Archive for heavy

R.A.M.P. w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 17th June 2022 by Pieni

R.A.M.P., Equaleft, Blame Zeus
Hard Club (Sala 2), Porto (PT)
10th June 2022
Promoted by Notredame Productions

RAMP22A

The name R.A.M.P. may not mean much (or anything at all) to you, but ask any Portuguese metalhead about them and you’ll realize they’re quite a legend in their home country. So when they release a new album – especially since it’s been 13 (?!) years since the last one -, crisis or not, you can count with an almost sold out venue.

It wasn’t really full when Blame Zeus got on stage though. Despite being a national holiday and I’m-running-late-because-I’m-working not being a valid excuse, people have this weird tendency of skipping the opening act..

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First thing I’ve noticed was the absence of bassist Bruno Branco, and I feared that another line-up change was on the way, but no – right after the first song “How To Successfully Implode”, Sandra Oliveira explained he “just” had tested positive for COVID (yes, kids, it is still a thing) the night before, giving them no time to find a suitable replacement. So backtracks and guitarist Tiago Lascasas swapping instruments on a couple of songs did the trick.

As they didn’t have long, they went with a classy selection mostly focused on their latest work ”Seethe”. Sandra first mentioned it as “new” but admitted right away that it didn’t make sense to call it such, as it had been released in late 2019 already; it just felt like that since the pandemic didn’t allow them to promote it properly.

R.A.M.P.-Rui Duarte is featured in the studio version of “Down To Our Bones”, so I knew who and which song would follow when Sandra announced a “very special guest”. I won’t say it was the highlight of the show, as it would wrongly take away Blame Zeus’ own merit, but it was indeed special.  “Burning Fields” ended a heavy-rock-prog performance that, even as a 4-piece, they delivered distinctively.

https://www.facebook.com/BlameZeus

equaleft22When Equaleft got on stage the place was already packed. After their concert in November 2021, they were supposed to stay off the road and work on the successor to “We Defy”, but this is already their second show (and more are to follow) without any news of the 3rd full length album; I guess the “call of the live” is just too strong to these groovers, and given the response they get every time, I can say we all love them for that. Even if it’s been quite a while since they’ve played “Invigorate”, with singer Miguel Inglês commanding the mosh circles with a Star Wars lightsaber (got the hint, lads?). Now that command is done more directly, with him and bassist André Matos jumping into the crowd and moshing around with them.

From the opening “Fragments” to the closing “Strive”, going through “Human” or “We Defy”, the frenzy on and off stage was everlasting. And it went on a bit after the last chord, as everyone struggled to reach forward and get one of the cookies that Miguel gives at the end of each Equaleft show.

https://www.facebook.com/equaleft

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It was then time to get to know how “Insidiously” sounded live. Released on April 1st via Rastilho Records, it’s no fool’s treat, believe me.The show began just like the record, with “Catatonic”, but it wasn’t a played-in-full kind of presentation; they just picked the songs which would work better on stage and mixed them with classics such as “How” or “Black Tie”. Of course these were the ones who almost made Hard Club come tumbling down with our roaring-along, but most of us also sang the newest. Hell, there was a guy next to me who knew all the lyrics better than Rui Duarte himself!

There were also all kinds of dedications – songs dedicated to those who don’t “follow the herd”, songs dedicated to those who have been betrayed, songs dedicated to those who keep on giving their best… I thought it was really funny dedicating“Alone” – probably their most sentimental ballad – to their “pals in the festival Um Metaleiro Também Chora” (which is Portuguese for “metalheads cry too”, and yes, such festival does exist), but even though I can’t remember which one it was (like I said, too many dedications…), what touched me the most was the one to Nando, former singer of another legend – currently extinct – W.C. Noise, who was there enjoying the show like there was no tomorrow. What can I say? I’m a sucker for these old school bonds.

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After the very last “Try Again” (featured in a 3-song encore), Rui introduced the band, leaving guitarist and founding member Ricardo Mendonça (“a man who needs no introduction”) for last – and I swear I saw his eyes watering with grateful happiness. Rui thanked us for these 34 years of full support and that even being far apart (well, nowadays 300km isn’t really that far, but “back in the day” it was), Porto was always in their hearts. Who cares if it sounds like a cliché when we know it’s true and feel exactly the same way?

https://www.facebook.com/rampoficial

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Volbeat – Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 22nd May 2016 by Mickelrath

Volbeat
Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie
Heavy metal, Hard Rock

Released: 3 June 2016
Via Universal Music Group

Volbeat are one of those bands that just have it.  I couldn’t tell you for the life of me what ‘it’ is, but they definitely have it.  Over the years they have put out splendid record after bombastic hit. Once again I think they’ve done it again, well they have for me at least. Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie, is their 6th studio album and it’s more of what have done over the years, it has a big sound, a lot of emotional power and the songs are catchy and anthemic.  It is also the first album not to feature bassist, Anders Kjølholm who left in November 2015.

This album has a lot to enjoy about it.  From the big sounding production to the consistent and commanding song structure.  All designed to be lodged in your head and to sing at the top of your lungs at live shows. Michael Poulsen’s vocals are crystal clear and have a lot of emotional weight to throw around and it’s matched by his own superb guitar work with Rob Caggiano’s blinding guitar skill as well. Everything on this album sounds big and expansive, it makes me want to track down all of the lyrics and sing them loud as I’m sure you will  too. The pure emotion on the album is wonderful as every song has weight and they’re not just throw away rock songs to get as many people in a concert venue.  The songs are quite frankly beautiful.  Especially songs like For Eveigt (featuring Johan Olsen from Magtens), Mary Jane Kelly & Goodbye Forever.  For Eveigt has this sweetness to it and the addition of Johan’s vocals only serves to add to the power of the song.  Whilst Mary Jane Kelly & Goodby Forever have the aura of real honesty and the anthemic choruses are genuinely fun to sing along to.  By the way the gospel choir on Goodbye Forever nearly brought me to tears, it’s not a sad song, but it just was done so well that it got me emotional.

Then you get to the other thing that Volbeat do exceptional well. Kicking you in the arse with hard rock awesomeness (side note: is it strange my spellchecker recognised that word?).  Oh well,  songs like the album’s lead in single The Devil’s Bleeding Crown and Seal The Deal are sure to keep old school rock fans satisfied. With Caggiano’s signature guitar stings and sweeping solos mixed with the incredible riffs that keep you pumped for hours.  Volbeat really have made something amazing here.  Mixing all rock styles, from hard rock to metal to blues to ballads.  There’s seemingly no style that they can’t take and make their own.  This is a definite must for anyone in 2016.

5/5

Mick Birchall

Incantation – Vanquish in Vengeance

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 27th October 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

Incantation
Vanquish in Vengeance
Released: 26th November 2012
Death metal
Released via Listenable Records

Being around for more than 20 years, Incantation has proven that they can still create death metal that’s original, fresh, and heavy. Their newest album Vanquish in Vengeance goes beyond that expected heaviness but rather has more of a doomy feeling to it making this album seem a little more personal than their previous ones. It’ll definitely keep you headbanging the whole time, whether fast or slow.

The album starts off with Invoke Infinity, and it hits you right away without any kind of buildup. It instantly made me want to windmill in my chair with its memorable riffs and intense drum patterns. This song, as well as a majority of the songs on the album, follows this kind of a style. I was very pleasantly surprised how consistent and varied the songs were on this album and because of that, it was easier to really enjoy the album.

The only fault I have with this album is that a couple songs, Profound Loathing and Legion of Dis, seemed to be dragged out longer than they should be. While the musical composition of both songs was astounding, both songs could have easily taken a good 2-3 minutes out and still would have sounded great. Lengthening the songs is a good concept if there is some kind of buildup involved, but both of these songs lacked any kind of buildup which made it harder to listen to.

Other than that, this album was simply amazing. Even after all this time, Incantation can still crank out quality albums that are extraordinary in sound and musicianship. I definitely recommend this to any old and new school death metal fans, you will not be disappointed!

4.8/5

Hammer Smashed Lauren

Candlemass – Psalms for the Dead

Posted in Review with tags , , on 29th September 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

Candlemass

Psalms for the Dead

Released 8 June 2012

Doom Metal

Released via Napalm Records

Being the epitome of doom metal for more than 25 years, Candlemass has once again proven that they are in fact the masters of doom with their new album Psalms of the Dead. Every song on this album is haunting, captivating, and memorable and is written exactly like doom metal should be written. Although it is sad that they are no longer producing albums, they definitely left their mark with this one.

I initially only heard a couple of songs from this album, “Black as Time” and “Psalms of the Dead”, before I actually gave the entire album an entire listen. Right from Black as Time, I knew this album would be amazing. The intro to the song is of a clock ticking followed by a bit of a rant about how time is black and pretty much an enemy. The song then goes right into the familiar Candlemass sound of spine-chilling riffs and commanding vocals. This song gave me goosebumps the first few times I heard it from its shear awesomeness, and while Messiah was my personal favorite vocalist, I give Robert Lowe a lot of credit for really making the songs sound powerful.

Psalms of the Dead was also catchy in its riffs and memorable chorus, which I pretty much knew after listening to the song a few times. Being one of the slower tracks on this album, it still had that heavy doom sound that made it easy to headbang to or to even just sing while you are in the shower. Robert Lowe’s vocals were most impressive in this song and he definitely won over my respect for being the new vocalist. I then gave the rest of the album a listen and didn’t think that every single song would match up to the previous two songs that I already have listened to. However, I was more than pleasantly surprised that the rest of the songs were just as amazing/if not better than I thought it was going to be. This album has something that a lot of albums do not have: every song is in some way memorable or catchy in its production.

Usually, I give some kind of criticism when it comes to reviews, but I can honestly say that I can’t find anything to criticize about this album. The production and quality of Psalms of the Dead are phenomenal the whole way through and each song is charismatic in its delivery and message. From what I have seen, many older death metal bands try and change up their sound to make the band grow and to further improve their musicianship. However, Candlemass is an exception to this. While they are growing in their musicianship, they still have that same doom metal sound that they originally had since the band formed many years ago. I highly recommend this album to anyone and everyone who loves metal, no matter what kind you may listen to. It’s haunting, heavy, and will be forever black.

5/5

Hammer Smashed Lauren

Amon Amarth w/Support @ Vicor Street, Dublin

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 23rd March 2012 by colmcasserly

Bands: Amon Amarth, Grand Magus, In Solitude
Location: Vicar Street

Date:  15th April 2012

Epic night of metal right here and my first assignment for Valkyrian Music so I was very excited about this! The night was  not just anticipated by me but the entire Dublin metal scene as it was Amon Amarth’s first time to bring their stage show with them. I had never heard Grand Magus or In Solitude before the night and I was very surprised by both bands they both had some seriously good tunes and they put on a great show. It was the second night of the tour and the bands seemed very confident on stage as the first date jitters had worn off it seems.

In Solitude were the opening act and they really played a blinder, they’re blend of black and old school metal was really interesting and they set the stage for a really good night. They could come off a little cheesy at times though and the vocals were far too low in the mix and that is one of their selling points I feel cause the style of vocals are very alluring. Also, what was with the dead fox? But quality songs and great stage presence combined made for an awesome set!

Grand Magus were on next and they’re something else! Soaring, powerful vocals with epic sounding songs without even a hint of power metal except some song titles, “Hammer of The North” for one, just good old Heavy Metal! They started a little shakey but pulled it together very quickly and delivered a very entertaining set and they truly looked like they were having the time of their lives! They did get a little samey over the course of the set though.

And the headliners, Amon Amarth, they have made quite a name for themselves over the years so we all really knew what to expect from them. They played the best part of an hour and a half which consisted of old faithfuls (The Pursuit of Vikings) and some newer tracks (Death In Fire) but they never relented and even the slower tunes never dropped the intensity. Any issues with the levels or sound were gone now and it was now crystal clear. I don’t think they made one mistake all night, and it being very close to St Patrick’s day in Dublin any crowd interaction went down really well. They had their stage complete with glowing ruins and the drum riser was massive and they had some pretty epic set pieces on it. A lot of Amon Amarth songs recently have guest guitarists playing solos and here is what annoyed me, they can’t do them live. They give them their best shot but never seem to pull them off convincingly. Other than that minor problem they really gave a 110% and it looked like they really had a blast. Epic gig, epic bands great night!