Tondela Rocks: The festival rocked the region with its 6th Edition
On May 6th 2023, the city of Tondela received the 6th Edition of the well-established Tondela Rocks festival. Although it was not an event with overwhelming affluence at first, the warm and pleasant environment made it possible for the attendees to enjoy to its fullest a night of intense music and electrifying performances.
The festival began with an opening performance by the talented Raven Horse. This band, which has been conquering its space since its recent birth, has already had an outstanding presence in some events organized by the Fora de Rebanho association. During the concert, they surprised the audience with a unique differential: the remarkable presence of the flute, an unusual instrument, yet crucial to complement the band’s sound, adding a special touch to their captivating music. The band performed a quick set featuring songs such as “Iron Gates”, “Red Sorceress” and “The Shell Horn” engaging well with the audience. This is a band to keep an eye on in the future.
Soon after, the band Lollipots took the stage, whose dirty, nostalgic 90’s rock sound made the audience vibe. With songs like “Bridge” and “Decadence”, they presented a setlist full of energy. The trio quickly captivated the shy crowd and soon enough everyone was stomping their foot on the ground and banging their head to tracks like “Gonna Break”, “Lights”, “Fat Girl”, “Trap”, “Happy When I Die”, “Raised By Dogs”, “To The Earth”, “Decadence”, “Wrong About” and “Mankind”.
Things got heavier when Spitgod took the stage. The heavy sludge atmosphere arrived with the band’s triumphant entrance. Formed in 2018, this band in the shape of a duo has heavy influences from the underground metal scene, such as Black Sabbath and Eyehategod. Their sonic intensity won over the attending audience, immersing everyone in a remarkable sonic journey. Every time we get to see Spitgod live, we are not disappointed by its “less is more” approach to music.
Next, it was time for Resurge to take the stage and set the crowd on fire with their powerful death metal. The energetic performance and the singer’s great stage presence infected the audience, who could not resist and started to mosh. The band’s setlist included hits like “Breeding In Vain”, “Diocesan Filth”, “Blame It On You”, “Ruthless”, “Resurge From Under”, “Mindless Greed” and “Graft Of Reluctance”, mostly extracted from the band’s debut EP “Breeding in Vain”. Their gig was a very positive surprise and their EP an instant buy.
The veteran band Buried Alive brought thrash metal, showing their timeless presence. With over three decades of existence since their formation in 1991, they presented the audience with a setlist full of classic hits from their discography. Songs such as “Coma”, “Extreme Paranoia”, “Survive”, “Muted Revolution”, “Violence”, “Chernobyl”, “We The Band”, “No Hope”, “Lost”, and “Suicide” made the audience engage and the headbanging was non-stop. The good sound helped the performance of the band as well.
One of the highlights of the night was, without a doubt, the band Anifernyen. Originally from Santo Tirso, Portugal, this melodic blackened death metal band showed all their talent and passion for what they do. Supported by the hellish drum performance of Hugo Almeida, Anifernyen took the stage by storm and spared no one. The audience reacted quite well and soon, controlled chaos ensued. Anifernyen conquered the audience, almost effortlessly. With a setlist mostly based on the band’s debut full-length album “Augur” the concert included exciting tracks such as “Augur”, “Tyrant”, “Wormwood”, “Foreshadowing”, “Graveborn”, “Scarlet Winter”, “Eldritch Moon”, “Emissary” and “Neverlight”. Hope to see them again soon.
Destroyers Of All took the stage next, bringing with them their famous progressive mix of thrash and death metal. Despite some crippling initial technical problems, the audience didn’t lose enthusiasm and even took a moment to share jokes while the situation was handled. Featuring good sound and significant presence, led by the good-spirited João Mateus, the band performed well-known songs like “False Idols”, “Death Healer”, and “Hate Through Violence”. There were also surprises, in the shape of “Ritual” and “Gehenna”: two brand new songs from the band’s upcoming album, currently in the works. The timeless “Tormento” was the calm before the storm that is “Into The Fire”. And if anyone had energy left, “Break The Chains” and “Astral Projection” took what was left. This quintet played an electrifying performance.
Coming close to the end of the night with a golden key, the band Godiva brought their iconic symphonic death metal with gothic elements to the stage. Since 1999 on the music scene, they performed songs from their latest album released in 2023, such as “The Meaning of Life”, “Media God” and “Godspell”. Featuring a well-rehearsed set with their characteristic imagery, Godiva filled the venue with smoke and colour creating an oppressive atmosphere. With a setlist full of catchy tracks, including “Black Mirror”, “Faceless”, “Death of Icarus”, “The Meaning Of Life”, “Dawn”, “Empty Coil”, “Hubris”, “Media God”, “Godspell” and “All Seeing Eye”, they made the audience vibrate until the last moment.
It was a bit late when WAKO began their show and many people were already tired. Yet, the band gave all they had on stage to cheer the remaining people. Unfortunately, some had already left but that didn’t discourage the group led by Nuno Rodrigues. Their musicianship and confidence on stage are that of an experienced group and that transpires into the performance itself. Overall, WAKO was quite solid, convincing some hardcore members of the audience to continue with the moshing and headbanging throughout the show while performing songs like “Ship Of Fools”, “Extispicium” or “Drifting Beyond Reality”. The show was based on the group’s two full-length albums. Even Nuno, the singer did some crowd surfing!
Tondela Rocks provided an intense night of music, uniting bands of different styles and winning the hearts of those present. Even though it could be more crowded, the pleasant and receptive audience made the festival a unique and memorable experience. The diversity of sound and the contagious energy showed that the passion for rock and metal is more alive than ever. Until the next edition of Tondela Rocks!
Special thanks to Rocha Produções
Text & photos by: Henrique Dias (@photo.by.livi)