Archive for Portugal

Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão 2017

Posted in News with tags , , , on 29th June 2017 by Pieni

Laurus Nobilis motto has always been “celebrate music” and on its third edition, there will be the double of such celebration with a second stage and a larger bill. This second stage will be called “Palco Revelações” – Breakthrough Stage – supporting new talents to the point of where attending these performances is free.

The main stage, named after one of the biggest supporters of the fest – the salumeria Porminho – will welcome some big names of the Portuguese scene plus an international headliner: Amorphis. So it’s only fair that for this you’ll have to pay a ticket:

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Schedules and more info at: http://laurusnobilis.pt/horarios/http://laurusnobilis.pt/horarios/

https://www.facebook.com/laurusnobilismusic/

VOA Fest 2016 – 2nd day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12th August 2016 by Pieni

Kreator, Paradise Lost, Abbath, Schammasch, Equaleft, Soldier
Quinta da Marialva, Corroios (PT)
6th August 2016
Promoted by Prime Artists and PEV Entertainment

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This year saw a new start for Vagos Open Air, now simply known by its acronym VOA – new partnership among the promoters, new venue in a new city… The quality? Same as always. Of course all these changes brought along a lot of complaints (humans…), which I don’t see relevant to talk about; but regarding five out of the twelve bands being “recidivists” in the festival, I will say something. Sure, we live in a little country in the most Southwestern corner of Europe where it’s not always easy for an international band to reach – meaning the list of well-known names that never played here is endless and yes, it would be nice to shorten that list through a fest. But at the same time… if the band’s good, what’s so wrong about seeing it a dozen times? Hell, this was my 10th time seeing Paradise Lost and I loved it!
I’m not sure if this new place is smaller than the previous one. At first glance it seems so, as it’s definitely shorter in length. But it’s considerably larger in width, so… What really matters is that the stage was placed inside a natural amphitheater, surrounded by small hills, and if that prevented the wind to ease up the unholy heat (it’s been said this is the hottest summer since 1931), it also didn’t let the sound wander off beyond the festival zone.

13435327_1189167444435631_4832768569027046350_nBack to its original 2-day format, I sadly could only attend the second day. From what I’ve heard, Dark Oath did pretty well as the opening act. Not in front of the biggest crowd, but everybody knows how unfair playing first can be; still, it seems that a fair share of people enjoyed the symphonic/melodic death metal the national band had to offer, introducing the debut full-length “When Fire Engulfs The Earth”.
Italians Adimiron followed next and apparently also focused just on their latest release “Timelapse” (or so it says on setlist.fm). I confess I had never heard of them before, even if they’ve been around since 1999. Apparently, the same happened with most of the crowd, although eventually they surrendered to the band’s sound and performance.
Mantar’s “Ode To The Flame” has received a good feedback but the duo’s live performance not so much. Or maybe their fusion of black-doom-sludge-rock isn’t the right one for a festival, especially in day light. But then again, so shouldn’t be the depressive metal of Katatonia (I know I’ve seen them live in broad daylight a few years back and didn’t like it, despite being fond enough of the band) but I haven’t heard one single bad comment about the Swede’s performance – by the contrary! But I guess Katatonia will always be Katatonia. Played a few songs from the latest “The Fall Of Hearts” along a bunch of older hits.
When Anathema got on stage it was already dark. They haven’t released anything new in two years, but they’ve got a very special place in the hearts of our metal community – always had, not since Daniel Cardoso joined their ranks. So it’s only natural that I also heard only good things about their gig.
Finally, Opeth. I remember the last time I’ve seen them, precisely at this festival, two years ago, the show was pretty disappointed for the majority of the fans, as the band seemed uninspired. They made up for it now. The title-track of their upcoming album has been rolling on Youtube for over a week but they didn’t play it, sticking to the older stuff their fans love the most.

010Now the second day, that I actually witnessed. I arrived around 15:20, the “Blackhearts” documentary was still playing on the video walls. There were a few people watching it but not many – I’ve mentioned the heat already, haven’t I?
In previous editions, the first band of each day was always Portuguese, so having a Spanish opening act was a first – thrashers Soldier did the honors. VOA is part of their “The Great Western Oligarchy tour 2016”, named after their latest album. Solid riffing, a clear invitation to headbanging, to which the crowd – once again, not that big at that early hour – took pleasure in oblige. Not much talking between songs, as there was only half an hour to play, but one could see how pleased they were for being there, given the constant funny faces and broad smiles. Happy and nice bunch of people, I believe, and competent musicians. “Revolt”, from the debut “Gas Powered Jesus”, closed their set.

www.facebook.com/soldierband

040Equaleft was up next and the national underground could hardly be better represented. I can’t find the right words to express how proud I am for them and their achievements in these past years. After opening for Gojira last month (see here), I believe playing in a fest like this was one of the few milestones they had to reach yet on Portuguese soil and now it’s done. Go Equaleft!
The follow-up to “Adapt & Survive” is in the making but nothing ready to be shared yet, so they focused on their acclaimed debut. It’s “Maniac” now that closes their sets, not “Invigorate” anymore, but this hit still features singer Miguel, a.k.a. Jedi Mig, wielding a light saber. Soldier’s thrash was entitled to some mosh circles, but it was Equaleft’s groove that made “the dust rise up from the ground”, as I heard someone say.

www.facebook.com/equaleft

057The promo pic of Schammasch on the festival page shows us four guys in bare upper-bodies. I bet they regretted deeply not going on stage like that – 34ᵒC is “a bit” too much to wear long robes. Singer/guitarist C.S.R., with black paint on his face and hands and whose robe included a hood, was probably who suffered the most, even if he barely moved throughout the whole gig. He even admitted at some point that it was “boiling” up there. So kudos for their resistance.
The music itself deserves some applause too, even if their avant-garde black metal cut down the adrenaline that both previous bands rose up. Still, mainly songs from their latest “Triangle” and at least one off “Contradiction” (“Golden Light”, if I’m not mistaken) were cheered by the crowd.

www.facebook.com/SCHAMMASCH

078It’s always hard to distinguish a solo artist from a band when the latter is named after said artist – and even so when most of the setlist is comprised of songs the artist played with previous projects. That’s what happened with Abbath. With a 75-minute slot, I understand that even if he/they had played the only released album in full, there would still be plenty of time to kill. But playing four Abbath songs among one of I and six of Immortal… I know they’re not seen exactly as covers by the fans, especially when they were thrilled to listen to “Nebular Ravens Winter” (this one’s even recorded in “Abbath”, the album) and “Tyrants” and “All Shall Fall”, but it still felt weird. Apart from the weirdness, it was super. Black metal lovers were offered a great show of the genre – even if the sun was still high up – and those who didn’t like it particularly could always enjoy Abbath and bassist King’s “evil” faces.

www.facebook.com/abbathband

083As aforementioned, Paradise Lost made my day. Nick Holmes acknowledged the “beautiful new venue” of the fest and said how good it was to be back. And with such a rich and diverse setlist, I doubt someone didn’t feel the same way about their return. From recent songs like “No Hope In Sight” to tracks from “a time when most of you weren’t even born” like “Rapture”, we revisited some of Paradise Lost’s highlights through time.
While drinking Super Bock, probably Portugal’s most popular beer, Nick mentioned its alcohol content – 5,6 % – and said that such beer would be banned in the U.K. because it could turn them into animals. When he associated it with football, the laughter was even louder.
As co-headliners, they could afford an encore, which happened after “Say Just Words” – by the way, from the same album they also played the title-track “One Second” that, according to Nick, they hadn’t played in a while (I checked and apparently the last had been two months prior). ”Flesh From Bone” was one of the four songs of said encore, its death-doom nature – so old-school PL in such a recent song – leading Nick to say “it feels like the last 25 years never happened”. “The Last Time” wrapped it up and I really, really hope this was far from the last time that I’ve seen them.

www.facebook.com/paradiselostofficial

114When entering the photo-pit for Kreator we were advised to stay somewhat away from the stage during the first song – “Enemy Of God”, as it turned out – so we were hoping for some fireworks. Imagine our disappointment when it was just confetti… Oh well. On the other hand, I’m glad it wasn’t anything dangerous, as staying away meant closer to the barriers and that was nearly impossible – the mosh and crowdsurf began with practically the first riff and the security guys needed space to attend to all of them enthusiastic metalheads. Mille Petrozza did ask more than once for circles and screams “Portuguese style” but he really didn’t need to – he was already getting that from the start.
I hadn’t realized until now that their last studio album was already four years old (review here). But worry not – Mille said they were working on the follow-up to “Phantom Antichrist” and that it should be out next year. The reception of this news was loud, but when Mille said he wanted to come back as headliners of their own tour, the crowd’s roar was thunderous. Say what you will about thrash and all these “dinosaurs” like Kreator doing the same thing over and over – legends are legends and will always be welcomed.
VOA experienced “Extreme Aggression” in a “Violent Revolution” brought up by “Hordes Of Chaos” filled with “Pleasure To Kill”, and this year’s edition finished with the “Flag Of Hate” raised by a “Betrayer”. Looking forward for next year’s experiences!

www.facebook.com/KreatorOfficial

A special thanks to the promoters, to Raising Legends and Equaleft for the ride and Mosher Clothing for keeping an eye on my stuff and letting me enjoy the shade of their merch stand.

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Full gallery on our Facebook page here.

Laurus Nobilis Música Famalicão 2016 – metal day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 29th July 2016 by Pieni

Moonspell, Bizarra Locomotiva, Quinteto Explosivo, Via Sacra
Louro, Famalicão (PT)
22nd July 2016

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The second edition of Laurus Nobilis Music took place this past weekend and, like last year (report here), the first day was dedicated to the “heavier sounds” – the alternative rock of Via Sacra, the “progressive punk” (you’ll soon understand the quotes) of Quinteto Explosivo, the industrial metal of Bizarra Locomotiva and the dark metal of Moonspell.

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It was a little past seven when Via Sacra got on stage with a long and somewhat mystic intro – that sadly everyone heard from the outside. This is probably the only complaint I have about this year’s festival: how misinformed the security staff was regarding when they should let the people in… Anyway, there they were, in their 16th century clothes (maybe later – I’m not really good in ancient fashion), joyfully rocking out. The first act of every day was chosen after a national contest but the fest promoters must have felt a little proud of Via Sacra since they are a local band. Still I didn’t see many fans of them – people singing along and such – which doesn’t mean they weren’t welcomed by the crowd; songs like “Baby, Baby” and “Secret Garden” seemed to please everyone, even those who were listening to them for the first time. Via Sacra thanked them all, of course, but also their friends, family and even their parish.

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www.facebook.com/viasacraband

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Quinteto Explosivo is Portuguese for “explosive quintet”. If that doesn’t hint you about their goofiness, check out the Deadpool and Captain America outfits… The lyrics are also mischievous, full of offensive slang, and while some are pure nonsense, others have some raw truths beneath… When you live in a country with so much corruption and hypocrisy, laughing is one way of dealing with it. But don’t think that such shocking posture hides lack of talent, which doesn’t. On the other hand, call it “progressive punk” is quite a stretch; it misses the sophistication for it, but it surely is a hell of a well written irreverent punk. With only one album out, “Hinos Politicamente Incorrectos”, they went back to their previous bands Comme Restus and Kalashnikov, with toilet paper flying around. Muffy from Karbonsoul joined them for the song “Queres Caralho Vai Ao Talho”.

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www.facebook.com/QuintetoExplosivo

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I’ve been to a fair share of Bizarra Locomotiva gigs (the first one in 1999) but had never seen them with a bass player before – apparently the majority of their fan club was just as surprised, so I believe it’s a recent acquisition; don’t even know if it’s just a live one or if Carlos joined the band for good. I recognized him from Assemblent so I knew right away he was the right guy for the job – not just for his musical skills but also for his attitude on stage.
The sound was good, but something sent the power down right on the middle of the first song (“A Febre De Ícaro”) and while they were fixing the problem, singer Rui Sidónio jumped into the crowd, saying he would resume the gig from there when the power came back on. And so he did, with the next song on the set, “Gatos Do Asfalto”. After that, no more bumps stopped the massive adrenaline the guys in Bizarra Locomotiva always deliver – and the crowd returns.
Towards the end, Fernando Ribeiro (Moonspell) joined for “O Anjo Exilado” and once again Muffy got on stage – and on Sidónio’s shoulders, like their former keyboard player BJ used to do – to help out with “O Escaravelho”. Another “surprise” was Sidónio singing “Hecatombe” without a cheat sheet – it seems he finally learned the lyrics…

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www.facebook.com/bizarralocomotiva

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Still promoting “Extinct”, Moonspell’s setlist was mostly focused on it. And then on “Irreligious”, which turns 20 precisely today. Not the whole albums, no – that is reserved for a special concert in December, in Guimarães, where both and also “Wolfheart” will be played in full; sounds promising, uh? But for this night in Famalicão, they offered just a bit of each, plus a few other hits off their discography, like “Night Eternal” or “Everything Invaded”.
Rui Sidónio repaid the previous “featuring favor” by doing the same on “Em Nome Do Medo”, dressed in something similar to a hazard suit. Since he usually starts his own shows wrapped in black plastic, that gradually unwraps itself and the man ends up in his boxers, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so… covered up on stage.
At some point, talk of football came up and Fernando said that it felt good to finally be able to celebrate the UEFA championship with the crowd – he said he had introduced the band in a previous show in Spain as “European champions” and they didn’t like it that much… So for a moment the music was different, with everybody singing some football chants, and eventually demanding that Fernando would jump. He complained about his hernias but he did jump a bit – and those hernias didn’t seem to bother him much when dancing to the sound of “Ataegina” with guitarist Ricardo Amorim. On a more serious note, the shooting in Munich that happened that very same day was mentioned with sadness and how Moonspell would still be heading to Germany soon, as they – all of us – shouldn’t stop living our lives out of fear.

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www.facebook.com/moonspellband

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Gallery at our Facebook page here.

Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão 2016

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 5th July 2016 by Pieni

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Here’s another “music party”. Last year we introduced you to Laurus Nobilis Music (report here) and everything’s ready for its second edition:

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VOA 2016 final bill – Paradise Lost announced today, after Anthrax pulling out

Posted in News with tags , , , on 28th June 2016 by Pieni

Remember Vagos Open Air? We’ve been bringing you news/reports on it for the past 4 years, since Pieni joined our team. And even though the acronym has always been used, this year it’s its official name.  Why? Because Vagos is the name of the municipality where the fest used to be held in and now it has moved to Corroios (near the capital Lisbon) so it makes no sense to keep calling it “Vagos Open Air”. On the other hand, it’s still the same promoter, Prime Artists, in charge and there’s a legacy of 7 editions to carry on. So VOA (which in Portuguese means “fly away”) it is.

It’s also back to its original format of 2 days, 5th and 6th of August, with the following bands (Paradise Lost just added, after Anthrax pulling out a couple of weeks ago):

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Check the official site and Facebook page for more info on the festival itself and each of the performing bands:
http://voa.rocks/index_en.html
https://www.facebook.com/VOAFest/

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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www.facebook.com/Annihilator-9614139730/

Click here to see the full gallery on our Facebook page.

Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

Casainhos Fest 2015

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 7th September 2015 by Pieni

Mata-Ratos, Angelus Apatrida, Devil In Me, Simbiose, Hills Have Eyes, Reality Slap, Viralata, Tales For The Unspoken, Backflip, Dimension, Artigo 21, As They Come
S.C.Casainhos, Loures (PT)
29th August 2015
Promoter: Tiago Fresco

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Casainhos is a small village in the central region of Portugal (less than an hour to the north of Lisbon) that has been holding this commendable festival since 2012 – more than supporting/promoting the underground scene, it brings together its different subgenres, showing how metal, punk and hardcore are all part of a big, happy family. Like Poli (Dimension, Devil In Me) would say, a festival for open-minded people, people who won’t judge you, whether you’re wearing black or pink.

Stoner/Southern rockers As They Come opened this year’s edition, at 3:30 p.m. sharp. The punctuality at this fest gets another thumbs-up, by the way. And it proved that 15 minutes is the perfect amount of time for intermission between sets.

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Despite the unholy heat, As They Come fans were restless. After all, most of them had contributed to the band’s presence at the festival, by voting in a contest promoted by Rock On Música music shop – the same shop that got a bus and organized a roadtrip from São João da Madeira to Casainhos. Singer Sick Danny even dedicated the last song, “50 Miles”, to the shop owner Vitinha, who was then carried by the crowd. Soon afterwards, that crowd would invade the stage to party up there with As They Come. The fest could have hardly begun in a better way.

www.facebook.com/AsTheyCome


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Punk rockers Artigo 21 came next and they also had a fair share of fans singing along songs such as “Contradição” (contradiction) or “Espera Por Mim” (wait for me). The band is somewhat recent (2012) but the musicians aren’t exactly kids – at some point, when tuning a guitar took a little longer and someone in the audience complained, one of them said something like “take it easy, we’re old people”. On a more serious note, they announced that bassist Aureo had just become a father, to which everybody applauded. All the best to him and his family!

www.facebook.com/artigo21punk


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Another new band featuring veteran members is Dimension. Groovy hardcore “straight outta the nineties” – and for those who grew up in that decade, Poli dedicated the Sepultura cover “Slave New World”. But that was just a bonus, as their original songs, taken from the debut “Life Is A Mystery”, were enough to win the crowd over, proving the band’s worth both on stage and in the studio.

www.facebook.com/dimensionptband


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Backflip play a more straight-forward hardcore, with a female lead singer that kicks as much ass as any guy in the same position. Not sure when they were formed, but they’ve played in all editions of Casainhos so far, and their EP “New Ticket, New Journey” was released in 2011, so they’ve been around at least since then. The debut self-titled full-length saw the light of day in 2013 and features a few guests from other great underground bands, but that afternoon it was the crowd who helped Inês Oliveira (and guitarist Pedro Morais and bassist João Vidigal) sing along.

www.facebook.com/backfliphardcore

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Tales For The Unspoken, on the other hand, had Raça from Revolution Within sharing the stage with them and singing “Taken”, from the band’s second album “CO2”. Their mix of thrash and death and groove metal kept the moshers busy. “CO2” was released in April, so they focused the set on it, but revisited the debut “Alchemy” with “Say My Name” and the usual closing theme “N’Takuba Wena”.

www.facebook.com/talesfortheunspoken


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Back to punk rock, Viralata took the stage. A few problems with Ulisses’ guitar cable delayed the show for a few minutes, leading the singer to joke “what a grand start-up”. Their music is great, but it’s the lyrics – amusing as hell – that make them so popular, meaning that if you don’t speak Portuguese, you’ll miss the essence of Viralata. But if you were there, you’d certainly be carried away by the high spirits of both band and crowd. There was even a fan who climbed on stage and sang the lyrics to “Carocho” (if memory serves me well), totally unexpected but welcomed by the band. Huge fun!

www.facebook.com/viralatapunk


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Hardcore act Reality Slap latest album, “Necks & Ropes”, dates from 2012 but the band’s been working hard on its successor, hoping to release it this year still. Singer Johnny (or at least I think that’s his name – guys, please add who does what in the band in your Facebook page!) said something about not playing live in a while, but either “a while” is a little less than four months to him, or he meant playing in national territory, as the band toured through a few European countries last Spring. Whatever the case, this return to the stages was flawless, and when Johnny jumped to the middle of the crowd, pointing the mike to the fans, many were eager to take on the singer’s role.

www.facebook.com/realityslap


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Despite the rich bill of the festival, I confess it was only Hills Have Eyes that made me ride those 190 miles. So I won’t say their concert was the best, as more than presumptuous it would sound biased; but since I had people coming to me in the end – people who had never seen HHE before, despite their +10-year career – saying that now they understood why I liked that band so much, that I had good taste in music, it’s not the fangirl but the reporter that tells you WHAT A HELL OF A SHOW! This was probably the last gig before the release of their third album, “Antebellum”, scheduled for this month, but still only the first single “The Bringer Of Rain” was performed. The title-track of the previous album, “Strangers”, closed their set.

www.facebook.com/hillshaveeyes


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From the metalcore of Hills Have Eyes, the festival moved on to the crust/metal/punk of Simbiose. Formed in 1991, it was the band on the bill with the longest career, after headliners Mata-Ratos (the latter born in 1982). “Trapped” is the title of their latest, sixth album (released in March) and songs such as “Ignorância Colectiva” (collective ignorance), “Acabou A Crise, Começou A Miséria!” (the crisis is over, the affliction has started) or “Modo Regressivo” (regressive mode) are some of the new tunes – with the same old social and political critique – that were part of one of the most brutal sets of the fest.

www.facebook.com/SimbioseCrustBand


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Devil In Me are among the high-rank Portuguese hardcore bands and it will only take a couple of songs for you to understand why. Once again, Poli brought up the open-mindedness (and lack of it) subject, and staying true to one’s self – how he still loved hardcore now, as a grown man and family man, as much as when he was 15. Adding how much he missed his daughter that night, he invited all parents present to come up front and party. It seems that their new album will be out in October (“Soul Rebel”), but the title-track has been performed live several times now and everybody knew how to scream the chorus verse: “soul rebel… like a lion”.

www.facebook.com/devilinmeband


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Angelus Apatrida was the only non-Portuguese band of the fest, old school thrash metal from “country next door” Spain. But they’re part of the family, not just for the solid fan-base they’ve built here over the past years but also for recording a couple of albums here, at Ultrasound Studios, and becoming good friends with many local underground bands. One of the most notorious is Switchtense and singer Hugo Andrade even got on stage to sing “Fresh Pleasure” with Guillermo Izquierdo. Whether they were songs from the new album “Hidden Evolution” or oldies like “Vomitive” or “Give ‘Em War”, the circle pits were as restless as the thrash that was fueling them.

www.facebook.com/angelusapatrida


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A lot of people left after Angelus Apatrida – not exactly because Mata-Ratos aren’t good at what they do (hardcore punk) but because they haven’t released anything new in eight years, and after eleven bands, half of them performing  while the sun burnt at an average of 86ºF, it became easy to dismiss the headliners. But there was still a good handful of survivors, ready to scream their lungs out at classics like “C.C.M.”, “A Minha Sogra É Um Boi” (my mother-in-law is a cow) or “Deus, Pátria E Família” (God, homeland and family).

www.facebook.com/infamesmr

According to the promoters, circa 800 people attended this fest. Don’t think any had a single reason to be disappointed. I hope this fest will continue to thrive and many more editions will follow. I also hope every country has someone committed to their underground scene like we have Tiago Fresco and his crew here (among others) in Portugal.

Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

Gallery on our Facebook page here.

Vagos Open Air 2015 – 3rd day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 15th August 2015 by Pieni

Ironwsword, Bloodbath, Overkill, Orphaned Land, Alestorm, Ne Obliviscaris, Midnight Priest
Quinta do Ega, Vagos (PT)
9th August 2015
Promoted by Prime Artists

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Bloodbath

Last year, Prime Artists added one more day to the festival and the change was meant to stay. So here we were, on the third, last and more diverse day of Vagos Open Air 2015.

Personally, I still see Midnight Priest as an Iron Maiden and Judas Priest rip-off, but whether the crowd thought the same or not, they didn’t seem to care, banging those heads to songs like “Into The Nightmare” or “Rainha da Magia Negra” (Black Magic Queen). It’s a festival, a party, and they’re making copy+paste of some legendary riffs, so not even the broken high pitches of singer Lex Thunder ruined the mood. It was the shortest set of the day and it finished with “À Boleia Com o Diabo” (Hitchhiking with the Devil).

www.facebook.com/midnightpriest

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Ne Obliviscaris

Ne Obliviscaris are touring the world thanks to a crowdfunding but I didn’t know so many of their fans came from Portugal – besides the wild crowd they had during the show, the signing session/meet & greet lasted more than the one-hour gig itself! I guess the guys from down under were just as surprised, but obviously happy. And it was deserved. Their extreme prog is exquisite and seductive enough to stand out from the other bands on the bill, but then the way they performed it – even in hot daylight – was more than enthralling to everyone who’s into that kind of music. And some of them had the chance to hold singer/violinist Tim Charles on the last song, “And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope”, as he jumped into the crowd and crowdsurfed.  Promising to come back as soon as possible, they all left the stage smiling.

www.facebook.com/NeObliviscarisBand

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Alestorm

The original bill featured Halestorm and, as I think I’ve told you before, here in Portugal we like stronger stuff. There was a lot of moaning on how they should bring Alestorm instead. Then Halestorm had to cancel – not sure why and don’t really care, as cancelling a gig due to “a scheduling conflict” sounds like a poor excuse, and therefore disrespectful to their fans – and the “bring Alestorm, you only have to remove the H!” request was all over the place. And Prime Artists answered the call! The Scottish pirates (who claim coming from the “darkest depths of the Caribbean”) came and conquered with their inebriating (yeah, pun intended) folk. Talking about how they could sense our smell when introducing “The Famous Ol’ Spiced” or how they weren’t here to steal our potatoes but to drink our beer (“Drink”), this was probably the happiest show of the whole fest.

www.facebook.com/alestormband

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Orphaned Land

I’ve seen Orphaned Land a few times and know how popular they are here, but still Kobi Farhi felt the need to explain to the crowd that he wasn’t Jesus Christ, he only looked like him. In fact, he couldn’t be Jesus as he wasn’t a virgin and made a lot of sex.  After such a fun gig of Alestorm, so much different from the soberer Middle Eastern metal of Orphaned Land, I guess an ice-breaking remark like this was needed, but Kobi always has something amusing to say. Not sure which song he introduced by singing some The Doors verse, but that early evening we could hear oldies such as “Sapari”, “In Thy Never Ending Way” or “Norra El Norra” mixed with more recent ones like “All Is One”, “Let The Truce Be Known” or “The Simple Man” (the latter dedicated to us). All with a lot of clapping-to-the-rhythm and sing-alongs. Beautiful concert, so the news of an upcoming acoustic tour, which will include Portugal, was more than welcome.

www.facebook.com/OrphanedLandOfficial

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Overkill

Thrash metal returned to Vagos in the form of Overkill – our “ugly cousins from New Jersey”, as Bobby Blitz himself described them. They indeed have a solid, crazy fan-base here – fans that make Bobby feel like he’s fifty again. Yes, fifty, not fifteen – he’s not only a top thrash metal singer and owner of a chocolate shop, he’s also a humorist. The chosen tracks to represent their latest “White Devil Armory” were “Armorist” and “Bitter Pill”; the rest were the usual classics such as “Necroshine”, “In Union We Stand”, “Rotten To The Core”, “Horrorscope”, “Hello From The Gutter”… I confess that after the little speech about brotherhood, my brain whispered “bastard nation” when Bobby said “’cause we are”, but the sentence finished with “Ironbound” after all. I wonder if I’ll ever hear “Bastard Nation” live ever again. The gig finished with the mandatory “Fuck You”, and just like three years before (see here), Bobby provoked us with “is this Portugal or España?”, when he wanted to hear us louder. And just like in that other V.O.A. edition – in fact like every time someone tells us such words – it worked.

www.facebook.com/OverkillWreckingCrew

If you’re one of those who saw Nick Holmes joining Bloodbath with very skeptical eyes, it’s about time to dismiss that feeling: the guy is definitely up to it! I had the confirmation with the release of “Grand Morbid Funeral” last November, but the ultimate trial by fire is always on stage. And when you’re a Paradise Lost fan for about 20 years, like I am, you also know that it may take you a couple of shows to get that proof, as Nick’s mood affects his performance proportionally.

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Bloodbath

But as soon as “Old Nick” addressed the audience, by the way he said “We’re Bloodbath from Sweden and Yorkshire. I’m the one from Yorkshire” I could tell he was in an excellent mood, meaning he would also excel in this show. And he did. Bloodbath played a little something from the four albums they’ve released so far, pleasing old and new fans, and giving Nick the chance to show how the songs once sung by Mikael Åkerfeldt and Peter Tägtgren weren’t lessened at all by his vocal tone and skills. “Eaten” and “Cry My Name” were the encore of the probably most brutal gig of Vagos 2015.

www.facebook.com/bloodbathband

It’s not easy for an underground band to wrap up a festival with so many international famous names. Many people left after Bloodbath, but many also stayed to see national heavy metal veterans Ironsword. Along with Filii Nigrantium Infernalium the previous night, they were also special guests in this festival, and once more I believe it was anniversary related – the band celebrated their 20th this year. But also have a new album out, “None But The Brave”, released last May, which their setlist was pretty focused on. In the end of its title-track, singer/guitarist Tann said something about how we were entitled to a special version of this new song, but since I’m not that familiar with their work, I don’t know if it was really some “special version” or if someone messed up and they had to improvise. Whatever the case, they did good and some vigorous fans screamed IRONSWORD, IRONSWORD!”. “Burning Metal” wasn’t just the last song but also the description of the show.

www.facebook.com/IronswordOfficial

And it was over. Three days that seemed to last forever and, at the same time, so quickly went by. That’s how good memories feel like, I suppose. Well, let the preparations for Vagos 2016 begin!

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Note: we weren’t granted access to the photopit, so no gallery this year.

Vagos Open Air 2015 – 2nd day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 13th August 2015 by Pieni

Filii Nigrantium Infernalium, Venom, Black Label Society, Triptykon, Destruction, Mutant Squad, W.A.K.O.
Quinta do Ega, vagos (PT)
8th August 2015
Promoted by Prime Artists

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Black Label Society

The second day of Vagos Open Air was the heaviest in sound and numbers. Saturdays are always prone to attract more people, but I’m pretty sure it was the names on the bill that gathered so many metalheads

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W.A.K.O.

If memory serves me well, I hadn’t seen W.A.K.O. in four years. Not that they’ve inactive all that time, no. I just haven’t had the chance to see them lately. And damn, what I’ve been missing! Sure, the aforementioned gig I attended at Hard Club was a killer (no pun intended – did I mention that W.A.K.O. stands for We Are Killing Ourselves?), but this one at Vagos was simply devastating! As well as the mosh circles the crowd put up restlessly, from the opener “Abyss” to the closing “The Shadows Collapse Within”. Any thumbs-down? Sure – too short. Such a show deserved to last longer.

www.facebook.com/Extispicium

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Mutant Squad

Next, from country next door, came Mutant Squad. Straight-forward thrash metal always works when played live, whether you’re familiar with the band or not (which I think was the case of many in the crowd). The Spanish continued fuelling the mosh frenzy that W.A.K.O. had started with songs from their debut full-length “Titanomakhia”, and also one (“Remember”) from the 2012 EP “Social Misfits”. Using a few Portuguese curse words also helped them winning over the crowd, as well as praising the W.A.K.O. gig and their guitarist Pedro Mendes. The set ended with “Mutants Will Rise”, but before leaving the stage, singer/guitarist Pla announced they’d return to Portugal in November, for the Mosher clothing fest, and the people seemed happy about it.

www.facebook.com/mutantsquadband

The thrashing went on in a much more old-school vein. Both previous bands had a pretty packed crowd waiting for them, but Destruction had an army! The action on and off stage lived up to the band’s name. This is another band that hasn’t released anything new in three years (the Saxon cover on “The Big Teutonic 4” split can’t obviously count) but whose presence in this or any other festival is more than justified, as their performances are what live shows are all about. Even when the sound goes down… Not sure what happened, but at some point closer to the end, only the drums were audible. As the band played on, I believe they still heard what they were doing on stage, but we didn’t. One thing I noticed and appreciated was that no one booed – they did cry out in disappointment, but not in angry accusation, understanding that this kind of thing happens. Eventually the sound came back, its volume still on a rollercoaster ride, but everything was back to normal when Schmier announced the last song “Bestial invasion”.

