And here we are again in the fourteenth edition of SWR Barroselas Metal Fest, each time bigger and always with better improvements to several levels.
The stage layout remained the same as last year (one main stage, second one and a third smaller one outside the tent), but the background theme was different, if the theme of the last year were witches this year was crawling insects, and as a consequence there was a giant sculpture of a beetle by the artist André Coelho: (http://homemdopacote.wordpress.com/ ) with a huge sculpture of a beetle on the left side of the main stage. This guy did all the artwork for the fest; you should really check it out!
One of the greatest improvements was the screen projections on the right side of Stage 1 regarding the quality of the transmitted image. A new enhancement was also the live broadcast from the official website of the festival; this was undoubtedly one step ahead to international promotion and a big treat to for all those who for one reason or another couldn’t make it.
The leaflets of the festival also had more information about the bands much more complete (and now in other languages such as English and Spanish). Despite improovements on logistics, the weather conditions did not favor, humidity and rain arrived Friday to only clear on Sunday.
After so many years of metalheads complaining about beer brands, prayers were heard: there was finally one for everyone to enjoy, albeit more expensive than last year, many people ended buying outside the tent, this was also because the bars of the sport complex nearside the fest were open and had a lot of cheaper drinks.
Some negative points were the lack of decent WC’s, there was only a few of portable toilets, it was really difficult to find a place nearby the tent with stuff like cigars, lighters, chewing gum, snacks, water etc. The sound was too loud in almost every show and there was a LOT of smoke inside the tent, so much you couldn’t even see the band that was performing.
Also the absence of medical emergency teams is a legal excuse to cancel the festival with a very heavy fine. These are some aspects we expect to get better in the next edition SWR XV (15th anniversary) which is going to last 5 days! So they better get things right!
Only when we arrived we heard that Dragged into Sunlight and the band Tinner that was scheduled to be the last band of this night had cancelled.
Voivod (Stage 1) – The entry of this band completely changed the mood of people who were somewhat apathetic to the wave of doom that had previously felt with bands such as Cough and Menace Ruin. They started with enough energy, discharging some old school thrash; the drum’s double pedal was earblasting. Good attitude and sympathy of the band, the singer had a very expressive and funny posture (although he seemed a little bit drunk) he managed to draw the public’s attention and participation. Thumbs up for the song “Global Warning”and Pink Floyd’s cover “Astronomy Domine”.
Ratos de Porão (Stage 1) – It started with some delay; the singer was still in conversation backstage with people from Voivod who were already packing their stuff to continue their tour.
One of the first things that "Fatty John" said to the Portuguese public was "do you know what the difference between RDP and other bands is? Is that we sing in Portuguese! ”saying no more the audience went crazy. Anyway, he did not forget the Galician public was at the festival and spoke in Spanish as well. Among the songs that turn the place upside down with the biggest circle pit I’ve ever seen there were “crucificados pelo sistema”, “crianças sem futuro” and “testemunhas do apocalipse”. They played three more songs in the encore including a cover of Extreme NoiseTerror "Work for Never", dedicated to the band's lead singer who past recently.
More cancellations: the news that Sourvein, Purgatory and Birushanah were not coming was in fact disappointing. There was a bigtime confusion because this would change the schedules of the other bands playing before or next to the ones who have been cancelled.
Filii Ningrantium Infernalium (Stage 1) – A Portuguese metal classic, they played 2 years ago in the SWR XI Edition in the secondary stage and there were some complaints because this was a band with a long career (since 1991) and influence among Portuguese metal, so people thought they deserved more respect and they should have played in the main stage; so this time they played in the “big league”.
They entered on stage with some technical problems that delayed the concert. At first glance it was noticeable that Belathauzer (vocals) had a very provocative and new look (check the photos).
One of the characteristics of Belathauzer performance is the sense of humor he gives to religious comments he usually makes. This was the time of Pope John Paul II, to whom he dedicated the show. He called the hordes with the inverted crucifix and started with a repertoire mostly based on their last album, with tracks such as “Calipso” “Morte Geometrica” but also “Puta Infernal” and a new one from their recent EP called “Ecuménica Morte”.
Web (Stage 2) – They played instead of Jesus Crost due to the changes of schedule Jesus Crost ended up playing after Taake. Celebrating 25 years of career Web didnt disappointed the fans, the new songs from their last album called “Deviance” such as “Awake” and "(In)sanity" were surprisingly faster and heavier riffs and than we're used to hear from them. They also played some older stuff such as “If Only There Was Light” and they ended up with "Last War" with the singer of Equaleft joining them on stage (who also was playing at the festival).
Taake (Stage 1) – They made a Killer entrance, the sound was great and in terms of posture, honestly, they were all that I would have expected from a black metal band: pure mayhem and wrath. Hoest had a very strong and aggressive presence on stage, he truly delivered the genuine Norwegian spirit of their music. Even after the show, his presence wouldn’t be easy to forget. Soon after they played they came out and socialize with Portuguese metalheads, they even took pictures (mostly with girls of course, some of them were even bitten), talk with Portuguese fans, drank cheap nasty wine from plastic bags among other “joyful activities”. Surprisingly they were probably one of the bands that most interacted with the audience at the festival.
Venom (Stage 1) – for the first time in Portugal, it was probably one of the most acclaimed bands of the Festival. However it was a shame that the sound was too loud, you could hardly hear the voice, though some have said that the low overall sound quality was not the fault of the staff of the SWR but the band’s sound technicians. They played some of the most known songs such as "Black Metal” "Countess Bathory" and in the end”In League with Satan".
Necros Christos (Stage 2) – there was a lot of smoke on stage when NC started, the singer wore an oriental robe and began, the band has great quality, the people who didnt know them (me included) certainly didn’t leave disappointed. The sound was great, and the voice of Mors scandals Ra Eco was very impressive.
Evile (Stage 1) – A very cohesive band, this was their second time here in SWR, they took the opportunity to presente us their new bassist.
One more band had cancelled: Frontal and it was too the closing band of the fest. They were replaced by the Portuguese metal band “Goattfukk”.
Disgorge (Stage 2) – very disappointing, the sound was awful, you could barely listen to the the guitar's and also the voice wasnt good at all. It was very sad because the expectations were high.
Alcest (Stage 1) –
It was a good concert, the most awaited song was "Souvenirs d'un AutreMonde, however I think it is difficult to draw a good live sound for this band. In general I was noticeable some detuning from Neige, I think he need to work harder on the voices.
A relatively low point of the concert (and perhaps for others a funny one) was the appearance among the audience of Hoest (Taake) accompanied by Tundra showing a shovel in sign of repudiation almost saying something like "your music is for the dead" or "we're here to bury you ".
Atheist – showed a good attitude, the new elements (bass and guitar) matched very well, this was the last concert of the tour.
They played songs from their first albums such as “Air”, “MotherMan” and “Piece of Time”, these songs were undoubtedly one of their highest moments, they dedicated a theme to Roger Patterson. The supremacy of their technical skills did not fail to surprise and managed to draw the attention of many who weren’t expecting the quality of this technical death metal from Florida.
The singer had a typical American relaxed posture, he was always talking to the audience and making jokes about who might have weed. Vocals Kelly Shaefer had an immense patience with a drunk guy who was continuosly going upon stage trying to grab the band members, one of the attempts ended up pouring wine over the microphone, still Kelly remained calm and told some jokes like "that is one happy motherf *** er "or " i want to have whatever this motherf *** er is smoking ".
But this didnt stop the “stage bully” going upstage and disrupting the environment, the swr crew intervened so many times that Kelly himself called them "metal Politicians".
Satanic Warmaster (Stage 1) – They played some tracks from the Carelian Satanist Madness and from the Nachzehrer such as "Satan's Werewolf, and "The Vampiric Tyrant". No complaints about the sound, it was as powerful and solid as Taake (whom by the way were in front headbaging to the sound of their Finnish mates).
One awkward moment was when the singer stopped the concert because of an “unsatisfied customer” who was showing them the finger, conclusion: they stopped playing and made her go upstage, "can you tell us whats wrong with Satanic Warmaster?”The girl said nothing and went back to the gesture, she soon left the stage and the vocals said" I'll tell you what's wrong, we broke tha pussy last night”. This childish attitude from both parts was unfortunately applauded by the crowd. The concert continued later on with highlights for the last song which was a cover of Manowar "Fighting the World" in tribute to drummer Scott Columbus.
Goatfukk (Stage 2) – Black metal with punk attitude, they had a replacement singer
This was the band closing this SWR edition and it ended up in total chaos: a bunch of drunken people invaded the stage in underpants and tried repeatedly to “sodomize” the members of the band. Even so this didn’t distract the band members who gave a great show.
Voivod, RDP, Taake, Venom, Atheist and Satanic Warmaster were excellent concerts though the sound of some bands wasn’t t always at the best conditions. Anyway it’s good to know that the organization of the festival is always improving and increasingly growing. And more important, they are listening to their customers and making improvements and changes based on opinions and experiences of the Portuguese metalheads who frequent the fest.