Archive for Portugal festival

Vagos Open Air 2014 – 2nd day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 21st August 2014 by Pieni

Opeth, Annihilator, Behemoth, The Haunted, Angelus Apatrida, Requiem Laus
Quinta do Ega, Vagos (PT)
9th August 2014

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Author António Parada wrote a thriller full of heavy metal connotations called “A Guardiã” (the guardian), so he thought Vagos Open Air was suitable for a presentation. I confess I totally forgot about it, so I didn’t arrive to Quinta do Ega in time of watching it. I doubt there will be an English version of it anyway, but if it happens, I’ll let you know.

Despite the 1-day tickets for Saturday being sold out and their much longer career – 16 years longer, to be exact –, Requiem Laus didn’t have a crowd as big as Gates Of Hell had had the previous day. Singer Miguel said this was their return to the stages, after two years and a half (personally, I hadn’t seen them in 7), so maybe that’s why their sound seemed so alien to the majority of the crowd. Plus they’re somewhat… introvert. Good musicians, with great death-blackish songs such as “Reflection Of God” or “Impulse”, which they performed there, but they enjoy the music on their own, not reaching out to the crowd much. So sadly they didn’t get an effusive response to their gig. (3/5)

Requiem Laus official Facebook

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Angelus Apatrida, on the other hand, unleashed hell – kicking off with “Violent Dawn”, violent is the right word to describe the circles. The Spanish thrash metal act has a solid fan base here, but even if they didn’t, the moshers would have quickly surrendered. Guitarist David G. Álvarez suffered a motorcycle accident back in March and his right leg is still on a cast. But even sitting down on a chair, he moved his upper body like there was no tomorrow. Those guys know how to be on stage and a broken leg doesn’t change that.
Among the short occasions Guillermo Izquierdo addressed the crowd – they had little time to play, so he didn’t want to waste it with talking – he mentioned they were once again recording at Switchtense’s studio (Ultrasound Studios). That meant a lot to the people, not only because it implied a new album, but also because it’s a Portuguese studio. (5/5)

Angelus Apatrida official Facebook

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Not sure when The Haunted had played here last, but it’d been quite a while. To say the crowd was eager for this gig is an understatement. And while you can never read Jonas Björler’s expression, Marco Aro’s was one of true happiness throughout the whole show, so I guess at least he was just as elated as the people watching them. Hell, he was so enthusiastic that he hit the mic against his forehead a few times until it bled, and didn’t attend to the wound until he was off stage! Anyway, whatever the others were feeling, they put everything they’ve got into the performance and all expectations were met. From “99” to “Hate Song”, going through “Undead”, “No Compromise” and the new “Eye Of The Storm” (by the way, the new album “Exit Wounds” is out in just a few days – 25th August) the “mosh ‘em all” motto in the back of Aro’s t-shirt was fulfilled. (5/5)

The Haunted official Facebook

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But in my humble opinion, it was Behemoth who put up the greatest show – even in daylight! They were also missing their cobra microphone stands and some other paraphernalia, just the cloaks and make-up. And the horned masks they wear during the final prayer of “O Father O Satan O Sun!”. Meaning the excellence of their show was due to their music – hand-picked songs from the last six albums – and attitude on stage: Seth’s “hairbanging”, Orion’s mean faces, Inferno’s sharp beats and, of course, Nergal’s leadership. I don’t think he spoke a word to the audience, but the weight of his stare on us and how he yelled at us to yell back had more communication than a speech. Simply amazing the power Behemoth holds on stage. (5/5)

Behemoth official Facebook

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In their own old-school way, Annihilator were top as well. They released a new album last year, titled “Feast”, so they played a few songs in order to promote it – “Smear Campaign”, which opened the show, “No Way Out” and “Deadlock”. Then, apart from the funny country-metal song “Chicken & Corn” (a hidden track featured in “Carnival Diablos”, from 2001), every other track was +20 years old. What a trip to the past, from where I personally highlight “King Of The Kill”, “Set The World On Fire” and – you guessed! – “Alison Hell”. Thrash metal at its best!
There was one thing I couldn’t stop noticing. When Jeff Waters was introducing the band, he mentioned Oscar Rangel’s Mexican nationality right before he introduce Dave Padden. Or at least that’s what I understood; Padden got it otherwise and said quickly, somewhat annoyed “I’m not Mexican”. I guess I’d be annoyed too if I thought that, after working with someone for 12 years, he still didn’t get my roots right. Still I think Padden could’ve had a different reaction, maybe make a joke out of it, as there were a few awkward seconds between the two guitarists. But nothing significant enough to ruin the 5 stars the gig deserves. (5/5)

Annihilator official Facebook

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Now Opeth… I’ll start with something Mikael Åkerfeldt said at some point, regarding a song I honestly can’t remember the name, but he said that “if it sounds like a fuck-up, it isn’t. It’s just us being progressive”. And this is more or less what I think of prog. Nope, it’s definitely not my cup of tea. I recognize the high quality of some of the bands/artists, but I just can’t like it. So me, and many others like me, wouldn’t have enjoyed the show (apart from Åkerfeldt’s jokes, that is). The thing is that even among the die-hard Opeth fans there are mixed feelings about the Vagos show. Some complained about the “soft” setlist, others about the somewhat shallow performance… and then there are those who were simply enthralled from the moment “The Devil’s Orchard” started to the one where “Blackwater Park” stopped. They have played VOA two years ago, and I’ve also seen them at the 9th (and last) anniversary show of the original Hard Club, and this was the weakest of those three. But like I said, prog isn’t my thing, so I could be wrong… I still laughed when he said they came from Stockholm, where other great metal bands came from, like Entombed, Dismember, Bathory… and ABBA. That the next song was actually “Super Trouper” (it was “Heir Apparent”). Or when he said it smelled like dead cat in his armpit. Or when he told a girl she could lower the “teddy-crocodile” as he didn’t know that song (it was a dinosaur plushie with a sign asking for “Coil”). Still there was something missing in his attitude – even I noticed that. Was it a bad concert? No, I can’t say that. But Opeth can do better. (4/5)

Opeth official Facebook

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Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

More pics in our Facebook page HERE.

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Vagos Open Air 2014 – 1st day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 19th August 2014 by Pieni

Kreator, Epica, Soilwork, Sylosis, Kandia, Gates Of Hell
Quinta do Ega, Vagos (PT)
8th August 2014

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This year’s edition of Vagos Open Air was bigger in every sense of the word – it lasted one day longer than usual, it had more people coming in, and it had also the greatest bill so far. Kudos for promoters Prime Artists!

National Gates Of Hell must feel proud, and not just for kicking the festival off: it’s not easy for an underground band to gather so many people on a hot Friday, at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, but they made it! There was a sea of people like there’s never been for an opening band, in all the 6-year history of the festival! Of course they’ve been working hard for it in the last few years, especially since the release of their debut album, playing all over the country and winning fans with their ballistic live shows. But it still was a wonderful surprise to see such a crowd screaming and moshing for them. And the size of the wall of death on the last song, “Critical Obsession”! Singer Raça thanked everyone – both fans/friends and those who were watching them for the first time – but truth be told, they wouldn’t have got that response if they weren’t just as good. The credit is all yours, boys! Keep it up! (5/5)

Gates Of Hell official facebook

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Things cooled down a bit, but only in terms of “brutality” – Kandia is a modern/alternative rock band, so no mosh pits for them. But that doesn’t mean that their show was less electrifying. It was just a different kind of voltage. Especially singer Nya Cruz, who looked totally at home on stage. They’ve released two albums so far, but neglected the first one completely, focusing just on the latest “All Is Gone”. Last year, they won the international music contest Global Rockstar with one song from that album, “Scars”. “We’re not going away, we’re here to stay!” was the introduction to that song, as its first verse reads “I’m here to stay”. But more than an introduction, it’s a statement, a motto – and the grip they had on this gig is proof that they will stick to it. (4,5/5)

Kandia official facebook

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It was the first time Sylosis were playing in Portugal (after pulling out of the Epic Industrialist Tour, in 2012) and Josh Middleton admitted they weren’t expecting such a reception. The crowd was happy to finally experience live songs such as “All Is Not Well” and “The Blackest Skyline”, so the circles began spinning once again, at full force. And when Josh asked for TWO circles – one at the left, one at the right – they were eager to comply (same as the headbanging to the sound of nothing, but that’s been done before by other artists – the two circles, now that was new). At some point Josh said that this was the last gig of Rob (Callard, drummer), since he would be pursuing a career as a singer… in a Mariah Carey cover band. Such talented musicians and so humorous… no wonder no one cared about the “little” fail of asking if we were ready for Kreator while playing a riff from Slayer’s “Raining Blood”… (5/5)

Sylosis official facebook

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It had been 11 years since I’d last seen Soilwork – which was the last time they’d played in Portugal. So I don’t know if it’s usual for them to use The Alan Parsons Project’s “Sirius” as intro, but for me, it was a really nice surprise. And it links so well to “This Momentary Bliss”, the first song of their set! A set that I confess was hoping to be a bit more diverse, given the years of absence from the Portuguese stages. But their latest album is a magnificent double piece, so it’s only natural they wanted to focus on the killers of “The Living Infinite”. Still they went back a couple of times – “The Average Stalker”, “Bastard Chain”… –, closing with a golden key with “Stabbing The Drama” (“I think you know the chorus to this one”, said Mr. Björn Strid). The circles weren’t as constant as in the previous band but only because Soilwork’s sound doesn’t require so – there’s a reason why it’s called “melodic” death metal. In terms of intensity, they were just as “crazy and wild” (to use Strid’s own words). (5/5)

Soilwork official facebook

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There were LOADS of Epica fans in Vagos, so whoever thought it was a mistake to invite them again (they performed at the first edition of the fest) couldn’t be more wrong. Simone Simons’ voice was better than the last time I’ve seen them, in the “Requiem For The Indifferent” tour, but still a bit “shaky” here and there. The most blatant case was “Cry For The Moon”, where her voice was smothered by the choir backtracks and not because something failed with her mic. It’s just that female voices also change with time and it’s been 10 years since Simone first recorded that song. Maybe that’s why she took the chance to introduce the band, singing the names and their instruments instead of the original lyrics. Nice trick! But no one seemed to care anyway, as the strong and positive attitude of the whole band made those flaws look like small details.
They played a few songs from the latest album, “The Quantum Enigma” – including the first three tracks plus the new hit “Unchain Utopia”, but Simone said they would be back in November, in a promotional tour for this album. The crowd was thrilled to hear that. (4,5/5)

Epica official facebook

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Okay, it’s true that a Kreator gig is always a Kreator gig, and even when they’re bad, they’re still pretty good. But sometimes they’re REALLY awesome – like this time! From “Mars Mantra / Phantom Antichrist” to “Flag Of Hate / Tormentor”, Mille Petrozza got some of the best “Portuguese circle pits” that he kept asking for – having played here so many times before, he knew what he was talking about when he specified the nationality, giving them an unique identity. But with such a performance it was hard not to raise hell – the stage wasn’t big enough for their fire show, but the human heat made up for it.
For the encore, and the aforementioned medley of “Flag Of Hate” and “Tormentor”, Petrozza got on stage holding a flag, saying that when they released that album (“Endless Pain”), back in 1985, Michael Jackson was still alive. The rest of the band played a few chords from “Billie Jean” and the crowd roared. But the roar was much louder when he talked about the album that Judas Priest released five years later, as its title was the opposite of “Endless Pain”“Painkiller”, with the main riff of its title-track echoing. The true explosion came, of course, when Petrozza stopped talking and the medley itself began. (5/5)

Kreator official facebook

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Nevel a dull moment on this first day – except for the background music between songs, which was literally the same over and over. The metal DJs that took the graveyard shift should have been hired for the day as well…

Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

More pics in our Facebook page HERE.