www.facebook.com/destruction

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Triptykon

Triptykon stirred another kind of turmoil – an emotional one. Although the crowdsurfers kept the security guys busy during the black metal parts that spice the doom nature of the band. Thomas Gabriel Fischer was particularly talkative and clearly happy to be there – the “it’s so good to be back” that we so often hear seemed honest. They played an excellent gloomy show that I just wished was a bit more Triptykon and less Celtic Frost. They have two great full-length albums, why dwell in past bands? One song would be enough, for old times sake – that I understand. But three? Plus a Hellhammer cover (“Messiah”) that Celtic Frost already used to cover – as Hellhammer was the band Thomas and Martin Ain were in before Celtic Frost. Even the “are you morbid?” expression was used that night. A flawless and enthralling performance, yes, but a little too much “double identity” for my personal taste.

www.facebook.com/triptykonofficial

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Black Label Society

Even though not closing the bill, Black Label Society were the headliners – the number of people waiting for Zakk Wylde (with no disrespect for the other musicians, just stating the truth) left no doubt about that. Not even the 20-minute delay (that wasn’t apologized for or explained) seemed to bother the fans. But then again, those same fans go bananas with Wylde’s 20-minute solos, so we clearly don’t agree on several things.
The show was impeccable, no one can say otherwise. There’s a reason why Wylde is considered such a guitar god and that reason was palpable that night. But like everything in life, when you’re not drinking your cup of tea… I’ve heard more than one person complaining about the extensive guitar work, but come on, that’s what Wylde does! That’s what his fans where there to see and that’s what they got. Now the “lesser fans”… well, not even guitar gods can please everyone. He didn’t talk much, except when introducing the band – he talked A LOT then, although I didn’t understand half of it, given that Southern accent of his (that I’m still trying to figure out where he got it from, as the guy was born and raised in New Jersey…). I did understand clearly the “We love you Dimebag!” at the end of “In This River”.

www.facebook.com/blacklabelsociety

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Venom

Only now, as writing this, did I realize that the oldest band of the bill was the only with material released in 2015. Funny. Not that it mattered that much, as Venom didn’t focus on that new album, “From The Very Depths”. If I’m correct, only “Rise” and “Long Haired Punks” were played. But we’re talking about a band that was founded 36 years ago and has released killer black/speed hits ever since – there’s no such thing as promoting an album nowadays, only mingling a couple of new tracks with a roll of classics.
Despite the late hour, and after so many mosh-friendly bands, the circle pits were back in full, matching the violence that the trio “out of Hell” unleashed.

www.facebook.com/pages/Venom-Band/197558207048784

There was still one more band left, “special guests” Filii Nigrantium Infernalium, who, as the name indicates, play black metal. For over two decades now. This year their debut EP “A Era do Abutre” (The Vulture’s Era) turned 20 years and they played a few shows to celebrate it. I believe they were invited to Vagos precisely for that anniversary. Still, black metal isn’t for everybody and the crowd wasn’t as big when they got on stage. And then there were those who wished they had left, as a desperate voice started screaming “go away, please!” at some point. Everybody – band included – laughed, but as the following song was “Morte Geométrica” (geometric death), singer/guitarist Belathauzer introduced it by saying that death wasn’t a bad thing, some people deserved death. Sounded to me like it was aimed at someone specific… The gig ended with “Labirito” (labyrinth), dedicated to “all our families”.

www.facebook.com/FiliiNigrantiumInfernalium

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Note: we weren’t granted access to the photopit, so no gallery this year.

Thanks to Hugo Delgado for the memory card.

Vagos Open Air 2015 – 1st day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 12th August 2015 by Pieni

Within Temptation, Amorphis, Heaven Shall Burn, Vildhjarta, Moonshade, Scar For Life
Quinta do Ega, Vagos (PT)
7th August 2015
Promoted by Prime Artists

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Within Temptation

There’s a handful of great metal festivals in Portugal, but Vagos Open Air is the one that focus on international acts (without disregarding the local ones) and reaches out to a broader, not always so-extreme audience. This year we even had Within Temptation headlining the first day, while Bloodbath had the honor of doing so on the third. And if you’ve read some of my previous articles, you might know how one of my favorite quotes is “diversity is the spice of life”.

It was precisely due to Within Temptation’s busy schedule that the festival was anticipated one hour. I don’t know why they simply didn’t swap slots with Amorphis – it’s not like they’d lose the headliner status – but in the end I was glad they didn’t. Vagos is a somewhat windy town, but this year one could drop the “somewhat” out of the sentence. And add cold. So that extra hour in the sun was more than welcome, for a change.

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Moonshade

Not sure if Scar For Life share my opinion though. But then again, despite their 7-year-old career and 4-album discography, they’re not exactly the most popular alternative/groovy metal band around here – even if they’d got on stage at 5 p.m., as originally announced, I doubt there would be a lot more people attending their show. And then they had some sound problems, which may have (or may have not…) led singer Rob Mancini to go often out of tune, and the crowd eventually got even scarcer. It’s a shame, really.

www.facebook.com/scarforlife

Moonshade, on the other hand, proved worthy of V.O.A.’s stage. “A small band”, as singer Ricardo Pereira described themselves, when thanking the crowd for coming and seeing them, but with a good live posture and performance. I was at the release party of their latest EP (see here), so I knew what to expect; still, it was a positive surprise to see how well it worked in a less intimate atmosphere and before such a more numerous audience.

www.facebook.com/moonshadeofficial

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Vildhjarta

I was a little puzzled by Vildhjarta’s presence in this festival. A Meshuggah-like band who hasn’t released anything new in two years nor have near-future plans except for a vinyl edition of their only full-length “Måsstaden”. An experimental metal band who doesn’t even appear to play live that much, Brutal Assault in Czech Republic and Vagos itself apparently being the only dates this year. I guess that “little puzzled” is an understatement after all. But you know what? The crowd loved them! What I and many were skeptical about ended up in a big party, not only for the exquisite music but for the amusing guys who performed it. One of them – not sure if Vilhelm or Mynd – asking if we’d like some tea was kind of priceless.

www.facebook.com/vildhjartaofficial

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Heaven Shall Burn

But it was Heaven Shall Burn who swept Vagos off its feet. Literally. The moshers and crowdsurfers had a field day. And the screamers too, as I believe this was the show with the loudest chorus sing-alongs in songs such as “Forlorn Skies”, the Edge Of Sanity cover of “Black Tears” or “Like Gods Among Mortals”. 15 years had passed since the last (and actually first) time the Germans had played in Portugal but as soon as singer Marcus Bischoff announced “Voice Of The Voiceless”, the fans knew exactly what to do and aligned for a wall of death, with no need for further instructions.  Still regarding that first show, it seemed that no one had been there. Well, almost no one. One hand was raised when Marcus asked about it, joking then with the guy in response “oh yeah, you’re old enough”. But they also had the “youngest metal fan”, a 6-year-old kid who they called on stage close to the end. The kid was a bit confused, but headbanged his long hair here and there, marking the cutest moment of the whole festival.

www.facebook.com/officialheavenshallburn

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Amorphis

Amorphis‘ show was as brilliant as HSB’s, but on another kind of level – whereas the Germans exceled in adrenaline, the Finns did it in intensity. The main reason is, obviously, the nature of each band, but the fact that Amorphis were celebrating 20 years of the legendary “Tales From The Thousand Lakes” added an unmatched emotional weight. Performed in its entirety in such a flawless, heartfelt way, you even forgot that Tomi Joutsen wasn’t the singer who recorded the album. The setlist was completed by a couple of songs from the very first “The Karelian Isthmus” (“Signs From The North Side” and “Vulgar Necrolatry”) and the most classic tracks from “Elegy”.

www.facebook.com/amorphis

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Within Temptation

Then Within Temptation soothed the moods down. Well, the “most metal” fans’ moods that is. The ones who liked the band were quite hyped by the pop-ish vibrancy of the Dutch. As headliners, they had enough time to promote their latest album, “Hydra”, and still visit all the others (except for the debut “Enter”, which I doubt they’ll ever play again, given the so much different style). One of the old ones was “Memories”, that Sharon den Adel said they hadn’t played in a long while and liked to dedicate to us. Among the newest we could hear “Paradise (What About Us?)”, “Dangerous” and “Covered By Roses”, and the Lana Del Rey cover of “Summertime Sadness”. No, not a metal gig, but that proverbial expression “they rocked!” was brought to life. Plus, Sharon is still able to jump around and sing at the same time without missing a note, not to mention the interaction she engages on with the crowd. So give it up, haters. It was a good show, that ended with the mandatory “Ice Queen”.

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Note: we weren’t granted access to the photopit, so no gallery this year.

Vagos Open Air 2015 closes its bill, adding two special guests

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 12th May 2015 by Pieni

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Portugal’s Vagos Open Air continues to grow. Last year, it extended its original two-day festivities to three, and this year opened up one more slot on the Saturday and Sunday line-ups. Those slots were taken by two Portuguese bands, granting promoters Prime Artists a thumbs-up for supporting the country’s metal scene. So this is how it’s going to play out (headliner-to-opener order):

Friday, 7 August:
WITHIN TEMPTATION (NL)
AMORPHIS (FI)
HEAVEN SHALL BURN (DE)
VILDHJARTA (SE)
MOONSHADE (PT)
SCAR FOR LIFE (PT)

Saturday, 8 August:
BLACK LABEL SOCIETY (USA)
VENOM (UK)
TRIPTYKON (CHE)
DESTRUCTION (DE)
MUTANT SQUAD (ES)
W.A.K.O. (PT)
FILII NIGRANTIUM INFERNALIUM (PT, special guests)

Sunday, 9 August:
BLOODBATH (SE)
OVERKILL (USA)
HALESTORM (USA)
ORPHANED LAND (IL)
NE OBLIVISCARIS (AU)
MIDNIGHT PRIEST (PT)
IRONSWORD (PT, special guests)

Taking place once again at Quinta do Ega, you can find all info on its official homepage: http://www.vagosopenair.eu/index_en.html

Vagos Open Air closes this year’s bill with Paradise Lost

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 30th May 2014 by Pieni

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Yesterday Prime Artists announced Paradise Lost as the last band to be added to this year’s edition of Vagos Open Air. The most popular metal fest in Portugal, that for the first time in six years will be held for three days instead of two, has the following line-up (from headliners to opening acts):

8th August:
KREATOR
EPICA
SOILWORK
SYLOSIS
KANDIA
GATES OF HELL

9th August:
OPETH
ANNIHILATOR
BEHEMOTH
THE HAUNTED
ANGELUS APATRIDA
REQUIEM LAUS

10th August:
GOJIRA
PARADISE LOST
VITA IMANA
THE QUARTET OF WOAH!
MURK

All relevant info regarding the festival and its artists can be found at the official page here.

Portugal’s Vagos Open Air bigger this year

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 4th April 2014 by Pieni

As reported in the last couple of years, Vagos Open Air is the most popular summer metal fest in Portugal, always choosing quality bands of several heavy flavours. The two-day event usually welcomes half a dozen artists per day – “usually” because the 2012 edition had one more, Nasum, since it was their reunion/farewell tour – so when the 12th band was announced a couple of weeks ago, the Portuguese metal community thought this year’s bill was closed. Well think again. Prime Artists, the promoter, has decided to expand the fest this year and some names are yet to be revealed! The bill is looking like this so far:

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Vagos Open Air 2014 is the 6th edition of the festival, taking place on the 8th and 9th of August in Quinta do Ega, Vagos Municipality, Portugal. More info at the official channels:

Website
Facebook

 

 

Gaia Em Peso fest @ Molin old factory [Live Review]

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , on 3rd November 2011 by Pieni

Bands: Damage My God, Gates Of Hell, Equaleft, Pandora, Junkywax, Hellcome, Flatten, Negative Ground
Location: Molin old factory, Canelas (Portugal)
Date: 30th October 2011

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Gaia em Peso (which translates to something like “Gaia in Heaviness”) is a Portuguese festival for amateur bands. Amateur in the sense that they don’t make a living out of it – the performance of most of them is quite professional.
So for 5 € only you have the chance to see 42 bands in 5 days, and you can drink beer for 50 cents and eat meat sandwiches also for 50 cents. Profit is definitely not the goal: just fun!
Sadly, I could only attend one of those days, but I still think it’s worth to share it – especially since Valkyrian reviewed the latest EP of headliners Equaleft.

The first band of the evening was Negative Ground, who had also played in last year’s edition of the fest. I remembered them as a heavy metal band, but now they sounded a bit more thrashier. Singer Bala was even wearing a Megadeth t-shirt, as if backing up my opinion. Still, the basis remains in hard/heavy.
The new bass player, Nelson, brought some life to the band’s performance, as he moves along with his playing, while his predecessor only banged his head. But then again, this heavier attitude of the band itself makes it easier to do so.
They haven’t released anything new since last year, so the EP “New World Order Arrives” is still their latest work. The crowd wasn’t that big in the beginning of the show, but whoever was there applauded, raised their arms in the air and screamed “hey!” along the guitars, which are the strongest element in Negative Ground’s music.

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Flatten have been gathering fans in the Portuguese underground with their live performances. They are still recording their first EP, which I believe will be released in 2012, but many in the crowd seemed to recognise some of the songs. And those who didn’t, welcomed them anyway.
Their music is basically thrash – old school like Slayer mixed with post-thrash like Machine Head. And then Evandro puts a death metal touch on the vocals, making the songs sound even more aggressive.
It was Evandro’s birthday, so everybody sang “happy birthday” to him at some point of the concert.
“Death Line” is their most known track so far, so I’m pretty sure it was the one they played last – right between the riffs of Slayer’s “South Of Heaven” in the beginning and “Raining Blood” in the end.

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I don’t know very well how to define the following band, Hellcome. Apparently they started as a thrash metal band, some 14 years ago. But what they played that night was anything but. On MySpace they define themselves as metal/rock, but I would add “alternative” to that mixture. Good musicians, you could feel a solid musical background in both performance and songwriting, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. And to say the voice didn’t impress me is an understatement. Luckily, we all have different tastes and there were people enjoying their gig.
In 2000 they won the Rocklusos award for best demotape, with “Broken Society”, and they started the gig with two of the three songs from that demo, “Running Locomotive” and “Breathe”. The setlist says they covered Sepultura’s “Slave New World” but I honestly didn’t hear it. The last song, “Cry At The Moon”, isn’t featured in any of their three demos, so I believe it’s a brand new one.

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Artchoke cancelled their show (don’t know why) so there was a bigger intermission for dinner. Around 21:00, Junkywax got on stage.
This was another band I remembered from a previous edition (2009, I believe) and they also sounded different – a lot different! If it wasn’t for the girl on the bass, Alexandra, I would even think I was mistaken and this wasn’t the same band – although a weird name like this is kind of hard to forget. But it was – they simply went from alternative/grunge to sludge/southern rock, sticking to the original name as they “didn’t want to forget their roots”.
They played that sludgy metalcore for half an hour, presenting us the demo/EP “Pure Power Rising” that they’ve released this year. One of the songs (didn’t understand the title – if singer André said it at all) was punk rock, so I presume it was older. It started with bass and Alexandra also sang in the chorus.

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Pandora was a complete novelty for me, although I recognised those kids’ faces from off the stage, at other concerts.
Not exactly an original name, and the sound doesn’t bring anything new either, but they did very good – especially when the band was formed barely two years ago. They know how to be on stage and deliver a good performance, and the heavy metal spiced with thrash and nu that they play kept everybody entertained.
I don’t think they have anything recorded yet, but it’s good – it will give them time to grow a bit more as a band, and polish some rough edges with the experience on stage.

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Gates Of Hell should be next, but singer Raça hadn’t showed up yet. Damage My God ‘s own singer wasn’t there yet either, so they couldn’t play either. Headliners Equaleft ended up playing 2 hours before schedule, not closing that day’s bill after all. But no one in that band cares about status – they just want to play, no matter if that happens in the beginning, middle or end of the festival.
Guitarist Maglor couldn’t be there, for personal reasons, meaning the Star Wars Storm Trooper mask on “Invigorate” was a no show either. Replacing him was Pedro from Gates Of Hell – brother of the bass player, Filipe, who also plays guitar in GOH. The Portuguese underground is one big happy family.
Singer Miguel was surprised to see so many moshers on a cold Sunday night, but there they were, circle after circle and screaming along the chorus of songs like “Suffer No More”, “Sleep When I’m Dead” or “Alone In Emptiness”. Miguel himself kept jumping, but that’s nothing new.

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It was the first time I’ve seen Gates Of Hell with Raça on vocals, after he replaced Zé a few months ago. But I already knew him very well from Revolution Within, so I was sure it would be a great show. And it was. His strong voice fits the band as a glove, enhancing the thrash parts which were once overwhelmed by the death ones.
They played songs from their EP “Shadows Of The Dark Ages” and some new stuff which they are currently working on and recording. Should be out next year.
Miguel from Equaleft joined them on stage to help singing “Whoremaggeddon”, and the cover of Pantera’s “Fucking Hostile” was the moshpit’s highlight.

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Last but not least, Damage My God. Band formed not too long ago, but its musicians come from way back. Also labelled as thrash/death, but more the latter than the first. Really aggressive performance. They’ve recently released a 5-song EP, “F.U.C.K.”, which stands for “Fuck Underground CocksucKers”, so that alone tells you something about their attitude towards the music scene – even at an underground level.
One of the songs had to be interrupted right on the first minute – not sure if due a technical problem or a human mistake. But the mosh resumed as soon as Damage My God restarted to play, as if nothing had happened. It was past 1 a.m. but the adrenaline was still high.

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After the concerts, who ended at two in the morning, a MJ (metal jockey) entertained the last survivors. I left after Metallica’s “One” and Pantera’s “Cemetary Gates”.

4.5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Equaleft – The Truth Vnravels EP [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 24th September 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Equaleft
Album: …The Truth Vnravels EP
Release Year: 2010
Genre: Metal/Groove/Progressive

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Portugal’s underground scene is mostly about thrash, death, hardcore: the “noisier” the better. So it’s really refreshing listening to something like EQUALEFT: “metal full of groove, power and melody”, to quote the band itself. To achieve that mixture, EQUALEFT uses 8-string guitars, increasing the scale range of the instruments and getting a closer approach to progressive elements. Nothing overstated, though – just the right measure. In my opinion, too much technical use and “flourishes” may sound mind-blowing to other musicians and connoisseurs, but to the simple layman (like me), it can become pretty boring. But these guys know where to draw the line in that matter, and so you have songs like “Alone In Emptiness” or “Amnesia” – the latter having Filipe Ferreira, from local veteran thrashers WEB, performing a solo.

“Cynical Plague” also gives tempo shifts a try – not as extreme as MESHUGGAH or THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, but the influence is there, on EQUALEFT’s own terms.

And “Uncover The Masks” could be easily considered an avant-garde metal song, given the crazy saxophone on it, courtesy of João Martins (LOST GORBACHEVS). Despite the vocal capacity of Miguel Inglês – who, by the way, experimented clean tones for the first time on “Suffer No More” – the band invited Paulo from metalcore band E.A.K. to contrast his higher screams with Inglês’ lower growls in “Denial”. And then, at some point, both tones meet and blend. They could have released an album instead of this 6-track EP. But either they postponed it while took the time to write more quality songs, or they recorded a few crappy tracks just to “fill the gaps” of a full-length. So they went for the EP, where all the songs are potential killers on stage. Assuming they’ll keep this philosophy for the debut album (due in 2012, or so rumour has it), we can expect something big from these guys. I’ll make sure to let you know about it when it sees the light of day.

4.5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino