Archive for Vagos

Vagos Open Air 2014 – 1st day

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

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

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

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

Gates Of Hell official facebook

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

Kandia official facebook

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

Sylosis official facebook

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

Soilwork official facebook

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

Epica official facebook

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

Kreator official facebook

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

Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

More pics in our Facebook page HERE.

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Vagos Open Air 2013 – 2nd day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , on 18th August 2013 by Pieni

Testament, Gamma Ray, Iced Earth, Rotting Christ, Tarantula, Web
Quinta do Ega, Vagos (PT)
10th August 2013

Photos originally taken for Portuguese webzine Sound(/)Zone.

The second day of the festival was much heavier. And more experient, having all bands been founded in the eighties.
Without any record label to pull the strings, Web got a well-deserved opening spot all by themselves. And they simply tore the stage down! I’ve seen these guys literally dozens of times and this was one of their best shows, despite one of the shortest as well. The crowd seemed to agree with me, and right from the beginning the security guys had their hands full with the moshers and crowdsurfers, as “Life Aggression”, “(In)Sanity” or “Beautiful Obsession” sounded sharper than ever.

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When Tarantula got on stage, their power metal didn’t sound so powerful. Maybe we were all still too high from the adrenaline shot of the previous band, but whatever the reason, when “Spiral Of Fear” first echoed, the general feeling was a bit dull – and I don’t mean just the crowd reaction. Eventually things got a little better and there were loud shouts and fists in the air during songs such as “Afterlife” or “You Can Always Touch The Sky”. Still they lacked a little spunk. It wasn’t a bad show, not at all, but it was far from great.

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Rotting Christ restored the high spirits of the crowd, with a fierceness that is no stranger to their live performances. From the early days with “The Forest Of N’Gai” and “Transform All Suffering Into Plagues”, to the more recent “Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy” and “In Yumen – Xibalba”, going through the Thou Art Lord cover “Societas Satanas” and the iconic “Athanati Este”, the Greeks put up a hell of a show (no pun intended).

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Iced Earth was probably the biggest surprise. I know it was for me. The band has been in a kind of downfall since the first time Matt Barlow left, and even if “Dystopia” was considerably better, it still didn’t impress me. I might listen to it again more carefully now, after seeing what “new” singer Stu Block is really capable of. He gave this band a fresh air, bringing back to life songs like “Burning Times”, “Pure Evil” or “I Died For You”. Also the songs from “Dystopia” – by the way, in “V” Stu wears the matching anonymous mask – get a whole new vibe when performed outside the studio. After “Iced Earth” there was still time for one more, and they chose “The Hunter”, promising to come back soon, maybe when promoting the new album, due for early 2014.

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It seems that Biff Byford suffered an injury of sorts and Saxon had to cancel in the last minute. Gamma Ray stepped in and they’re the kind of band to pull through a kiss-ass show with a 24-hour notice – even if Kai Hansen felt he needed to trade some of the high pitches for low ones, but I’m guessing that has nothing to do with unexpected shows…
“Anywhere In The Galaxy”, “New Order”, the new “Master Of Confusion”, “Rebellion In Dreamland”, “To The Metal”… a parade of traditional heavy/power metal tunes. And, of course, the mandatory Helloween cover, that this time came in double: “Future World” and “I Want Out”.

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I don’t know if Chuck Billy was tired or sick, but his voice was a bit hoarse. Not his presence, though – Testament hit the stage with full force and kept it up like that for almost one hour and a half.
First they promoted their recent stuff – a few songs from “Dark Roots Of Earth”, “More Than Meets The Eye” from the previous one – and then it was old school non-stop: “Into The Pit”, “The Preacher”, “Alone In The Dark”, “Over The Wall”… They didn’t come back for an encore and a few more classics – like I said, Chuck wasn’t at his finest – but that didn’t change the fact that Testament was one of the best bands of this year’s Vagos Open Air.

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Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Vagos Open Air 2013 – 1st day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , on 17th August 2013 by Pieni

Lacuna Coil, Sonata Arctica, Evergrey, Moonsorrow, Bizarra Locomotiva, Secret Lie
Quinta do Ega, Vagos (PT)
9th August 2013

Photos originally taken for Portuguese webzine Sound(/)Zone.

This year’s edition of Vagos Open Air suffered some changes: new place (Quinta do Ega instead of G.D.Calvão field), new date (second weekend of August instead of the first)… And also for the first time the bill featured a non-metal band. Sure one of the guitar players was wearing a Motörhead tee and the other one is a famous metalhead around here, plus the violinist could fool you into thinking they were some kind of folk metal band. But nope, Secret Lie is a pop rock band. A good one, no doubt, but still pop rock. It was a bold move from Prime Artists to make them open the festival, but in the end it kind of worked out. They brought some of their own fans, who were pretty enthusiastic, and the general metal crowd just went along.
Besides a few songs from their debut and only album, “Behind The Truth”, they also played some Vivaldi stuff and finished the set with a brand new song, “Little Taste Of Fun”, with Tó Pica (the aforementioned famous metalhead) holding a sign from a fan, asking him for a pick, but that his biggest dream was still having a sign from a female fan asking him to get her pregnant.

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As variety is the spice of life, something totally different (and more suitable for the fest) came up afterwards – national industrial titans Bizarra Locomotiva. They haven’t released anything new since 2009 (“Álbum Negro”) but this year they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary, so…
Singer Rui Sidónio could easily be the poster boy for some energy drink, standing still not being an option. On and off stage, as during “A Procissão dos Édipos”, the very first song, he jumped into the audience and danced with the fans for quite a while.
“Anjo Exilado”, a song which features Fernando Ribeiro (Moonspell) in its studio version, had a different special guest here – Tó Pica.
A short but awesome show – as always – which finished with “O Escaravelho”.

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I don’t know if Moonsorrow’s setlist was their usual one, but since it was the first time the Finnish Vikings were playing in Portugal, performing all songs from different albums couldn’t be better. It was like a best-of. Of course that, given the long length of each track and barely an hour to play, they couldn’t visit their whole discography. Still they made a hell of a party with “Unohduksen lapsi”, “Köyliönjärven Jäällä “, “Taistelu Pohjolasta”, “Sankaritarina “ and “Kuolleiden Maa”.

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Their Swedish neighbours from Evergrey had never played in Portugal either. I still think their melodic dark prog works better indoors, but as the sun was setting, it also created the right mood to embrace songs such “As I Lie Here Bleeding”, “Rulers Of The Mind” or the beautiful Dilba cover “I’m Sorry”. “Frozen”, “Monday Morning Apocalypse” and “Blinded” were some of the heaviest tracks of a great gig that closed with a golden key in the form of “A Touch of Blessing”.

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I don’t consider Sonata Arctica a power metal band anymore, especially since their latest “Stones Grow Her Name”, which is heavy rock to my ears. But when it comes to live shows, putting together both the old and the new stuff, the Finns deliver metal – as simple as that. Not even the ballads “Alone in Heaven” and “Tallulah” broke that feeling. And whether it was something classic like “FullMoon” or a newbie like “I Have A Right”, the crowd sang along to every word – screaming louder in the choruses, of course. But it was near the end that Tony Kakko asked for the usual “sing-after-me”, where besides a few variations of “oooohhhhh”, also a “Tony, shut the fuck up” was included – this because the show was about to end with “Don’t Say A Word”. Unless the outro “Vodka” counts as a song for itself.

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Lacuna Coil are indeed a lot heavier and darker now, like the title of their last album, “Dark Adrenaline”, suggests. They played “Swamped” and “Heaven’s A Lie”, but didn’t go further back than that.
Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy The Silence” has become a mandatory track, even if they covered R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” more recently. Leaving “Upsidedown”, “Trip the Darkness” and “Spellbound” for the encore, the Italian band promised not to let another ten years pass until they’d return. The crowd was more than happy to hear that.

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Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino