Archive for Portuguese underground

Equaleft – Adapt & Survive

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 12th June 2014 by Paul Macmillan

Equaleft
Adapt & Survive
Released 31st May 2014
Metal/Groove/Progressive
Released via Raising Legends/Raging Planet

Equaleft - Adapt & Survive

I thoroughly love it when a band brings together seemingly unrelated influences into a consistent amalgam of riffery. Gojira are a prime example, drifting the tremolo arm of black metal across a valley of doomy chords, all the while casting the sensibilities of modern metal hook creation around them as they go. It invariably results in something more than the average; something juicy to get your teeth into which delivers a full palette of flavour into every hungry bite.

Not that they sound much like the French overlords of all things thunderous and addictive, Portugal’s Equaleft seem to have attended some of the same seminars on genre-busting. Adapt & Survive’s intro piece, We Are, is more reminiscent of the soundtrack to a tense political sci-fi thriller movie than the kick-off of your everyday metal album – and with good reason. This is a band who genuinely likes to challenge, but not at the expense of great metal, and this is not your average metal album.

Slamming into the first track proper (…The Chameleons), the yaw of the music is meaty, but there’s a hint of old school tech hovering in the background: a whiff from the oceans of sewage continual drifting from under the running boards. The Meshuggah influence seems to be worn with pride throughout, but there is more of a natural flow to these songs. As much as I love the Shug, being one of the freaky few who can disco dance to most of their back-catalogue, it’s nice to hear this style taken in a new direction, embracing movements of pure rocking out. To put it another way, it’s great to be in possession of such a mighty array of weaponry, but sometimes you only need your knuckles to get the job done.

Without losing its unique character, Adapt & Survive, travels from the dredging doom of New False Horizons’ intro, through the Swede-esque sway and churn of Heroes Of Nothing and over the chuntering death-thrash in Invigorate (re-recorded from a previous demo version), struggling to contain a seeping energy rare in similar circles.

By looking the Devil in the eye and shunting him a middle-finger of non-compliance, Equaleft have come up with something a little special. The lift of emotional song-writing. The satisfaction of technical proficiency. A unique personality. It is 100% an album to take home and own, and digest slowly.

This will be going on the old MP4 player, the computer, and CDs being left both in the bedroom and any automobile that I can get it in, because I can see myself being in the mood for this on many, many occasions. There will no longer be a gap in the music when I’ve overplayed my Meshuggah, Agonyst and Man Must Die collections. Or is that my old In Flames, Pissing Razors and Arch Enemy CDs. I’m not sure. It’s somewhere in the wasteland between and it’s really good stuff!

4.5/5

Paul Macmillan

Moita Metal Fest 2014 – 2nd day, 2nd part – Moita (PT)

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , on 12th April 2014 by Pieni

Gwydion, Trinta & Um, Primal Attack, Scent Of Death, Viralata, Gates Of Hell
Sociedade Filarmónica Estrela Moitense, Moita (PT)
29th March 2014

The dinner took longer than expected and when I got back to the venue, Gates Of Hell were already playing “Into My Destruction”. I was really pissed as I like them very much and wanted to see the full show. A show that also had to be cut one song short, so I was double pissed. Of course I’ve seen them about a dozen times before, but it’s the kind of band you never get tired of seeing live. Or moshing to, apparently, as the circle was restless. And speaking of mosh, both singer Raça and guitarist Filipe were wearing Mosher t-shirts, and later Primal Attack bassist Miranda would too – I guess their merch is really worth to take a look at.
By the time the gig was halfway played, Raça engaged in the thank-you list. Besides the mandatory gratitude for the crowd and the promoters Switchtense, he also included the staff – the people who were cooking the food and serving the beer. I think he was the only one who did that. And then he introduced “Constructive Misery”.
The title-track of their debut album, “Critical Obsession”, was last, Raça thanking again and saying they would be there the following year, not playing but enjoying the fest as Moita was more than a metal party – it stood for humility and friendship. (4,5 / 5)

www.facebook.com/gatesofhellband

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There are punk bands that sing about anarchy and/or against the political state of the country/continent/world. And then there are punk bands that sing about trivial stuff… like how fucking beautiful their bikes are or how they miss the silicone boobs of some chick called Ivone (who was also supposed to be gorgeous, although singer Ulisses claimed that guitarist Covas was the most beautiful “girl”). Viralata (mongrel) haven’t been around for long, but their members are quite veterans. And just because their lyrics are funny, don’t think the music is less serious – they play straightforward high-quality punk rock.
Viralata have one album so far, “Vai Buscar!” (“go get it!”), but its follow-up “Doa A Quem Doer” (“no matter who gets hurt”, in the sense of “whatever it takes”) should see the light of day this year. So I think I’m not mistaken when I say I’ve heard Ulisses introducing a new song, although I can’t tell which one.
The Portuguese underground scene is still mourning the loss of João Ribas (R.I.P.), who was much more than a punk icon. In his memory, Viralata played a cover of “Censurados” (censored), a hymn from the band with the same name where Ribas used to sing. It was the cherry on the top of a delicious cake. (5 / 5)

www.youtube.com/user/viralatapunktv

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Scent Of Death is an Iberian death metal band – Iberian as in Iberian Peninsula, meaning Portuguese and Spanish. Both singer Sérgio and drummer Rolando had played the night before with their other bands (Bleeding Display and Switchtense, respectively) but they didn’t seem tired at all – Sérgio warned of how brutal things were about to become and the band did keep that promise.
They have already two albums out, “Woven In The Book Of Hate” and “Of Martyr’s Agony And Hate”, and by their titles you can already imagine the level of aggression. “Feeling The Fear” was quite a highlight. (4 / 5)

www.facebook.com/scentofdeathmetal

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Primal Attack was formed in 2012 and played in last year’s edition of the fest – one of the first bands in the afternoon. They were already talking about an album, which would be released that June (“Humans”). And now they got one of the prime-time slots of the festival’s bill, where they would even record footage for a DVD. Talk about a meteoric rise… But I guess it’s deserved – well, I’m sure it is, given the hell they brought upon and in front of the stage.
Hugo from Switchtense put some vocals on “Despise You All” and the crowd did the same with pretty much the whole setlist. (4,5 / 5)

https://www.facebook.com/primalattack

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Trinta & Um means literally thirty-one, but in Portuguese that’s more than a number. I actually don’t know the origins of the expression, but when it’s said that “you got yourself in a thirty-one”, it means that you’re in big trouble. What better name for a punk-hardcore band?
One of the many stagedivers who climbed up there had his t-shirt tainted red. “I was going to tell him to be careful but it’s red wine after all, not blood” said singer Goblin. “I’ll say it anyway: be careful”. Trinta & Um have been around since 1995 so I’m pretty sure they’ve seen their fair share of blood on the mosh floor. At least Goblin and bass player Metralha, since drummer Rato and guitarist Deris are somewhat recent acquisitions.
“Advogado do Diabo” (Devil’s advocate) would be dedicated to everyone, especially (once again) Hugo from Swithtense for giving them the opportunity of playin there. And the last song, a song about their hometown Linda-A-Velha and suitable called “Linda-A-Velha Hardcore” went to the aforementioned late punk legend João Ribas, for everything he’s done and would still do for punk and music in general in Portugal. (5 / 5)

www.facebook.com/trintaeum.lvhc

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There’s a reason why Gwydion is the most popular folk metal band from Portugal and every time I see them live I remember it. And not even when singer Rúben felt sick and had to leave the stage for a while – a “technical problem with my stomach”, he later explained – did the party stop.
Promoting their third full-length album, “Veteran” (released last November), they had lots of fans who I didn’t see up front during the rest of the fest – so I guess it’s not wrong to assume they were there just for Gwydion. Which is another proof that they don’t need Eurovision Song Contest to express their talent – the band won the online poll by 87%, meaning they were the people’s clear choice, but then RTP, the Portuguese channel which is promoting the Portuguese contest, didn’t let them participate (typical prejudiced minds). Other bands could have closed the night, but having Gwydion do it was just as rightful. (5 / 5)

www.facebook.com/GwydionPT

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More pics here.

First part here.

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Moita Metal Fest 2014 – 2nd day, 1st part – Moita (PT)

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , on 6th April 2014 by Pieni

My Enchantment, Equaleft, Tales For The Unspoken, Diabolical Mental State, Kapitalistas Podridão, Burn Damage
Sociedade Filarmónica Estrela Moitense, Moita (PT)
29th March 2014

For the Portuguese metalheads, the last weekend of March means Moita Metal Fest. As I made an introduction to this fest when I wrote about what I’ve seen of last year’s edition, I invite you to read the first two paragraphs of it here https://valkyrianmusic.com/2013/03/27/moita-metal-fest-2nd-day/ instead of writing it all over again (and please don’t mistake my practicality for laziness).

This year we managed to see the first band. Not from the beginning, but I think we’ve only missed a song or two – brownies for the bus trip promoters. That first band, Burn Damage, was a groove-death-metal one formed in 2008 and which has been female-fronted for the last three years – something for which Inês was very grateful and publicly expressed so, thanking her bandmates for helping her grow so much as a singer.  She’s quite good indeed, her growling brutal and steady. Bass player Sílvia (yes, another girl) uses her fingers instead of a pick, which always deserves my respect, and guitarist Nuno shows how fiercely he is into the music through funny faces. Together with drummer Alex, they put up a heavy and loud gig. Highlights on the title-track of their debut EP “Reborn” and on “Burn ‘Em All”. (4 / 5)

https://www.facebook.com/BurnDamage

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When I first saw the name Kapitalistas Podridão (kapitalists rot – yes, with a “k” – the Portuguese correct form is also with a “c”, as in English), I immediately assumed it was an anarcho-punk band. I was wrong. The anti-political lyrical theme is pretty much the same, but Kapitalistas Podridão is a death metal band. Or at least I think the lyrical theme is the same, given the song introductions made by singer/guitarist Bixo – you can’t really understand the words in a death metal piece unless you have the lyrics in front of you.
Formed in early 2012, I don’t think they have any recordings yet but they’ve been playing live quite a lot, so songs such as “Podridão Nacional” (national rot), “Epidemia Social” (social epidemic) or “Sanguessugas Esturpadoras” (raping leeches) were recognized by some. And rejoiced by many. (4 / 5)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kapitalistas-Podrid%C3%A3o/206774852779498

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Groovy thrash is Diabolical Mental State flavour, although the groove part gets somewhat undermined live, given the blasting force of their performance. It was the first time I was seeing them, but I’ve heard of them before, and the rumours were true – these kids are great.
Like many bands, they’ve had a few setbacks in the beginning – a.k.a. line-up changes – which delayed (but didn’t stop) their progress. They finally had their live debut last year and have been hitting the stage on a regular basis, in addition to some studio work: the EP “Basic Social Control” should be released shortly, featuring what promise to become big hits “Warfare” and “The Village”. Dice from hardcore band Steal Your Crown got on stage to help Fanã sing a song, but I don’t know which one, sorry. (4,5 / 5)

https://www.facebook.com/diabolicalmentalstate

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A little bit of thrash, a little bit of death, a little bit of ‘core… yeah, “metal” is the most pragmatic choice when it comes to describe Tales For The Unspoken. Also the African and Brazilian heritage of some of the members spice up the writing formula and the outcome is pretty powerful. Especially live.
Their debut and only album so far, “Alchemy”, is already three years old (released through the British label Casket Music) but they’re currently working on its successor, which will have the Portuguese Raising Legends stamp this time. And as MMF is the underground fest they most respect, they chose to play one of those new songs, “Soul For A Soul”, for the first time ever – singer Marco warning that there would probably be lots of slips but “it’s heavy metal, fuck it” (he curses A LOT, by the way).
They finished the set with “N’Takuba Wena” thanking the crowd, Mosher clothing, the promoters (the “brothers” in Switchtense) and Equaleft, for lending them the amps. “Don’t miss them, they’re playing next – that’s why they’re here listening to this shit”. Ha ha! (4,5 / 5)

https://www.facebook.com/talesfortheunspoken

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Equaleft also got a deal with Raising Legends for their upcoming debut album “Adapt & Survive”. The release is scheduled for 31st May, so they thought it was about time to play some new tunes: “New False Horizons” (which kicked off the gig), “Human” and “Maniac”. During the latter, singer Miguel dived into the audience and crowdsurfed to the back of the venue, as if to bring the songtitle to life. But it was probably just a coincidence, as he’s famous for doing this kind of thing. Same with the lightsaber he coordinates the mosh pit with in the beginning of “Invigorate”, a joke that’s become a mandatory tradition now.
The new songs sound stronger than ever, all those strings (6 in the bass, 8 in each guitar) giving a richer meaning to the band’s motto “in groove we trust”. Amazing gig, as alwaays. (5 / 5)

https://www.facebook.com/equaleft

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The last band before the break for dinner was the dark melodic death metal act My Enchantment, who are currently promoting their new EP “The Death Of Silence”. They have a long and somewhat successful career around here, so it was no surprise to see many devoted fans approaching the stage even before the intro echoed. As the fest was running late and I knew the promoters would cut that break shorter, I sadly only stayed for the first three songs. But it was enough to rate it as great (even with the few technical problems that bass player Fernando faced around the second track). (4 / 5)

https://www.facebook.com/My.Enchantment.PT

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More pics here.

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino