Archive for Raising Legends

Equaleft’s “We Defy” release party – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , on 3rd February 2019 by Pieni

Equaleft, Analepsy, Web, Sotz’
Hard Club (Sala 2), Porto (PT)
1st February 2019
Promoted by Raising Legends

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Despite the ticket presale going on a steady run, Equaleft singer Miguel Inglês never believed he’d have a sold out venue. Now, he has this pet hate of sorts for Manowar and he promised to buy a Manowar album in case the tickets did sell out. Guess who’s adding “Sign Of The Hammer” to their CD collection?

sotzwedefyAs I’ve mentioned before (read here), Sotz’ have been evolving so much and playing in so many events that I didn’t realize this was this first Hard Club show until singer Dan mentioned it. The room still wasn’t at its full capacity – Friday traffic was even more chaotic due to the storm and a couple of other events in the neighborhood – but it was crowded and supportive enough to leave no doubt about the genuineness of Dan’s “thank you for being here”. That gratitude also produced a new song, “The Return Of Kukulcan”, right before the last one “Tzak’ Sotz’”.

https://www.facebook.com/sotzband/

webwedefyFrom a national popularity point of view, it didn’t make much sense to see the legendary Web get on stage next, but Analepsy had to drive about 200 miles to get to the venue – and Web just don’t care about that playing-first BS. Singer/bassist Nando was mourning a relative, who had passed just two days before, but no one could tell – he was his usual self, giving it all, and joking about Filipe’s white guitar and how the cookies Equaleft had brought were all gone by now, eaten in the backstage, so if that was why we were there, then we could go home. He also didn’t flinch when introducing the new song, ironically called “A Grave To Be Dug”. An awesome new song, by the way, bearing a sound you easily recognize as theirs. The chorus to “Mortal Sound” and “(In)Sanity” were sung along by pretty much everybody in the room.

https://www.facebook.com/web.bandofficial/

analepsywedefyBrutal death metal Analepsy, living up to the “brutal” part. Hair running in all directions on stage, while bodies did more or less the same on the floor. And that’s pretty much all I can say about it – as usual – and trust me, it is NOT a derogative report on their performance. I hate writing something as basic as “it was a great show” but in this case it will have to do. At some point there was a kind of a joke involving a rock band who was actually playing next door but it’s a Portuguese thing that even I can’t explain the fun in it, so… nope, nothing more to add.

https://www.facebook.com/analepsyofficial/

equalwedefy1Equaleft’s second full length album was featured in my expectations for 2018 but its release was held for a couple of months more and here it is, in the beginning of 2019. It’s okay, as the waiting was more than worthy (read the review here). And its live presentation…. well, their gigs are always mind-blowing, I can assure you that didn’t change a bit now! “We Defy” was played in full, but with… is 5-year-old songs too young to be considered “classics”? Anyway, “New False Horizons”, “Tremble” and “Maniac” were performed among the new ones, while “Invigorate” wrapped it all up with a golden key – without the Star Wars lightsaber but with two special guests: Sotz’-Dan and Tales For The Unspoken-Marco. Gonçalinho came on stage to play the sax on the new version of “Uncover The Masks”, and while there are no guest singers on the album, Web-Nando was called to sing along “Endless”. By the way, he lied about the cookies, obviously – a few boxes of them were offered to those who survived the violent mosh circles up front. Also, guitarist Miguel had his birthday that night and Inglês got us all singing him the “Happy Birthday” song, but the candles he blew were sitting on a symbolic kind of cupcake, so no cake for us – we deserved the other traditional cookies!

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The release of “We Defy” was a deserved tremendous success. Don’t know what’s next, but I really hope is something even bigger – maybe selling out Hard Club’s main room? -, worthy not of buying a Manowar album but playing a cover of said band…

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

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Equaleft – We Defy

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 27th January 2019 by Pieni

Equaleft
“We Defy”
Groove metal
Release: 1st February 2019
By Raising Legends

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Equaleft are labelled – even by themselves – as “groove metal”, but their sound has always been too exquisite to be defined by just two words; but since we had to go for something, given the intense throb of said sound, “groovy” is a good broad definition as any. Now “We Defy” lives up to its name and keeps pushing the envelope, but I still won’t dare coming up with a new label.

I will say, though, that the somberness has reached a new level. The very first song on the album, for instance. If prog-doom isn’t a thing yet, “Before Sunrise” could be its genesis. But then again, there’s a certain… glow in its musicality, making it sound sad but not depressing, so I guess not so doom-ish after all.

In “Once Upon A Failure” there’s this heaviness and rawness that mingle oh-so-well with the ominous echoes of its melodic chorus, while the enthralling solo, by the hands of Sullen guitar player, André Ribeiro, gives off such a vibrant darkness. The title-track’s is even more mesmerizing, as the heaviness in “Fragments” is bolder – they all have something in common and something unique which, in the end, makes us recognize it as Equaleft.

There are two other guests but none of them performing vocal parts, even though in songs such as “Endless” or “Strive” you may wonder if it’s really Miguel Inglês singing. Trust me, it is. Many people don’t know, and those who do often forget, that Miguel used to sing in a gothic/doom band (Mysterium) and that this lower, deeper pitch is very much his and fits perfectly in the darker direction some parts of this new album have taken.

It’s not even about maturity, as the previous “Adapt & Survive” was already a pretty seasoned work. It’s simply moving forward and achieving greatness once again.

[On an additional note, their former guitarist Nuno “Veggy” Cramês takes the lead on “Realign” while the third aforementioned guest is José Pedro Gonçalinho, who plays a killer sax on the revamped “Uncover The Masks” (originally featured on the 2010 EP “… The Truth Vnravels”).]

5/5

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Projecto Sem Nome – Bulas Para Dedos E Coração

Posted in Alternative, CD, Rock with tags , , , , , , , on 23rd April 2017 by Pieni

Projecto Sem Nome
“Bulas Para Dedos E Coração”
alternative rock
Released: 8th October 2016
Via Raising Legends Records

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Projecto Sem Nome is Portuguese for “nameless project”, and while some of you may see it as a tacky lack of imagination, I think it’s quite ingenious and liberating – “nameless” but it’s still the name they go by, so it’s a clever pun, and at the same time, having such an empty meaning, it’s up to you to give it one. Just like with their lyrical content, which is so full of metaphors that even if Portuguese is your mother tongue, you’ll be left wondering about what singer/lyricist Cristovão Siano really means with those words.

Musically, it’s not so hard to label them as “alternative rock” is probably the most comprehensive and vague genre ever. “Até Amanhã” (see you tomorrow), for instance, is a rough post-grunge piece seasoned with delicate acoustic guitar fragments. “Detalhes” (details) has a more upbeat and catchy main riff but eventually sounds somewhat heavier, and then the guitar solo is pretty dire, as if out of one of those eighties hard rock hits. The ballad “Identidade XXX” (identity XXX) features a xylophone and an intense vocalization, while “Havia Lá” (there was) is probably the fiercest track, a double bass drum backing up Cristóvão’s high-pitch lament towards the end. And the duet with Blame ZeusSandra in “Marcha Gole” (sip march) gives the song an extra refinement.

Is therefore safe to say that “Bulas Para Dedos E Coração” (leaflets for fingers and heart) offers a batch of rock songs written and performed on a basis of a myriad of styles and influences. One word: classy.

4 / 5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Porto Best Of – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Festival, Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 31st October 2016 by Pieni

Tarantula, Equaleft, Redemptus
Rivoli Theatre, Porto (PT)
19th October 2016
Promoted by Miguel Guedes and Porto City Hall

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In a country with deep roots in metal but where such music is still much frowned at, having the City Hall backing up a metal event is a big thing. Even if we had to watch the concerts sitting down… I confess I was expecting the audience would eventually stand up, but that didn’t happen. Guess we wanted to prove the City Hall and the classy Rivoli theatre staff that we were all civilized, law-abiding citizens.
Calling it “Porto Best Of” is probably a tad pretentious, especially when there was only three bands on the bill, but then again, it showed respect for who was performing.

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The first of those bands was Redemptus, a sludge/post-metal act that was formed two years ago in S. João da Madeira (yeah, the “Porto” part is also misleading). Why them and not some other with a longer career? Well, first, they’re good, and that’s reason enough; but there’s a second, which lies in their members having been around way longer and built quite a career in several different projects. Surrounded by smoke and dim-lit by red lights, the trio performed pieces featured in their debut “We All Die The Same”, released by Raging Planet Records early last year.

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For Equaleft the darkness remained but now in shades of blue. At least now we had permission to shoot the first two songs in front of the stage (thanks for that, André). This was the second to last show promoting “Adapt & Survive” (review here) and, sadly, also the next-to-farewell performance of drummer Marcos – his personal life got to a point where playing in such an active band as Equaleft wasn’t possible anymore.
It was really weird watching Equaleft sitting down. While it’s easily manageable to headbang in that position to Redemptus’ sound, Equaleft’s groove makes your whole body pulse and the urge for movement is harder to control. But we did it, somehow. As for the band themselves, they didn’t stop and the floor literally throbbed to songs like “New False Horizons”, “Invigorate” (the light-saber song) or “When Ruin Becomes A Bliss”.

 photo JORGEMARQUES_zps265pomke.jpgTarantula is one of the biggest names in our heavy metal history so even though they haven’t been playing much and their latest record dates from 2010, it made sense to have them headlining this event. Their career hits the 35-year mark, if we count the four years going by Mac Zac. In 1990 they would release what’s considered their most significant album, “Kingdom Of Lusitania”, and that’s the album they celebrated that night. Among the big hits of the rest of their discography, that is, such as “You Can Always Touch The Sky”, “Freedom’s Call” or “Face The Mirror”. No “Power Tower”, though a few fans asked for it… Still, in the end, I didn’t see any disappointment in the almost sold out theatre except for that – that it had ended. After more than three decades, Tarantula still know how to pull a great heavy metal show and make you sing along and raise your fists like there’s no tomorrow.
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I believe bands and audience proved that metal is something worth supporting and that more events like this will follow. I just hope they reconsider the chairs…

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Heavenwood w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 1st April 2016 by Pieni

Heavenwood, The Temple, Blame Zeus, Gates Of Hell
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
26th March 2016
Promoted by Raising Legends

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In late February, Heavenwood released their fifth record “The Tarot Of The Bohemians” (review here) and the first release party took place about a month later, in a full-enough Hard Club. Other three top-notch bands from the national scene were on the bill, all of them so different from each other, making this a diverse event, even more interesting than “just” a release show.

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First band on stage was Gates Of Hell, delivering their thrash-death-’core like they owned the place. I guess one can still call Márlon “the new guy”, as he was introduced as the new singer only last December (report here), but to me it feels like he’s been there all along.
There was a couple of missteps but I believe it wasn’t entirely their fault – trust me, I’ve seen them over a dozen times by now; the sound was a bit messy at first, so my guess is that they were having trouble listening to each other. Whatever or whoever was to blame, they went on so passionately that no one cared about such slips.
The show had begun at nine, half an hour later than scheduled, but still Márlon thanked the crowd for getting there so early to see them (20:30 is pretty early for a gig here in Portugal). The title-track of their debut (and so far only) album “Critical Obsession” closed their set.

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www.facebook.com/gatesofhellband

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Things cooled down considerably with Blame Zeus, as their more progressive approach is spirited but much less aggressive. They’re about to go through some major line-up changes – both guitarists and the bassist still played the show but have already announced their departure – which Sandra called “a new cycle”. And with the beginning of that cycle, she introduced a new song, “Queen”, about her career and what she had done to get that far and how it meant having to be mean sometimes… The new song has pretty much the same vibe, so the fans don’t need to worry about these changes, as Blame Zeus will continue the path of their usual sound.
Speaking of fans, there were plenty there that night and one in particular was celebrating his birthday. Sandra spared us from singing the happy birthday theme, dedicating him his favorite song instead, “Incarnate”.

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www.facebook.com/BlameZeus
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Then veterans The Temple brought down the house with their fiery alternative rock. Personally, it was the band I was most eager to see, since it had been eleven years (yes, eleven!) since I’d last seen them. And they didn’t let me down, nor the public in general. I believe they’ve made a lot of new fans. And spicing up their own great music with a cover of Mão Morta’s “Budapeste” (yeah, I know this won’t say anything to people outside of our country, but to us, it does a lot) and a tribal drum solo to which singer João and guitarist Marcelo gave both of their helping hands, their performance was a 5-star one.

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www.facebook.com/thetempleband

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I’m having mixed feelings about Heavenwood’s gig. Maybe I had set my expectations too high, maybe I was still in an adrenaline rush from The Temple show, but the truth is that I felt something was missing. The setlist was perfect; they’d promised to revisit their whole discography and so they did, and not just one song from each previous album, as some people had joked. However they tweaked the synths of the older ones to the point that I didn’t even recognize them at first. It seems the idea was to make them  photo _DSC0141 copy_zpsubhe4jzm.jpgsound heavier, but at least “Emotional Wound”, my all-time favorite, sounded anything but. I already didn’t like its softer version in “Diva”, as the original, while they still went by Disgorged, was way heavier; and somehow they managed to tone it down even more that night. That might have helped with my mild disappointment.
The new live musicians made an impression – drummer Eduardo is quite skillful; guitarist Victor smiled and headbanged all the time; there isn’t a spot on stage that bassist André didn’t cover. Frontman Ricardo also looked to be “feeling it” deeper than usual, but his voice went out of tune a few times. As for Ernesto, it was the other way around: his voice sounded better than ever, but his mind seemed somewhere else. Something missing, I keep saying. Me and a few others, but luckily, the majority of the fans left with a smile on their face, after the “Frithiof’s Saga” and “Suicidal Letters” encore. And I won’t let one less good gig destroy my belief in them. Plus, at some point Ricardo said that “stopping is dying”, referring to the band’s sound evolution. I’ve been keeping tabs on that evolution since the first album, I definitely won’t stop now.

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www.facebook.com/HeavenwoodOfficial

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Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Wrath Sins – Contempt Over The Stormfall

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

Wrath Sins
“Contempt Over The Stormfall”
Thrash metal
Released: 26th September 2015
Via Raising Legends Records

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Wrath Sins picked up the classic thrash metal, filtered the edginess with some prog and “Contempt Over The Stormfall” was born. It’s not exactly modern thrash metal; it’s thrash metal with a polished twist.

In the mix there’s also a graver tone of vocals, unlike the high pitches this genre has gotten us used to. It’s still clean and aggressive, like Bobby Blitz or Chuck Billy’s, but a notch lower than theirs. And then there’s the growling backing vocals, functioning as a spicy seasoning. Still they invited some “legends” of their hometown underground to enrich the outcome – Fernando Martins of Web sings in the straightforward “Textured Vengeance” while Miguel Inglês of Equaleft helps out in the groovy (what else?) “Solipsism”.

Musically/instrumentally speaking, “Contempt Over The Stormfall” is a pretty consistent, solid album, featuring beefy riffs (the title-track, ”To Where The Waves Break”) and classy guitar pieces (my favorite “Watching Time Collapse”, or “Paradox”). Well done, boys.

3,5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Raising Legends Xmas Special – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 24th December 2015 by Pieni

Equaleft, Gates Of Hell, Tales For The Unspoken, Wrath Sins
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
19th December 2015
Promoted by Raising Legends

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Raising Legends Records, by the hands of its CEO André Matos, gathered its finest bands and put up a 2-day festival, naming it after the current season – after all, Christmas is about love and joy and family, and Raising Legends Xmas Special was full of those, along with the top-notch music.
Sadly, I couldn’t attend the first night, where the alternative/more-rock-oriented bands played. Would have loved to witness Cristovão Siano’s (PROJECTO SEM NOME) on-stage reveries, as well as EQUALEFT-Malone debut as the new BLAME ZEUS bassist, but I had already confirmed my presence at another gig.

 photo _DSC0618 copy_zpsyhice6a3.jpgPeople here are used to underground events starting late but forgot that Hard Club is an on-time venue (especially when it has other shows taking place afterwards). Such neglect resulted in WRATH SINS being welcomed by a far smaller audience than they deserved, but their performance didn’t suffer from it – they still thrashed away like there was no tomorrow. Which is where they got most of their popularity, actually – their debut album, “Contempt Over The Stormfall”, was released late September (review on the way) but they already had a solid fan base due to their heated live shows, the aggression of Miguel’s main vocals backed up by the graver tone of bass player Ricardo’s working pretty swell. That and the medley of cartoon themes, thrash metal style, which pumped the mosh squad that night as well. Promoting the aforementioned album, the rest of the set was comprised of songs from it, like the title-track and “Watching Time Collapse”.
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www.facebook.com/Wrathsins

 photo _DSC0788 copy_zpsfll2zcce.jpgWhen TALES FOR THE UNSPOKEN got on stage, the crowd had considerably grown bigger, but it wasn’t at its full yet. The absentee’s loss – TFTU are always great live but there was something about this gig that made it better than the several others I’ve seen of them.
2015 saw the release of the band’s sophomore album, “CO2” (review here), which features EQUALEFT-Miguel Inglês – who went by “Jedi Mig” that night… – in the song “I, Claudius”. He was obviously called on stage and singer Marco Fresco told the crowd that later it would be EQUALEFT’s last show with drummer Marcos, as the band had already found a replacement named Miguel. It was a joke, of course, regarding the recent announcement of new guitarist Miguel, making him the third member in the band with the same name. The singer called it the “Miguelification process”. Fresco, the everlasting amuser.
Other recent songs included “Taken” and “Soul For A Soul” (introduced as “soul for a fucking soul”…) but also oldies, from “Alchemy”, like “Say My Name” or “N’Takuba Wena”, had a major role in this party.
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www.facebook.com/talesfortheunspoken

 photo _DSC0272 copy_zps7donk7gy.jpgGATES OF HELL’s show was highly anticipated – not just because they’d been away for a while, but also because they would finally reveal the identity of their new singer. A new song/single, “My Path”, from the band’s upcoming second album, had been made available about a week before, but the name of the singer remained a secret. We were teased to guess, but no one could, since he indeed has some name in the underground scene but for his work behind the drumkit! The new GATES OF HELL singer is no other than Diogo Márlon, the WRATH SINS drummer. And boy, can he sing! Also, if he was any nervous – I can only imagine the difference between holding the mic instead of the drumsticks – one couldn’t tell. He just belonged there – in that role, in that band. Without any kind of disregard for the previous singers, but I feel like Márlon is the best fit in GOH so far – third is the charm indeed.
“My Path” was the only new song performed, everything else came from the debut “Critical Obsession” – the title-track finishing the set – but they also played “happy birthday” to a fan named Jessica. What a great comeback!
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www.facebook.com/gatesofhellband

 photo 2904_zpsv2fqtvjy.jpgIt wasn’t Marcos last show with EQUALEFT but it was Veggy’s. We told you about the guitarist’s departure (read article here) but since he had come to visit family and friends for Christmas, he took this chance to say a proper goodbye to the fans. EQUALEFT is one of those bands that never lets you down, but given the significance and emotional level of such show, it’s impossible to put into words just how intense their performance was. And the matching response of the crowd.
Near the end of the show, for “Hymns Of Obedience” and “Invigorate”, Veggy gave place to Miguel Martins, making this also a welcome party and official introduction of “the new guy”. And while Jedi Mig was wielding his lightsabre in the last song, Veggy stagedived and crowdsurfed.
But there was still one minute and half left, and they wanted to make the best of every second; so they went back to the EP “… The Truth Vnravels” and played “Uncover The Masks” – a song that originally lasts 2:11. Not sure if they simply played it faster or improvised some tweaks – the whole night had been a bliss for me to notice – but whatever it was, it worked wonders.
Before the group pic with the fans in the back, Jedi Mig gave away cookies to the fans in the front. He gives a whole new meaning to “Come to the Dark Side – we have cookies”…
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www.facebook.com/equaleft

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

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