Tuesday 18th June 2024,
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Report: SWR Barroselas Metalfest 2023

Filipe Gomes 08/05/2023 Festivals, Reports Comments Off on Report: SWR Barroselas Metalfest 2023
Report: SWR Barroselas Metalfest 2023

SWR has finally returned in full force after a hiatus forced by the lockdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and a smaller-than-usual 2022 edition. This is one of the oldest and most mythical underground festivals in Portugal, and it once again brought four days of the festival to the quiet town of Barroselas in the municipality of Viana do Castelo, packed with bands of different styles and from a whole host of different countries.

Day #0

As usual, the so-called “zero” day is shorter, in the form of a welcome to the first festival-goers. This time, the organization scheduled four bands, all of them Portuguese, to kick off the festivities.

Pledge were given the responsibility of opening the event. The band’s sound is strongly influenced by hardcore with a more modern twist, bordering on post-hardcore. With around five years of existence, Pledge have already made a mark on the national hardcore scene with the release of their debut full-length “Haunted Visions” in 2021, on Raging Planet Records. Sofia Magalhães (also of Vaee Solis) led a quintet that was solid and powerful on stage. Her raspy voice echoed throughout the venue and her energetic attitude, as she ran frantically around the stage, was reminiscent of a caged tiger. All this, supported by an equally schizophrenic set of lights, made it impossible to sit still. Songs like “Today I Choose Life” showcased the excellent album that is still being promoted. It was an excellent first concert.

Pledge © WOM

Next came Hunted Scriptum, a band from Braga. Practising a more old-school death metal style with their characteristic technicality, Hunted Scriptum quickly showed their mettle as soon as the band entered the stage. Vocalist José Santos entered the stage in a wheelchair and was wearing a restraining vest, in a theatrical scene alluding to psychiatric patients in medical institutions. The band presented their debut album “Paracusia”, released in 2022 in a partnership between Gruesome Records and Nox Liberatio Records. The concert was based on the songs on the album, including the excellent “Slay, Kill and Torture”, the first single extracted from the record. The concert went well, and the first circle pits could be seen to the sound of songs like “Mindless” or “Insane Blood Hallucinations”.

Hunted Scriptum © WOM

From death to thrash metal. Prayers Of Sanity came from the Algarve region, more specifically Faro, to unleash their merciless thrash metal. The trio led by Sebastião Costa started strong with “Dead Alive”, “Unturned” and “Someday” from the album “Face of the Unknown”. It was expected that the band would pay more attention to their most recent album 2021, the excellent “Doctrine of Misanthropy” (killer bass sound, by the way!), but their setlist only contained one song from that record, and the band opted to include songs from all their other albums in their performance. Completely comfortable on stage, Prayers Of Sanity had excellent sound, which enhanced their performance even more. Circle pits and crowdsurfing were the audience’s response to what was happening on stage. They are undoubtedly one of the flagbearers of Portuguese thrash, yet deserve more exposure and presence in the scene.

Prayers Of Sanity © WOM

Finally, the last concert of the night saw Nagasaki Sunrise come and conquer. The punk rockers brought their mishmash of punk, thrash and speed metal to an audience that was thirsty for more concerts. The band began with a new song, “Battle For The Shadow Empire”, one of six recently recorded songs that, according to the band, will be released on a split LP with Battlescars. The band also performed two more new songs: “Ghosts of Iwo Jima” and “Butcher of Bataan”. It’s impossible to ignore the excellent performance of guitarist Iron Fist Nagasaki (also known for his work in Midnight Priest). Their stage presence is enormous, as is the whole band, but we’re dealing with one of those who exude 80’s oldschool vibes and this is visible in the way they play. Nagasaki Sunrise infected everyone with their irreverence and closed the night with “Battleships” and “Turn On The Power”, singles taken from both their previous albums.

Nagasaki Sunrise © WOM

 

Day #1

The first day with a full lineup began with the merciless thrash of Nuclear Warfare. Longing for the old Teutonic thrash metal, this trio played seven songs without much time to breathe, starting the concert with “Just Fucking Thrash”, a good song that represents exactly what Nuclear Warfare do. Sebastian Listl and co. have a style and sound that draws influence and nostalgia from the greats of German thrash such as Sodom, Kreator and Destruction. Songs such as “Warlust”, “Mutilator” or “Mata Com Faca” were highlights in a strong performance that drew loud applause from those present.

Nuclear Warfare ©WOM YT

The Spanish quartet Himura, from Zaragoza, followed on the same stage. The SWR stage was quickly flooded with their furious grindcore, where Spanish fans could be seen supporting the group. Their quick, short bursts of hate brought out a lot of headbanging and moshpits from the audience. The band brought with them songs from various long-playing albums and splits, including “Círculo Violento”, “La Maquinaria” and “Evacuación”. Overall, it was just over 30 minutes of sonic violence and gratuitous brutality.

Himura ©WOM YT

Things slowed down a bit with the first concert on the Abyss stage. Krypto, a psychotrio from Porto, brought with them a hypnotic performance of psychedelic punk noise rock. Consisting of only drums, bass and vocals, the trio sounded immense nevertheless. Their sound on stage was inexplicably heavy, courtesy of the bass and drums, which formed a demolishing sonic alliance. Gon’s voice, the screamer responsible for the insanity spat out over the musical structures presented, was captivating. The debut album “Eye18” is an excellent surprise. A surprise that the band made sure to present to the audience in the form of songs like “Spitwater” or the excellent “Crow Oath”.

Krypto © WOM YT

Necrobode were unable to play at SWR and were replaced by Gallows Rites, a recent project that will release its first EP in May. They practice a blackened thrash metal sound reminiscent of bands like Nifelheim or Front Beast. The concert was based on the album “Witchcraft and Necro Desecration” (Helld Prods) where the songs “Unholy Sorcery” and the title track “Witchcraft and Necro Desecration” stood out. They were good and showed potential and we look forward to hearing the album and more concerts.

Gallows Rites © WOM YT

Next, the main stage was invaded by a real military battalion. The Italians Hideous Divinity destroyed the SWR Abyss completely. The concert by these Italian death metal colossi felt like a real battle tank that crushed everything as it passed. They started the concert with “Acheron, Stream Of Woe”, taken from their “LV-426” ep. From start to finish, Enrico Di Lorenzo pushed the festival-goers to give everything they had. “Angel Of Revolution” quickly got underway without letting the more unwary catch their breath after the initial punch in the stomach they might have taken after the first song of this veritable war machine. Initially, the sound didn’t help the band’s performance, but as time went on, it improved and the audience was able to enjoy the chaos that raged beneath their heads, much of it provided by Giulio Galati’s merciless drumming. Hideous Divinity gave a completely overwhelming concert.

  • Hideous Divinity | © FGphoto.eu

Amken came from Athens, Greece to deliver an excellent concert of traditional thrash. With the audience behaving shy at first, it didn’t take long for them to become uninhibited and for the band to start being presented with violent circlepits and crowsurfing. With a setlist based on their last two albums “Theater of the Absurd” and “Passive Aggression”, these Greeks’ time at SWR was a pleasant surprise. Their hard-hitting thrash metal with catchy riffs, leads that make you want to sing along as if you were listening to Iron Maiden and a hoarse but powerful voice drew a loud applause at the end of the concert.

  • Amken | © FGphoto.eu

Next came Imperial Triumphant, a majestic entity covered in masks. This trio took the main stage by storm and performed one of the most complex shows the audience could witness. It is difficult to categorize and analyse the band’s approach to music, and becoming acquainted with Imperial Triumphant’s songs is difficult, at best. The venue was packed; what followed next was 40 minutes of an exquisite musical experience. They started the show with “Tower Of Glory, City Of Shame” quickly followed by “Metrovertigo”. Playing what could be called avant-garde blackened death metal with neoclassical influences, the band was in a league of its own on this festival’s lineup. There was time for a champagne baptism, where the band opened two bottles of champagne, sprayed some on the audience and poured the rest onto the cups on the first rows. There was no mosh, as all the attention was on the stage. The band concluded with the bizarre and heart-pumping “Chernobyl Blues”. Ultimately, the audience was more than convinced as the huge applause proved. Time to get some food!

  • Imperial Triumphant | © FGphoto.eu

Back at the SWR Arena, some people seemed confused about which Graveyard was storming the stage. Some people were blindly expecting to see the Swedish Graveyard, who play psychedelic stoner rock. But in this case, the Graveyard in question were the Spanish death metal veterans. Founded in 2007 and already with a vast discography, the differences in terms of sound were unmistakable: we were facing a group that, as soon as they arrived on stage, proved to be strong, cohesive and powerful. The sound was very good and Graveyard played song after song, focusing their performance on their two most recent albums, “Hold Back the Dawn” and “…for Thine Is the Darkness”, interspersing a few songs from older albums. Showing that they weren’t there to mess around, the band left everything they had on stage and were well received by the audience.

  • Graveyard | © FGphoto.eu

Pig Destroyer, one of the institutions of American grindcore, is highly acclaimed for its influence on the genre. They got off to a good start, but some technical problems hampered the progress of the concert. With the slogan “Smoke Weed Every Day”, Pig Destroyer dealt with the problems in the best possible way, with Hayes never losing his good mood and humourous vibe. The Americans quickly returned to violence and chaos on stage. Their concert consisted of more than 20 songs, including classics from their legendary album “Prowler in the Yard” such as “Trojan Horse”, “Cheerleader Corpses”, “Scatology Homework”, “Piss Angel” and “Junkyard God”.

  • Pig Destroyer | © FGphoto.eu

This was followed by one of the most vile bands ever to set foot on an SWR stage: Profanatica. This trio consisted of Paul Ledney (founding member of the band and also of Incantation) and two session musicians. They came from the United States to spread the most evil blasphemy around the venue. The hooded trio took the stage and an oppressive atmosphere quickly set in. The sound was good, and there were a lot of people there who had clearly come to see them. Drummer/vocalist Paul Ledney encouraged the audience to take part in the ceremony, which included a trip to the past in the form of “Weeping in Heaven”. It was an intense concert but without much movement on stage.

  • Profanatica | © FGphoto.eu

On the contrary, Crisix lives based on movement. The Spanish band left no stone unturned after their devastating concert on the SWR Abyss main stage. Always in a good mood, Crisix gave a thrash lesson full of humour and parody, registering some of the most violent moshpits of the day. The contagious energy of all the musicians was incredible and the audience responded in an crazy way. They managed to generate giant circlepits and were without a doubt one of the most impactful bands of this first day of SWR. One moment worth mentioning was the exchange of instruments between the musicians, something common to happen at a Crisix gig… The new lineup then played a medley of “Hit The Lights” (Metallica), “Walk” (Pantera) and “Antisocial” (Anthrax). Their previous performance at the festival had already been very good, but this year Crisix’s concert was even better. Fantastic and fun.

  • Crisix | © FGphoto.eu

The last band of the night was Vai-te Foder. The band is based on crust but includes elements and influences of grind and crossover, took to the stage to break things up. Promoting their new album “Cansado” (Tired), if there was one thing that Vai-te Foder weren’t, it was tired. The vocalist duo’s characteristic energy was transferred to the audience, who responded in equal measure. A pit quickly formed that didn’t stop until the end of the concert. A note of praise to drummer Jordi, who is a real blastbeat machine. It was a good way to end tonight’s concerts.

  • Vai-te Foder | © FGphoto.eu

The party went on as metal DJs kept the most resistant metalheads occupied as time went by.

 

Day #2

Spain’s Infrahumano were chosen to open the second official day of SWR. Practising fast and merciless death metal, the quartet showed very cohesive and strong. They quickly got down to business and were an excellent example and incentive for festival-goers not to miss the opening bands. With their excellent album “Echoes of Decay” as their promotional flagship, and a demo released in 2022 entitled “Echoes of Decay”, Infrahumano showed no signs of slowing down. It was an excellent concert.

Infrahumano | © FGphoto.eu

Next came, the trio from Viseu, Basalto, who share 2/3 of their members with Tvmvlo, and continued the sonic violence that afternoon. Always very active, they already have four full-length albums and an EP in eight years of existence, as proof of excellent productivity and quality. The band’s latest album “Purga” was released less than a week ago on Doomed Records. Basalto’s heavy and punishing performance was full of great headbanging moments and they were well received by the crowd that had already filled the SWR Arena very well. The new album was successfully introduced.

Basalto | © FGphoto.eu

Hailing from the city of Porto, Wanderer released their incredible debut album “Awakening Force” in 2020. The recognition was immediate and they proved with that record that they have enormous potential. That talent was put to the test with the spotlight shining on them from the SWR main stage. The quartet didn’t let themselves be intimidated and whether small or large, the stage is a place that comes naturally to them and where they seem to feel comfortable. Songs like “Warriors of Tomorrow” work very well live and the feedback from the audience was enthusiastic and fully supportive. The good sound on stage helped their performance, where you could experience songs full of good riffs and catchy leads, always with good taste.

Wanderer | © FGphoto.eu

The Lisbon quintet Bas Roten took over the SWR Arena for an absolutely demolishing set. Practising a crossover sound between punk and grindcore, Bas Rotten brought with them the album “Surge” and a handful of special guests who appeared throughout the concert, from bands such as Pledge, Nagasaki Sunrise and others. The audience’s reaction was violent, with the most aggressive moshpit appearing with some hardcore dancers.

Bas Rotten | © FGphoto.eu

Mortiferum were one of the most interesting bands at this edition of SWR. The American quartet challenged the limits of weight that the SWR stage could bear with their dragged-out death/doom metal. But anyone who thought the concert would be quiet was mistaken, as the occasional spasm of blastbeats grabbed the most unwary by the scruff of the neck without mercy. The band performed songs like “Incubus of Bloodstained Visions” or “Seraphic Extinction” from their latest album “Preserved in Torment” to the delight of those present and the surprise of those who didn’t know them. Mortiferum turned out to be an excellent surprise. It wouldn’t have been a bad idea to add Caustic Wound to the festival line-up, as they share three members with Mortiferum.

Mortiferum | © FGphoto.eu

The Spaniards Adrift were responsible for the loudest concert so far. They brought with them a melodic yet highly complex sound. Their music is made up of several layers that result in a wall of sound effect that takes the listener by surprise. With schizophrenic compositions, the sound frenzy on stage is contagious, and it’s hard not to tap your foot on the floor while trying to understand everything that’s happening on stage. The Spanish band treated the audience to the songs “Black Heart Bleed Black”, “Pure”, “Abracadabra”, “Embers” and “Mist”.

Adrift | © FGphoto.eu

Returning to Portugal after an absence of more than a decade, Finnish black metal veterans Horna took to the SWR main stage. Adopting an imposing posture on stage, the Finns’ presence was oppressive and lived up to the hype. They visited the band’s vast discography, on albums such as “Sanojesi Äärellä” or “Sudentaival” through songs such as “Sinulle, mätänevä Jehova”, “Kärsimysten katedraali”, “Baphomet Siunaus” and other classics like “Kuoleva Lupaus” and “Örkkivuorilta”. The performance was full of meaning, always accentuated by vocalist Spellgoth’s spoken word introductions. Although there was little movement on stage and Horna is a band that doesn’t move much, the concert was memorable.

Horna | © FGphoto.eu

Norwegian trio Sahg relaxed the atmosphere with their groove-filled traditional doom metal. Initially, the sound was weak, but this was quickly corrected and didn’t affect their performance. The band began the concert by presenting their latest album “Born Demon” with the trio of songs that kick off the album: “Fall Into The Fire”, “House Of Worship” and “Born Demon”. Vocalist Olav Iversen is an excellent frontman, and he was constantly asking for the audience’s support, which responded immediately. In general, the concert was very good and deserved more of an audience, but that didn’t put off the Norwegians, who gave everything they had on stage. The band concluded an excellent visit to Portugal with a run through their excellent album “II”, where they played “Echoes Ring Forever” and “Pyromancer”. It was certainly a gig whose energy was contagious throughout the set.

Sahg | © FGphoto.eu

The Cortez brothers are well known in the American old-school death metal scene. Hailing from California, it’s curious to see the reception Sadistic Intent received. A full house, lots of mosh, headbanging and clearly a lot of oldschool fans there. Having been around since 1987, they are a cult band and this is visible in the number of people present. Yet, for a band that doesn’t have a single full-length album in its career and has only released one split and one EP in the last 20 years, it’s still a phenomenon worth studying. The mythical EP “Resurrection” was part of the band’s setlist, which treated fans to classics such as “Asphyxiation” and “Conflict Within”, while “Eternal Darkness” and “Lurking Terror” revisited other highlights from their discography. The weight of Sadistic Intent was immense in an excellent concert with a 90s vibe.

Sadistic Intent | © FGphoto.eu

All the way from the USA came Suffering Hour. Although the name probably doesn’t ring a bell for many people and might not raise an eyebrow regarding automatic interest, this trio is one of those perfect examples that you definitely shouldn’t judge a book by its cover or title! From start to finish the band left no stone unturned at the SWR stage. Their characteristic brand of dissonant blackened death metal makes you wonder “this is probably how Deathspell Omega could sound if they started playing death metal”… Even though the sound was not bad, this is a band which needs crystal clear mixing so the attendees can enjoy all the psychedelic notes played by the guitar of YhA (aka Josh Raiken). Suffering Hour’s compositions are so immensely dense with amazing guitar riffs and effects that it is an absolute delight to listen to all those changes in riffs, tempo and drum patterns. Vocals are a bit of a side ingredient here and complete the songs perfectly, even though they’re scarce. The band presented the packed venue with songs extracted from their entire discography except for the single “Dwell”. Their set was composed of “Devouring Shapeless Void”, “Temporal Lapse”, “Obscuration”, “Transcending Antecedent Visions” and “Empty Avowls” interspersed with parts of “Crawling Embers” as intro, reprise and outro. Absolutely mindblowing and hopefully we will get to see them again soon in Portugal!

Suffering Hour | © FGphoto.eu

Czechs freaks Gutalax brought their faecal-themed good humour to the festival. This return to the event was a success and that was mentioned in the acknowledgements. The sound was very powerful, which only made the party even bigger. They pulled off one of the biggest moshpits of the festival so far, along with all the paraphernalia of flying inflatable accessories and the characteristic toilet paper rolls. It’s hard to remain indifferent to everything that goes on on stage and in the audience during a Gutalax concert. The band has an incredibly contagious energy, as well as excellent jokes and farts, making their concerts full of comedy and parody, always accompanied by a good dose of goregrind. Songs like “Fart Fart Away”, “Fart And Furious” or “Vaginapocalypse” were excellent examples of their insanity.

Gutalax | © FGphoto.eu

The end of the night was left to the Czech bands, this time with the arrival of the ritualistic performance of Inferno, a masked quartet that practices a hypnotic black metal sound, characterized by very long songs. The whole concert was shrouded in mystery, obscurity and there was an esoteric communion between everyone present at this overwhelming performance. With a selection of songs practically focused on the album “Paradeigma (Phosphenes of Aphotic Eternity)”, through songs like the fast “The Wailing Horizon” to the schizophrenic chords of “Descent into Hell of the Future” and “Phosphenes” to the pinnacle of the concert with “The Firstborn from Murk”, Inferno revealed why they are one of the most interesting esoteric collectives in the current black metal scene. Although the sound wasn’t the best at times during the concert, the Czechs’ performance wasn’t hindered. A fantastic concert to close the second day of SWR 2023.

Inferno | © FGphoto.eu

Day #3

Opening the last day of SWR 2023 were Biolence, a collective from Gaia. In the year in which they celebrate 25 years of existence, the concert at the SWR Arena was a great introductory moment for the last metal day of this edition. Always in a good mood, Biolence were grateful for all the support given by a venue that was still at half capacity. After the intro “Endless Desolation”, “Global Domination” and “Merchants of Inhumanity” served as an introduction to the band’s most recent album, the 2021 EP “Enslave, Deplete, Destroy!”. The band also performed a new song from a forthcoming album, “Extermination Through Mutantion”, which showed influences of a more groovy oldschool deathmetal reminiscent of Morbid Angel from the “Domination” era. The band concluded their concert with their last song: “Holy Word”.

Next up, on the same stage, were Terror Empire. The “thrash on steroids” metal band from Coimbra features death metal influences and is well known to those present, or Rui Alexandre, the founder of the infamous Mosher clothing brand, wouldn’t be on guitar. They quickly began with “Holy Greed”, one of their most recent songs, which its groovy feel had many shaking their heads. It didn’t take long for the audience to react, with the first thumps and headbangs proliferating throughout the venue. “Lust”, “Tides Of War” and “Soldiers Of Nothing” continued the groove while the moshpit intensified. It was also worth mentioning that it was a “special day” because drummer Luís “was sober”, according to Rui Alexandre! The excellent “…Black” revisited the album “The Empire Strikes Black” and “You’ll Never See Us Coming” closed a terrific and cohesive gig.

Bleeding Display was the first band to take to the main stage and it didn’t take long for their merciless death metal to ignite SWR Abyss’ first circle pit. Led by the charismatic Sérgio yielding his heavy axe in his fist (we got to hold it up!) and always running from one side to the other, as if he were a caged tiger. The tearing riffs of this quintet wreaked havoc and, not forgetting the technique of the other members, it’s impossible to remain indifferent to the technical mastery demonstrated by João Jacinto (Analepsy) on guitars, where he made it look easy and accessible for anyone to play solos at an impressive speed while maintaining the melodic component in the midst of so much sweep and arpeggio. The focus of the concert was the most recent album “Dawn Of A Killer”, where the band performed songs such as the introductory “The Nightstalker”, “The Skin”, “Hungry Beast” and “The Gray Man”. There was also time to revisit the album “Deviance” through “Remains To Be Seen” and for a surprise tribute to the Veiga brothers, organizers of SWR Barroselas Metalfest, in the form of a cover of “Cadant In Obscurum” by their now defunct band, Goldenpyre, who played a special 20th anniversary concert at SWR #20 in 2017. Bleeding Display’s concert only suffered from being so early in the day.

Straight from the cold lands of Sweden, Blodskam invaded the SWR arena with their black metal devoted to Satan. The lyrics of “Bödel” leave no room for doubt: “Satan is my father” is a very direct message straight to the point. “Scales And Skin”, “Sharpening The Knives” and “Chaos Reigns” introduced the album “Ave Eva”, released by Sweden’s Suicide Records. Although the stage presence didn’t involve a lot of movement, there was some theatricality where the presence of real blood reigned supreme. Blodskam’s debut left a good impression and we hope they return soon.

Insanity Alert came from Austria and brought with them one of the most electrifying and infectious performances of the entire festival. The irreverent band kicked off their concert with a trio of songs “Glorious Thrash”, “Twist-Off Betrayal”, followed by “Crucified by Zombies”, all taken from their 2014 album of the same name. Their crossover thrash fusion full of good humour led by Heavy Kevy’s sharp voice and his screaming infected the whole audience. Party thrash is a subgenre of thrash that is very difficult to remain indifferent to and this quartet from Innsbruck didn’t make it easy. To help things along, Heavy Kevy brought along huge signs with what the audience had to shout, creating a connection with the fans that resulted in huge chants to the sound of an adaptation of Iron Maiden’s Run to the Hills. “Run to the pit, mosh for your life!” It was a fast, frenetic concert, very much in the style of other bands that have been on the SWR stage, such as Crisix or the tireless Skull Fist.

An absolutely hellish concert followed. Extirpation came from Italy and took to the secondary stage, leaving no stone unturned after spitting out their evil blackened thrash metal with an oldschool vibe. With the EP “The Endless Storm” from 2022 in their luggage, there were no moments to breathe or rest in a set that deserved to be longer, such was the intensity with which they performed. The band ended up playing the EP in its entirety, but there was still time to visit albums such as “Wings Of Decadence” (Consumed System / Controlled By Rage) and “A Damnation’s Stairway to the Altar of Failure” (Into Disease / Stasis / Faith Of the Parasite).

Back at the SWR Abyss, it quickly filled up with people to see the French masters of technical death metal, Gorod. Endowed with an outstanding technical ability, Julien & Co played a set of songs that touched on their most recent album, “The Orb”, without ever forgetting classics like “The Axe of God”. It was a shame to miss Benoit, the charismatic bassist, but the duo of virtuoso guitarists filled the eyes and ears of those present with their super-technical riffs and tapping compositions, always supported by Karol’s impeccable drumming. Gorod were to be congratulated on their return to Portugal, five years after they toured the hard club with Beyond Creation, at the time promoting their album “Æthra”. “Disavow Your God” closed a concert that felt like it passed rather quickly and felt very, very short. They missed playing “Birds Of Sulphur”! The surrendering of those present was evident. Let’s hope they don’t take another five years to return!

Death grind titans Holocausto Canibal need no introduction in Portugal. With a massive history of live shows and a vast discography, always active since 1997, Holocausto Canibal arrived, delivered and conquered. With their new album “Crueza Ferina” in promotion, the band led by Orca demolished the SWR secondary stage on this last day of the festivities. Amidst the mosh, the headbang and the general confusion, we heard songs like “Crueza Ferina”, “Ancestral Hypoxic Rites”, “Apresto Executório” and “Ávida Tragação”.

The headliners for the last day of the festival were Triumph Of Death. A project that pays homage to the legacy left by the Swiss Hellhammer, a band that existed before Tom G. Warrior founded Celtic Frost. They are seen as one of the biggest influences on extreme music worldwide, having originated in 1982. What followed was a historic concert where the target audience was clearly the older fans, who came in the name of nostalgia to hear the primitive sounds that Tom G. Warrior would later explore in Celtic Frost. The band played iconic songs such as “Messiah”, “Maniac” or “Revelations Of Doom”, as well as a version shrouded in dense smoke that gave the performance its own atmosphere.

As if hitting a wall, the SWR audience went from the high speed of Cannibal Holocaust to the midtempo of Hellhammer to the total slowness of Esoteric. Hailing from England, they are a band with cult status in the world doom scene. Practitioners of a Funeral Doom sound, Esoteric unfortunately came without their drummer Joe Fletcher, but his figure was present on stage in the form of a funny and well-dressed cymbal stand and a pair of drumsticks. The band’s sound is built on repetitiveness, layers of guitars and effects, which can sometimes put off some members of the audience less familiar with the sound, but their performance resulted in an oppressive atmosphere that gripped everyone from the start. Moments and states of introspection and catharsis among the audience were frequent and easy to detect. The band only played three songs, which added up to around 40 minutes, namely “Dissident”, “Stygian Narcosis” and “Culmination”. It was a shame they didn’t have another 20 minutes to play “Circle”.

After the slowdown at the Esoteric concert, the speed was back up with the Finnish band Rotten Sound. Their demolishing performance caused a lot of sweat to fly from the violent moshpits that formed as soon as the band began to strum the first chords of “Pacify”. From the beginning to the end of the concert, Keijo Niinimaa didn’t stop pushing the vast audience present on the main stage of SWR Barroselas and the audience responded effusively and violently. The moshpits were intense and fast, there was a lot of chaos and a lot of slogans debated from the stage in unison. Without ever giving people time to catch their breath, the band played around 25 songs in less than an hour, deafeningly echoing songs from their latest album ironically titled “Apocalypse”, the main focus of their setlist. “Digital Bliss”, “Equality” or “Renewables” raised a lot of dust while it was impossible not to revisit the band’s iconic albums such as “Murderworks” or “Exit”. Celebrating 30 years of career, Rotten Sound showed that time doesn’t seem to pass them by, as they are still as wild as ever.

And the biggest surprise of the night, perhaps of the whole festival, was yet to come! Master Boot Record! A different group, with a theme dedicated to computer science, retro video games, some synthwave mixed with real drums and an absolutely incredible neoclassical shredder guitarist. If you closed your eyes, you could imagine you were listening to Yngwie Malmsteen playing a metal cover of Doom with lots of shredding. The concert was completely packed with people, with powerful and addictive sound. Very fun and entertaining. An absolutely electrifying and magical trio. They played a Golden Axe song and original songs like “File Transfer Protocol”, “80486DX” or “NWOSHM.TXT”. Congratulations to the SWR organization for betting on a band with this sound, something that had been done in the past with Gost, with the same success.

A special thank you to the organizers of the SWR Barroselas for once again allowing us to be present and write about it for you.

Text & photos: Filipe Gomes (@fgphoto_)

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