Archive for Heavenwood

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

DSC_0760 copy

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”.

DSC_0188 copy

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/

DSC_0482 copy

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.

DSC_0078 copy

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

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Advertisements

Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão 2017 – metal day

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

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

amorphislaurus

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

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

SKINNINGLAURUS

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

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

invernolaurus

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

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

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

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

URBANWARLAURUS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Text & photos by:

PRESS

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.

 photo DSC_0371 copy_zpsrh02pci9.jpg

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.

 photo DSC_0007 copy_zpsatlduytq.jpg

www.facebook.com/chansonnoire

 photo DSC_0357_zpsr2v3xeqj.jpg

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.

 photo DSC_0535 copy_zpsqaqrcfb6.jpg

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.

 photo DSC_0084 copy_zpsdx3c6s3v.jpg

www.facebook.com/HeavenwoodOfficial

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

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

 photo _DSC0109 copy_zpsgokxjsan.jpg

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.

 photo _DSC0176 copy_zps4umps3ze.jpg

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.

 photo _DSC0099 copy_zpsmxmqixqq.jpg

www.facebook.com/gatesofhellband

 photo _DSC0428 copy_zpsccparl82.jpg

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”.

 photo _DSC0418 copy_zps8lac1qko.jpg
www.facebook.com/BlameZeus
 photo _DSC0787 copy_zpsuv8gpxrl.jpg

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.

 photo _DSC0609 copy_zps7sm2jfou.jpg

www.facebook.com/thetempleband

 photo _DSC0048 copy_zps7ord5ulx.jpg

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.

 photo _DSC0320 copy_zps5dbkxhm7.jpg

www.facebook.com/HeavenwoodOfficial

 photo press_zpse3inili0.jpg

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Heavenwood – The Tarot Of The Bohemians

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 6th March 2016 by Pieni

Heavenwood
“The Tarot Of The Bohemians – Part 1”
Gothic metal
Released: 22nd February 2016
Via Raising Legends Records

 photo tarotbohemians_zpsn82wl87l.jpg

For the first time, Heavenwood venture into the land of conceptual albums. That’s not, however, what makes “The Tarot Of The Bohemians – Part 1” their boldest record so far. Heavenwood is one of those bands that manages to reinvent themselves with each release but keep their essence intact, and this time frontman Ricardo Dias enhanced every treat and entwined them with orchestral arrangements, in an exuberant outcome.

Ricardo has always taken care of the clean vocals, but the role of his strong pitch is now as leading as Ernesto Guerra’s growls’. Such balance between them bears a refreshing dynamic. And while featuring female guests is nothing new to them, one song – “The Hanged Man” – solely sung by Blame Zeus-Sandra Oliveira (well, almost solely – there are a few male backing vocals) was quite a surprise. Her deep, firm voice couldn’t fit better in such fused melody.

Speaking of melodies, these are overall heavier. The guitars are somewhat more elaborate – hence the lengthy tracks – and a tad less somber. Still within what can be considered as “gothic metal”, but there’s such a vibrancy to the more melodic parts and such a rage to the most aggressive ones that once again the adjective “bold” comes to mind.

It was the previous record that featured “masterpiece” in its title, but it’s “The Tarot Of The Bohemians” that’s living up to that name.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino