, the crowd wasn’t yet totally “at it” – such a classic as this, I would expect the whole room (which was full, by the way) to sing along at the top of their lungs. Maybe they were caught off guard, because when I looked up for information on Letz Zep, I saw that “Rock And Roll” is usually saved for the encore. Whatever the case, it served to warm people up, as from that song on, they quickly fell in pace with the band and that collective voices I was hoping for was a constant until the end.

I keep reading articles mentioning Billy Kulke’s physical resemblance to Robert Plant himself, but they fail to mention his mannerism on stage. The way he moves, the way he gestures his hands, including placing them in his hips. And he does it so naturally that you don’t feel like he’s mimicking Plant. Not to mention the voice, of course. Not just the pitch but the strength, the endurance. Especially when Kulke is not exactly a kid. It was a good ten minutes past midnight when they played the last song, meaning they’d been up there for more than two hours, and still the “aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh” of “Immigrant Sont” came out sharp and steady.

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Also drummer Peter Tulloch (Simon Jeffrey was unavailable for this tour) played such a solo that would turn many 20-year-olds green with envy. It was his first time in Portugal and apparently he was in love with my country. Kulke himself mentioned how good the food and wine were, how warm the people… and how pretty the girls. And how they could dance, added Tulloch. That was because of this girl, Catarina, who had been unstoppable since the beginning. During one song, that I can’t quite remember which, Kulke even held her hand. It was also her who asked for “Black Dog” at some point, to which Kulke asked “is that time already?”. No, it was way too soon, since they played that one together with “Whole Lotta Love” in the end, before the encore. They did play “Thank You” when she asked for it, with the singer saying he couldn’t say no to a pretty face, but I’m sure they would play it anyway – in that moment or later.

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Andy Gray’s guitar playing was flawless, his flashy jacket and pants completing the whole JimmyPage-aura. And Shaun Herd“as talented as he is handsome” – was just as perfect behind the bass, the keyboards and a couple more string-instruments (one that looked like an upright bass and another like a mandolin, but not quite, for the country-ish “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”).

There were a few technical problems that we didn’t notice – not just because it was regarding the equipment they use to hear themselves (Kulke couldn’t hear his own voice at some point, Gray had trouble listening to his guitar, the lower keys of Herd’s keyboard were inaudible to him) but because despite all that, they’ve never missed a note.

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I’m usually skeptic when I’m told something is the best. With Letz Zep, however, I have no problem believing that they are indeed the number one tribute band to Led Zeppelin. A big thank you to promoters Clap/-Box for bringing them here and providing such a magical night. (5/5)

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www.letzzep.com

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

More Than A Thousand w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 8th December 2014 by Pieni

More Than A Thousand, Devil In Me, Hills Have Eyes, Kandia
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
6th December 2014

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Last Saturday, Hard Club welcomed what is probably the best metalcore band in the country and their special guests, who are also high in the ranks of popularity around here. The result? An unforgettable, explosive night!

 photo _DSC0028_zpsf3c3054b.jpgFirst band on stage was Kandia, the “only local band”, as singer Nya would remark. She would also motivate the crowd by saying something like “let’s show these bands from the south that Porto knows how to rock”. Having just 20 minutes to play (“but sometimes quickies are good too, right?”, she teased), and also to give something different to the fans who have been seeing their recent shows, they’ve replaced “Caution + New Breed” with “Noise + All Is Gone” as the kick-off of the gig. The crowd was very responsive to Kandia, which was really good to see, since the other three bands were much more aggressive and I wasn’t sure how their fans would react to Kandia’s alternative rock.
As I said before, when reviewing their concert at Vagos Open Air, even though all musicians put their heart and soul in the performance, it’s Nya who gets the ultimate prize in stage attitude, enhancing the energy and emotion of the songs – the last one of their short but enthralling set being “Karma”. (5 / 5)

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www.facebook.com/Kandiamusic

 photo _DSC0095_zps1558035b.jpgHills Have Eyes took some time to get on stage as there was some problem with the sound. People were getting impatient and eventually the show started, even if the tech wasn’t 100% satisfied with the sound. But the crowd clearly didn’t care – when a band puts up a show like Hills Have Eyes does, imperfect sound is a minor detail. Such an adrenaline discharge! At some point singer Fábio Batista asked who was seeing Hills Have Eyes for the first time and a bunch of arms were raised. But that didn’t mean they’d never heard of them before, ‘cause the choir of voices singing along the songs was way too loud. And those who weren’t singing, were vigorously headbanging or moshing – Hills Have Eyes are definitely loved and everybody wanted to shake Fábio‘s hand when he jumped in the pit and greeted the fans.
When you don’t have too much time to play, it’s only natural that you focus on your latest work and neglect the older stuff. That’s what Hills Have Eyes did (as much as I’d have loved to listen to “Daydreaming Isn’t So Good After All”, for instance)– the set was almost entirely focused on “Strangers”, the “almost” meaning a new song called “Bringer Of Rain”. Since “Strangers” was released in 2012, it’s about time its follow-up starts getting shape!
Just like the studio version, Vasco Ramos from More Than A Thousand joined Fábio on stage to sing “Anyway, It’s Gone”, and then the title-track of “Strangers” closed a gig that lasted a bit longer than Kandia’s but still not long enough. Hills Have Eyes have just been added to my bands-to-see-as-headliners list. (5 / 5)

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www.facebook.com/hillshaveeyes

 photo _DSC0482_zps4ee3ba12.jpgDevil In Me was the only band I didn’t know, even though, apparently, they’re quite big. But then again, hardcore isn’t really my area of expertise… Their light show was poor, so I could barely see the guys. Singer Poli paced around like a wild animal in a cage, guitarist Matos stretched his legs in high jumps… I guess that even if the lights were clearer, I’d still have trouble seeing more than blurs of movement. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but I can’t find another way to pass through the idea of the blitz that was going on up there. And down there too, as the mosh and crowdsurfing was soon matching the aggression of the sound.
Three albums out, the fourth, “Soul Rebel”, is on its way. So among songs like “Only God Can Judge Me” and “The End”, we got to hear the title-track of that upcoming record and even sing along the chorus, as singer Poli made us scream “like a lion” in response to his “soul rebel”. The crowd roared like lions indeed.
There’s no hardcore band who doesn’t point a finger to the joke that’s our political and economic situation, but among that Poli said something else, something more positive – “when you’re at home, listening to music, listen to it with open ears, ‘cause music is much more than clothes and appearance, it sends a message”. Nice! (5 / 5)

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www.facebook.com/devilinmeband

 photo _DSC0573a_zps8488e600.jpgI won’t say that there were “more than a thousand” people watching the show not just because it would be a tacky pun but also because it wouldn’t be accurate – one thousand is precisely the capacity of Hard Club and there was still room to breathe. But barely! And since they’d played at that very venue, for the same number (give or take) of people, just nine months before, that says A LOT about More Than A Thousand. And if we used emoticons here on Valkyrian, here’s where I’d put a heart.
The setlist was pretty similar to that one of March (and this is a mere statement, not at all a complaint), replacing “Lost At Home” for “Cross My Heart”, and “Black Hearts” and “Make Friends And Enemies” for an “old school 5-track medley” – something Vasco claimed that they’d never done before.
And the order of the other songs was changed, like opening with “Feed The Caskets” (my personal favorite) or “We Wrote A Song About You” being played more or less in the middle of the show. For this one, like in March, and in so many others whenever Fábio is available, the singer of Hills Have Eyes joined in. The two bands have been close friends for a long while, and one can tell by the way Vasco and Fábio insult each other – “but we like each other very much. It’s something gay”, said Vasco.
Unchanged were “Midnight Calls” and “In Loving Memory (Life Flashes)”, when Vasco stood alone on stage, playing the guitar himself. And the mandatory “No Bad Blood” closing it up with golden key – hearing the whole room singing “this is who we are, tonight we’ll stay together” is especially flesh-crawling. (5 / 5)

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www.facebook.com/morethanathousand

Vasco thanked the other bands and everybody who got out of the house to support Portuguese bands, but he forgot someone: the ONLY security guy who did a hell of a job handing the moshers and crowdsurfers all by himself. I tip my hat to you, Joel!

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Freedom Call w/ support – Porto, PT

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 14th April 2014 by Pieni

Freedom Call, DragonhammeR, Head:Stoned
Hard Club, Porto
Thursday, 3rd April 2014

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With the release of their 8th studio album, “Beyond”, Freedom Call embarked on a mandatory European tour (read here). The only Portuguese date took place at Hard Club, Porto, courtesy of SWR Inc., to whom I’d also like to thank for the press/photo pass.

As Head:Stoned are halfway between heavy metal and prog, I was a bit surprise to see them supporting two power metal acts, but it worked out pretty well after all – the “happy metal partyers” surrendered to the band’s juicy heaviness and lively performance, headbanging enthusiastically and greeting and asking for guitar picks in the end of the gig.
Their most recent release is already from January 2013 (the six-track EP “Present Inexistence”), so there was no need to promote it anymore – especially being a local band that plays in the area quite often – and therefore the setlist was balanced between all their discography (another EP – “Within The Dark” – and a full-length – “I Am All”). “This Void” is clearly their biggest hit so it was the obvious choice to close their half-an-hour gig. (4,5 / 5)

www.facebook.com/HeadStoned.band

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Italian DragonhammeR came next and, unlike me, many knew them well enough. “The X Experiment” was released last December (after a studio break that lasted almost ten years), so they focused a little bit more on that one. But being their first time in Portugal, and having just a 45-minute slot, give or take, they still played three songs from the previous “Time For Expiation” and one – “Dragon Hammer” – from the debut “The Blood Of The Dragon”. They were somewhat somber, only drummer Andrea Gianangeli – the most recent member in the band – matching the vibrant rhythm of their power prog (more power than prog, I must add). But they were smiling in the end – and they had reasons to, given the warm welcome bidden by the crowd – so the serious look on stage was probably just concentration.
The drums in “Seek In The Ice”, the guitar chords of “Believe”, the chorus (sung-along by the audience) of “The X Experiment” and singer/guitarist Max Aguzzi introducing the band before the last song (“Last Solution”) are some of the moments I best recall of the gig. (3,5 / 5)

www.facebook.com/dragonhammer.official

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I was sick in 2001, when Freedom Call first and last played in Portugal, as a support act for Hammerfall. Back then I was really pissed for missing it, as I liked power metal a lot more than I do now – or actually, “as I liked power metal”. Period. Having enjoyed this gig so much in the present day was really a surprise. I guess it means that Freedom Call are THAT good.
Another surprise was seeing so many people. And the high number of Freedom Call t-shirts, especially on young bodies – I had no idea they were so popular around here, let alone among youngsters. It’s nice to know that not every teen follows “what’s in”, as power metal isn’t exactly the latest metal-fashion.
It wasn’t just the excellency of the performance in technical terms or the setlist – a 90-minute headlining show of a band that’s been around for more than 15 years and has 8 studio albums in its baggage is always a treat – but the good spirits of frontman Chris Bay as well. He tried to say some words in Portuguese but apart from “obrigado” (thank you) he failed totally. So he just smiled and said they had to come back more often, so he could learn. Later he said he was happy to see us there on a soccer night (the major local team had a match which was being broadcasted on TV), that we were looking good. And after asking us to raise our fists in the air, he added that we didn’t only look good, we smelled good too. Also, he asked for our help in “Beyond”, asked us to give them the rhythm by clapping our hands, as he had a tendency to go fast – and addressing the women he would then say that he wasn’t talking about sex.
I appreciated that Chris sat behind the keyboards for “The Quest” instead of using recorded samples. And that he asked for an applause not only for the support bands but also for their sound tech and even Hard Club’s own light tech, who he was sorry for not remembering the name but was thankful for the great job he did (yeah, I just wish he did the same at every gig…).
Chris told us that when they began writing the new album, they wanted to keep the word “warrior” out of it, shrugging his shoulders and almost rolling his eyes, because they were the “Warriors Of Light” after all so that word was a must-have. The setlist itself had three songs with it – that same “Warriors Of Light”, “Heart Of A Warrior” and “Warriors” (the latter already in the 3-song encore, along with “Paladin” and “Land Of Light”). And when introducing the band, he asked who had been at the 2001 gig, “on the other side of the river” (the original location of Hard Club), as bass player Ilker Ersin had played that show, then left in 2005 and was now back in what Chris claims to be “the best Freedom Call line-up”.
In the final thanks he mentioned again the soccer night, and the fact that was Thursday and so late. I was one of the many who had to go to work the morning after so leaving Hard Club at 1:45 am wasn’t ideal at all. But hell, was it worth it! (5 / 5)

www.facebook.com/FreedomCallOfficial

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Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino