Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Shining (Nor) + Drums Are For Parades (28.10.2010, 013, Tilburg)



Text by: Luis Pires.
Pictures by: Wouter van de Kamp (more pictures available at Wouter's
website.)


The thing about festivals where you have bands playing in different rooms at the same time is that sometimes you have to make a hard choice. That was the case of last year's Roadburn when Shining and Jarboe were playing at the same time. My choice ended to be watching Swan's former singer due to the age difference between them and although I don't regret it, Shining's last album Blackjazz is so good that for some time I kept checking their myspace to see when could I finally see them live. I was quite pleased when I saw they were playing again in Tilburg at the end of October and I could finally get some live blackjazz action.

The show took place in the Green Room, which is somewhere in between the Bat Cave and the Main stage (maybe a bit closer to the Bat Cave) and there were two opening acts, namely a Dutch band called Cube X that I didn't get to see (hence not mentioning them in the title) and Belgium avant-garde/sludge/some-other-name-to-describe-what-they-do outfit Drums Are For Parades.



It so happens that this trio has one EP (Artificial Sacrificial Darkness In The Temple Of The Damned) and one album (Master) out and what they delivered in the Green Room was enough for me to get quite curious about them. Somehow their sound reminded me of Melvins and Mastodon, in the sense of having the more metal-like sounding and heaviness of Mastodon with a melvinish approach to it all. All in all they were heavy, loud and pretty much everybody was banging their heads along the instrumentals (at some point there seemed to be some singing from both one of the guitarists and the drummer but it was not listenable in the middle of it all). Portuguese promoters (and others alike): get this guys to play as an opening act to a good and intense sludge/stoner band in a very small venue, I think the effect will be brutal.

The fact that I can actually remember anything of DafP is a bit surprising, considering the awesomeness of Shining's show. Also that the Green Room was enough to pack everyone who wanted to see them (and the tickets did not sold out) is also a sign of them being relatively unknown: quite unfair considering how good they are.



The set list was, as expected, mostly consisting of their latest album Blackjazz with only two songs from Grindstone. They changed their sound a lot from their first few records so it does not come as a surprise and gave the show a stylistic consistency that worked quite well. When one mentions consistency while describing something done by Shining that should be taken with a pinch of salt, in the sense that their sound is a bit insane. When you have such a style (in this case a mixture of jazz and extreme metal) it is important to have a good sound, otherwise you easily loose a lot of stuff during the show and unfortunately it didn't start very well and even though there was some increase in the definition throughout the show, it was normally so loud that unless you would buy yourself a pair of earplugs, the distortion and bass sounds would completely drown everything else. This was a pity, considering how strong the opening song is - The Madness and The Damage Done (also the opening of Blackjazz). Nevertheless, the sheer energy of that song was overwhelming enough to overcome the sound problems and get things started in a great fashion.



If that wasn't enough, following up with Fish Eye should make sure to keep everyone happy straight from the beginning. The rest of the show alternated between the more experimental sides of songs from Grindstone and the intensity of the Blackjazz stuff, intertwined with a Munkeby in a very good mood ("Jazzmetal hour!"). The ending with Healter Skelter and their version of King Crimson's masterpiece 21st Century Schizoid Man was absolutely amazing and put the exclamation mark the show needed.



Music wise, any quick listening to their albums leaves you with no doubt: those guys are very good. But when you are playing that fast and that loud and with so many overlapping details on your songs, it can be quite hard to avoid making a mess on stage. Fortunately, the live versions were as good as the ones in the studio and just like in the Armageddon Concerto they played with Enslaved in that same building earlier this year, I have to highlight both Lofthus (drums) and Munkeby (voice, guitar and sax). The first one is one of the most precise drummers I've seen on a live show and that precision was really what held everything together. Regarding Munkeby: he is simply a great frontman with a suiting dose of insanity and a very good voice. Add to that the fact that he is switching between sax, guitar, singing and some other instrument he used that I don't know the name and you can get a glimpse of the picture.
The highlight of everything I mentioned came in the aforementioned version of 21st Century Schizoid Man. In Blackjazz, Grutle from Enslaved is in charge of the singing duties while Munkeby plays sax in the album, while in this case he was really in charge of everything, switching from screams (his voice is not as deep and brutal as Grutle's can be but he did a very good job) to crazy saxophone playing. You can check a video of that ending below.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Electric Wizard + Moss (31.10.2010, Burgerweeshuis, Deventer)


October 31, 2010. Halloween. What do we get? Two of the loudest, most intense bands to have ever stepped foot on this earth, which in this case means that the opening act was Moss - that Southampton's trio that gives new meaning to slow, loud and scary, authors of the excelent Sub Templum and Tombs of the Blind Drugged just to name two recent endeavours and who celebrated 10 years of doom in last year's Roadburn with one of the best shows of the entire weekend (I, for one, left the Green Room in complete astonishment and awe)- while the main attraction was Electric Wizard - for whom introductions are just not necessary and who were about to release their first record since the brilliant Witchcult Today.

The room was already packed to see Moss playing three songs (if my memory didn't decide to just blur some of them together) and with Moss that means at least half an hour where a wall, nah, let's go for a mammoth of a rock, just keeps crushing our heads in a not-so-pretty way. I mean, you have a guitar with the distortion plugged all the way until your body shakes with the sheer loudness and roughness of the thing, producing sick riff after sick riff while the drums keep the pace as slow as they can get, but in a cadence such that your head will still be banging for as long as the music goes. On top of that you get the insanity of Mr. Olly Pearson, whose screams are some of the most haunting things I have ever witnessed in a live show. While this was not up to the standard of the Roadburn show (then again, that would have been hard), they were still intense and loud, just what one would want from that it.

With the stage all set to go and expectations quite high (after their performance in Portugal this summer I couldn't stop wondering how much better would it all sound in a closed environment), the Wizard started their show (coincidence or not) just when Black Sabbath's Iron Man was playing in the room. And what did they started with?



That's right, funeral-fucking-apolis! To start the show with one of the most destructive and legendary stoner/doom anthems to have ever been written could have been a risky as some impact from could be taken from other songs, but it was actually rather effective and the message was clear: this will be a memorable night - and it was. Smoke was quickly covering the stage (and not only the stage, but I shall refrain from claiming that people were disobeying Dutch law), the sound was loud as hell (unlike in Portugal, where I felt it could have been louder) and to prove that they were not there to fuck around what better follow up to funeralapolis then Chosen Few? That was it, no living soul was putting up a fight, all embracing the Wizard's loud tunes of occultism and drugs, all paying homage to the dopethrone of doom, so rightfully occupied by Dorset's quartet. And before they presented two songs of Black Masses, it was indeed Dopethrone's homonym last tune that, for ten incredible minutes (preceded by Jus' clear instruction - "get high"), made heads bounce in furious synchrony. From the new record they took the excellent uptempo (for their standards) Black Mass itself and Nightchild, which sounded way better live than I could expect.



The following up to this 'faster' mood of Black Mass was two-fold: first the ritualistic Satanic Rites of Drugula prowled through the crowd who echoed back the great lines evoking count Drugula, the second, an unequivocal return to the, heaviest-band-in-the-world past in the form of Return Trip and Devils Bride. What was left of us quickly dissolved into the abyss provided by this two babies.

Finally, to end the night, nothing better than a song that screams 'hymn from its every 'pore' - Witchcult Today! Yes, Electric Wizard, your witchcult grows and with performances like this those who are not yet fanatics shall become so.



Both pictures taken by Enric Martinez can be found here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Menace Ruine + Aluk Todolo na europa em 2011


Retirado do site oficial de Aluk:
On tour April 2011 with Menace Ruine (Canada)
Northern Europe : 
France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, UK
for booking : joris[at]conspiracyrecords[dot]com

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Godflesh no Roadburn!

Quoting Roadburn's official website:
Roadburn is elated to announce that Birmingham’s seminal post-punk / industrial behemoths, Godflesh, will perform their seminal debut full-length album, 1989’s Streetcleaner, in its entirety at the 2011 Roadburn Festival, Thursday, April 14th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland. Not only will founding members Justin Broadrick and Benny Green play Streetcleaner in full and in track order, they will be playing the Tiny Tears EP, which was conceived as part of the overall Street Cleaner vision, in full as well.



Full announcement here.

Also worth to note that the tickets will go on sale Saturday, 27 of November at 10.00 in the morning (CET, 9.00 in Portugal).

Monday, October 18, 2010

Darkthrone - Circle The Wagons (2010)


They've done it again.

With their 15th album Darkthrone keep changing their sound ('let there be more heavy metal', they must have said) and bringing once again one of the best records of the year. Furthermore, they are beating themselves in the sense that Circle The Wagons is probably more interesting than half of their previous works. If that wasn't enough to remind you of Iron Maiden (who also released their 15th album this year and are still teaching the world how to do a classic heavy metal album) they also have maintained their mascot - again by Dennis Dread - which makes for yet another awesome cover.

Sound wise, they kick things off with something that probably will shock any black metal purists that still follow them (as if they haven't been scared away by their previous punk/heavy/speed whatever influenced records): there are clean vocals! Ok, there was something remotely clean in The Winds They Call The Dungeon Shaker, but nothing to this extent. And I for one, am quite glad for this addition. It's not like they are great singers or anything like that or that the clean parts will take away for the raw feeling they still have after more then 20 years, it just gives an epic twist to the music and also for that, Those Treasures Will Never Befall You has to go down as one of the best openers in their history (or at least the latest stages of it if you feel it is a blasphemy of some sort to compare this stuff to Transilvanian Hunger, which I think is not).

So, besides adding clean vocals here and there what did they do on Circle The Wagons? They continued to go down the same road they took in The Cult Is Alive and persisted in F.O.A.D. and Dark Thrones and Black Flags, maybe with a little more of classic heavy metal (not only on the vocal side), something that they had actually hinted for in plenty of interviews when previewing this record and therefore not much of a surprise. Regarding their riff-producing abilities, they remain intact and seem to get refined with age. Just listen to the track Eyes Burst at Dawn - that has it all (and to think that in the last records I used to prefer Fenriz's tracks to Culto's, this one comes as a good surprise). Do they still complain about modern metal? Switch to the Fenriz-is-ranting opus of the day - I am the Graves of the 80's - somewhere between grim and epic with "I am the graves of the 80s / I am the risen dead / destroy their modern metal / and bang your fucking head / Uh!" as a chorus. You also have the short and sweet title track that will make you sing along plenty of times.

I still maintain the stand I made when reviewing their previous records - this fuck off and die attitude fits their career from beginning to the end. The same reasons that made them idols in the black metal movement still apply today and I will add more - in that sense, they probably have the most consistent, albeit not repetitive in the slightest bit, career of that whole bunch of early Norwegian black metal bands.
In their case, I think the comparison with another band would have to be with Iron Maiden (keeping of course in mind the monstrous difference between the audience range and importance of one and the other): after such a long time either one or the other is one of the most interesting metal bands around and every time they decide to put out something new, odds are it will be great stuff once again.

Circle The Wagons is one of those cases. Grab a beer and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sathanas in Gloriam IV: Occult Lunar Incantations (2.10.2010-3.10.2010, Baroeg, Rotterdam)

During this past weekend a Sathanas in Gloriam Productions fest took place in Baroeg, Rotterdam. Due to schedule limitations on my part it was watch the first shows on each day. Nevertheless, it was still possible to watch all the main attractions and the result was one of a good festival, well organized, with a overall good sound on most shows and only a few minor delays. The bill had sufficient variety (considering it was supposed to be only black metal bands) and undeniable quality.

As for the first day, I still managed to watch the end of Kjeld (a Dutch band) which seemed (and I stress that this is only the impression I got from a few songs) to be more form than substance.

Therefore, the first show for me was Acherontas, a Greek band that was one of the finest surprises of the weekend. The songs varied enough from fast-paced and ferocious blast beat supported riffs (which, fortunately were not that many, since they consisted the more generic parts) to some more atmospheric and mid-tempo passages, with good melodies and a nice voice to top it up. What really surprised me was that, while using pretty much standard black metal elements, the atmospheres and melodies were done in a quite personal way. Songs like Conjuration of The Five Negatives and Pestilence of Mortality were some of the highlights of a performance that was unfortunately cut short due to a problem in the drum-set. After them, the first two-man band of the night and one of the best shows of the weekend.


I am talking about The One (there is no official myspace as far as I know). The first thing that comes about in their show is the huge wall of sound that is coming from that guitar. Putting that with a very eerie and atmospheric sound, a stage filled with smoke and some cleaner and distant voices and you can get an idea of what it was - intense and loud. By the time they finished, at the silencing of the amplifier and the vanishing of the smoke, you had the idea of waking up from some dark slumber.

Before the main point of interest of the night, that being Urfaust, Throne of Katarsis played. I have to say I don't really get why they got so many people to watch them. It was plain and generic black metal with a scenery (as in corpse paint, fake or true blood and some ridiculous chants) that instead of creating something impressive just made it look like a circus.

In contrast, the stage seemed completely naked for Urfaust. No corpse paint, no blast beats, no big fuss. The music is as simple as it gets, the drumming is usually slow paced and distant and the vocals are some of the most unique and excellent I've ever found in black metal. The surprising thing was that what you get on an album is perfectly transposed to a live setting. My best expectations on IX's voice were immediately proved to be enormous understatements as I was constantly creeped out and having goosebumps, such was the haunting effect of it. Overall, it shows that you don't need a circus (and I am repeating the word on purpose) if you have enough feeling and songs which are good enough to get your audience hypnotized. Visual issues apart, for those who that have a special thing for their latest EP, Einsiedler, they did play the second song from it - Verderber (also a couple of excellent tracks from Geist ist Teufel).
They proved to be the perfect ending for the day and this show alone would made it worthwhile. When you also get the two Greek acts (Acherontas and The One) on top of it, it makes for a great day.



On the second day, I started with Mortifera.



Sound-wise, it was awesome and the atmosphere was all there. When it comes to the visual part, there were high and low points. When the lightning was properly set up (as in coming almost exclusively behind the band) and the necessary amount of smoke was filling the stage it was perfect, had it been the whole show like this and it would have been the been the best concert of the fest with Urfaust. However, there were lots of times where the lightning and smoke just didn't adjust to the sounds and the fact that Noktu is not a stage animal also helped. That fact became irrelevant when he was either singing (such feeling) or when the lightning was right, but otherwise became a bit odd. In terms of set list, we got A Last Breath Before Extinction and that is all that I need to say.



The following was Ondskapt who had (as far as the bands I saw are concerned) by far the worst sound of the festival. On purpose or not, their riffs are too good to be that loud and at some points it was just a big mess. Sound problems apart, it was complete devastation from beginning to the end, with songs from every release of the band (EP included).



I would personally do without some of the visual circus on stage but I guess that's just a personal view. At least the music kind of matched the intensity of the disguises which makes it a bit more coherent. We can judge the performance of Sargeist along more or less the same lines: less brutal and more melodic (and with a very good sound) but with the same devastating and face-paced attitude and visual effects, so to speak. The set also included a song - empire of suffering - from the upcoming album, Let the Devil In, which promises more of the same: good furious black metal - not a big revolution but well done stuff.

Summing up the second day, while not being as good as the first one (but then again, it would have been almost impossible for any of this bands to top up Urfaust's performance on the previous day), was quite balanced and the sequence starting with the atmospheric black of Mortifera and ending with the ferocity of Ondskapt and Sargeist mas good enough to send everyone home satisfied.



The photos were taken by Chérie and John to Metal Photo and posted here with their due consent.

Note: in their respective order, the pictures are concerning the acts of The One, Urfaust, Mortifera, Mortifera, Ondskapt and Ondskapt again.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

[BeforeTheRain]

An update about [BeforeTheRain]'s new record, Frail, was posted one the band's website.
Their previous record (One Day Less...) is, in its own right, one of the most interesting portuguese doom records that I can recall, which brings quite high hopes for this one. The new song, posted on their myspace (see below), indeed hints in the direction that the band claims - a more mature sound and an excellent production to match it.

Now we only have to wait for it.




BEFORE THE RAIN have set "Frail" as the title of their new album, which was recorded at Fabrica de Som in Oporto, Portugal by sound engineer Nuno Maciel and produced by Valter Cunha. The highly anticipated follow-up to 2007's "One Day Less..." was mixed at Chapel Studios (MY DYING BRIDE, CATHEDRAL) in Lincolnshire, England by Ewan Davies (ANATHEMA) & Valter Cunha, mastered at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden by Jens Bogren (KATATONIA, PARADISE LOST) and includes Natalie Koskinen (SHAPE OF DESPAIR) and Peter Bjärgö (ARCANA) as guest singers.

The track listing is as follows:
01. And The World Ends There
02. Shards
03. Breaking The Waves
04. A Glimpse Towards The Sun
05. Frail
06. Peace is Absent

An edited version of "A Glimpse Towards The Sun" is now availabe at this location.

"Frail" brings a more mature sound from the band with a revamped line-up including new members Gary Griffth (ex MORGION), Carlos Monteiro (ex SCULPTURE) and Joaquim Aires (ex DISAFFECTED).

Commented the band: "With this release we really found our voice, "Frail" is a much broader sonic journey than anything we have done before. Expect thunderous waves and haunting melodies".

BEFORE THE RAIN are currently negotiating the release of the album with selected labels and they plan to tour Europe once it's released.

In other news the band have scheduled a split 7" with Finnish doomsters "SHAPE OF DESPAIR". The split will include a unreleased song from each band, and is aimed for a late 2010 release through Major Label Industries.

Peace
[BeforeTheRain]


Celeste - Morte(s) Nee(s) (2010)



Never has french sounded so aggressive and lacerating as it does in Celeste's music. Not that this is any piece of news, as that was already present in Nihiliste(s) and Misantrhope(s), but it's always nice to see that it remains so in Morte(s) Nee(s) (which means born-dead or something along those lines).
That dirty combination of black metal, hardcore and sludge is still alive with occasional decelerations worthy of a doom record, but I do not feel a repetition (or recycling) of a formula, instead, it gives the idea of a band that is calmly developing their sound along very well defined lines, without a need to do a sudden break up with the past but also without stagnation. In that way, Morte(s) Nee(s) is an album a la Celeste (if such an expression is allowed on their third full lenght), crushing music which develops itself along foul, muddy and desperate lines and which is presented without any particular form of leniency.
If one is to speak of any innovation, that has to lie in the reinforcement of their slow and atmospheric tendencies. To properly illustrate this, there is the fifth track of the record (which happens to be an instrumental), simply named (S), where methodically placed chords fill the air and create an ambiance of smothering sickness. When that track ends, one might find himself thinking that after such a gloomy mood, there will be some kind of rest of release, but Celeste is not about giving solutions or mere glimpses of beauty of hope - he will find none of those. The next track, "Un Miroir pur qui te Rend Misérable", starts immediately after (S) ends, and it's a 6 minute rampaging feast of blind loathe.
This sequence, brings us to another highlight of the album: it works as such (I, for instance, seldom recall a particular track but seem to be able to revive the album, as a whole, in my head), the tracks follow each other in a quite natural way, as if feeding from one another to create a monster of an album that goes by the name of Morte(s) Nee(s).

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Matse Avatar

Os Orthodox, ou a-banda-espanhola-mais-fixe-de-sempre, têm nova música, parte integrante de um EP(?) a sair num futuro próximo. Desengane-se quem espera ouvir algo na onda do último álbum. Preparem-se para muito fuzz, distorção e um groove do caraças.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Good night!

ISIS has reached an end. It's hard to try to say it in any delicate way, and it is a truth that is best spoken plainly. This end isn't something that occurred over night and it hasn't been brought about by a single cataclysmic fracture in the band. Simply put, ISIS has done everything we wanted to do, said everything we wanted to say. In the interest of preserving the love we have of this band, for each other, for the music made and for all the people who have continually supported us, it is time to bring it to a close. We've seen too many bands push past the point of a dignified death and we all promised one another early on in the life of the band that we would do our best to ensure ISIS would never fall victim to that syndrome. We've had a much longer run than we ever expected we would and accomplished a great deal more than we ever imagined possible. We never set any specific goals when the band was founded other than to make the music we wanted to hear and to play (and to stay true to that ideal), so everything else that has come along the long and winding path has been an absolute gift. As with any momentous life-changing decision (which this certainly is for the 5 of us), we feel a very dynamic range of emotions about this and cannot express all of it within the space of a few sentences, and perhaps it's best to do what we've always done in and let our music speak for us. It is and has been the truest expression of who we are as a collective and in some ways who we are as individuals for the 13 years in which we've been together. The last and perhaps most important thing we might say in relation to all this is how grateful we are for the people that have supported us over the years. It is a lengthy list that would include those who put out our records, those that played on them and put them to tape, the many bands with whom we shared the stage, all of our family, friends and companions who supported us in our individual lives and thus made it possible for us to continue on in the band, and most importantly those who truly listened to our music whether in recorded form or by coming to out to our shows (or both). It is quite true that we would never have done what we have without those people, that is many of you who are reading this. Our words can never fully express what we feel, but we hope that our music and the efforts made to bring it into being can serve as a more proper expression of gratitude for this life and for everyone in it. Thank you.

In more immediate and practical terms the tour we are about to embark upon is indeed our last. We are hoping that these final live rituals can help us bring a close to the life of this band in a celebratory and reverent way, and also provide us with a chance to say goodbye to many of those that have supported us over the years. While there is a measure of sadness that comes with the passing of this band, we hope that the final days can be joyous ones during which any and all that wish to come and join us will do so. It seems fitting that the last show of the tour and of our active existence will take place in Montreal, the site of the very first ISIS show in 1997 (though that was an unintentional move when booking the show initially). After the tour we also plan to follow through with other projects set in motion some time ago - pursuing the completion of a final EP, compiling live audio and visual material for future releases, and generally doing whatever we can to make our music available for as long as there are people who wish to hear it.
Thanks again to any and all,

ISIS, May 18, 2010
http://www.myspace.com/isis

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hildur Guðnadóttir: Até já!

Teatro Maria Matos, 22h. 5€ para menores de 30 anos.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Especial Roadburn 2010 no IndieFrente

Hoje, a partir das 20h.

The Bride Screamed Murder

O álbum sai dia 1 de Junho, mas já é possível ouvir um excerto de todas as faixas na Amazon. Sounds good!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Até Domingo!