Archive for Switchtense

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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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 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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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More pics here.

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

20th HardMetalFest – Mangualde (PT)

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 22nd January 2014 by Pieni

Mata-Ratos, Convulse, Lacrimas Profundere, Pagan Altar, Switchtense, Dementia 13, Albert Fish, Head:Stoned, Dead Meat, Mindfeeder, Mind Holocaust, Inkilina Sazabra
C.C. Sto. André, Mangualde (PT)
11th January 2014

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HardMetalFest is not only the oldest metal fest in Portugal – 20 editions, 17 years and counting – but also the most diverse. In this edition we had a little bit of (almost) everything!

The first band setting foot on stage wasn’t exactly metal, but the dark and thick sound of Inkilina Sazabra’s industrial rock was more than suitable to such a festival. Too bad that the audience was still weak in numbers – 3:30 p.m. is way too early for the Portuguese crowd, even on a Saturday – but still there was enough people to welcome them warmly.
Formed 4 years ago by a writer and a multi-instrumentalist, they’re about to hit the studio to record their third album. That afternoon we’ve heard a fine selection from both their released works to date, “A Divina Maldade” (divine evilness) and “Almas Envenenadas” (poisoned souls). Singer Pedro Sazabra praised José Rocha, the man behind the fest for all these years, and all those people who got out of the house that day, “because clicking the like-button on Facebook isn’t enough”. (4 / 5)

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The festival would then turn into a completely different direction with Mind Holocaust, who play death metal in a brutal old school style. The reception of the crowd was a different kind of warm, more physical… I’m obviously talking about mosh circles. The venue wasn’t full yet, so the circles weren’t that big, but they were surely intense. Two albums out, with very suggestive titles – “Full Eye Horror Reflect” and “Condemned Souls” – their performance was quite raw and aggressive. (4 / 5)

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Mindfeeder had a lot of enthusiastic fans, proving that power metal is alive and kicking around here. After a few back steps, they finally released their debut full-length last year, “Endless Storm”, and some people sang vigorously along. Others just screamed “hey hey” real loud while raising their fists in the air to the sound of “Colours Of The Skies”, “Feed Your Mind” or “Memories” (dedicated to the aforementioned hardcore fans who have been supporting the band through the years). Really nice vibe.  (4,5 / 5)

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Brutal death/grind-gore Dead Meat have been around for 20 years… literally. Studio is not their thing, the stage is. Singer Dinis recalled having played HardMetalFest back in 1999, thanking José Rocha once again not only for the chance of returning to that festival but also for the excellent job he’s been doing for the underground scene. “Died With Open Eyes”, “Good Clean Cut” or the Dying Fetus cover of “Kill Your Mother, Rape Your Dog” were some of the songs that ignited the mosh circles. (4 / 5)

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Somewhere between prog and thrash, Head:Stoned followed up.  They’ve been around for more than 7 years now and I believe they’ve grown quite a lot, both musical and performance-wise. The songs are more consistent, stronger, and bass player Vera is finally getting loose, showing real emotion while playing, and singer Vítor stopped with the private jokes… in a nutshell: they’re sounding better and looking more professional on stage. Promoting their latest EP “Present Inexistence” and adding also some songs from their previous works – the other EP “Within The Dark” and the debut full-length “I Am All” – one of their highest moments is still the track “This Void”, which the hardcore fans of the band call “Pim Pim Pim song” (due the splash cymbal beats in it). (4,5 / 5)

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Albert Fish is not only a cannibal rapist serial killer from the late 1800, it is also a street punk band, and as singer Gustavo himself said, they’re not used to play in that kind of festival, more into metal. But one way or another, it’s all underground music and they did pretty well, were very well received by the metalheads, with their speedy rhythm and energetic attitude. They had songs for everybody – the crowd, the other bands, the promoter – but the whole show was dedicated to the memory of Rui “Rocker” Ramos (R.I.P.), guitar player in Crise Total and an icon in the national punk movement, who passed away last November. (4,5 / 5)

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As there is a punk band in Brisbane called Dementia 13, I should call your attention that this is the Portguese old school death metal one. Formed barely three years ago, they’re already some kind of cult band given its all-star line-up (members from Holocausto Canibal, Pitch Black and Biolence, which may not mean much to you but means loads in the Portuguese underground). This show proved once more the excellency of these musicians and that “old school” by no means equals to “out-of-fashion”. The crowd relished in that throbbing riffing and moshed in matching raw aggression. (4,5 / 5)
It was also during this gig that a metal fan, Sérgio Rocha, offered José Rocha an art piece in forged metal, with the HMF initials, in celebration of the 20th edition of the fest.

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Now I’ve been talking about all these great gigs but not given the highest rating. I’m not being overly strict; I just wanted to be fair with Switchtense, as I honestly believe theirs was slightly better than the rest, and therefore the best gig of the festival. No wonder they’re getting some recognition outside our borders, in Germany and Holland especially. Songs such as “State Of Resignation”, “Face Off”, “Infected Blood”, “Ghosts Of Past” or “Into The Words Of Chaos” turned the circles into a hurricane. What a blast! (5 / 5)

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The spirits cooled down a bit with the British doom of Pagan Altar. But as soon as Terry Jones got on stage, in his Victorian outfit and embraced by blue smoke, the power went down! It had already happened outside, in the food corner, but so far it hadn’t affected the stage. It was really frustrating to many, as apparently Pagan Altar was the reason they were there. But it all got sorted out some 10 minutes later and there wasn’t any other problem – although Terry joked when announcing the last song “(…) if the electricity doesn’t go out again”. The crowd was enthralled, despite Terry’s voice lacking a bit of strength. But the feeling was all there and so I couldn’t really complain – especially with the entire ovation they got. “Sentinels Of Hate”, “The Lords Of Hypocrisy”, “The Witches Pathway” or “The Room Of Shadows” took us on an occult medieval journey, and “Dance Of The Vampires” (that Terry had previously announced but his son and guitarist Alan whispered something to his ear and he told us to forgot everything he’d just said) ended up being played after all, on a second encore that I believe was unexpected even for the band – either we were a really good audience that deserved the “one more” which was being screamed, or the promoter wanted to compensate for the initial blackout. (4 / 5)

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Also Lacrimas Profundere, playing for the first time in Portugal, had their fair share of fans. Their latest album “Antiadore”, although not bombastic, is still pretty good, missing innovation and originality, which at the same time can be regarded as a trademark, a sticking-to-their-formula kind of thing. One way or the other, the mix of rock and goth, of spunk and gloom that these Germans produce on stage is of high quality and needless to say that it works out awesomely well – no matter how repetitive it may sound in the studio. The response of the audience was equally great, especially if we consider that the majority of the attendees was into much heavier stuff.
I haven’t seen any official statement announcing Clea Clemens as their new bass player, or why his brother Christoph was sitting behind the drums instead of Dominik Scholz, but both blended in easily with the rest of the band and did their jobs very well, in a concert heavy with emotion. (4,5 / 5)

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Sadly, I wasn’t feeling very well and couldn’t stay for the Finnish death metal act Convulse and the national punk/hardcore legends Mata-Ratos. Someone had lit a fire a few feet away and I sat there, regaining my strength. But people who I later talked to assured me both bands were great, each in their own style.

Technical problems and delays aside, it was another great edition of this festival. May many more come our way!

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Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

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