Once again, the town of Vagos became a place of pilgrimage. Vagos Metal Fest brought thousands of people for another Metal Festival.
With a totally different promoter in charge of the arrangements, there was great curiosity to see how it would be. The festival structure was well arranged, while the placing of the stage, merch stands, drink and food stand, toilets, etc was pretty much the same, there was a lot of stands outside the festival area. This turned out a good idea since it created an incentive for people to walk around, grab a drink, check out the town’s stand, even if they weren’t attending the festival. Another good improvement was the setting up of an ATM (Multibanco) machine right outside the festival entrance.
With a clear bet on bringing Portuguese bands to join the international acts, Correia, Ramp, Bizarra Locomotiva, Godvlad, Heavenwood and Moonspell represented the Portuguese half of the festival. And the audience seemed to be pleased about this face, since even the first bands of each day had a considerable amount of audience. Correia brought a fresh wave of Stoner Rock which slowly captivated everyone in the audience with their catchy tunes taken from the album “Act One”. French Betraying The Martyrs made everyone jump and slam with their Symphonic Deathcore, filled with many breakdowns and bassdrops. There was even time for a cover of “Let It Go” (taken from the Disney movie Frozen) and a Wall Of Death to end it with a great boom.
Vektor made the ground tremble, with their furious Progressive Thrash Metal. “Charging The Void” from their amazing new album “Terminal Reflux” initiated one hell of a journey through space. One of the best shows in the entire festival. RAMP were next in the lineup. The Portuguese veterans returned to perform a great medley of Melodic Metal at Vagos Metal Fest. Highlighting the groovy riffs and Rui Duarte’s flexible vocal style. The fans reacted well, and even though it is an oldschool band, we’re sure they made a lot of brand new fans with this concert. Fleshgod Apocalypse flew from Italy to start the blastbeat festival. Tight, well played and presented Symphonic Death Metal, filled with dramatic passages and stagings, these Italians left no one indifferent, while presenting their brutal latest album “King”.
Continuing on the blastbeat speed, Dark Funeral and Nils Dominator made sure no stone was left unturned at Vagos. Also with a brand new record in the bag, the Swedish band performed their furious Black Metal with insane speed and crushing guitars, surpassing the technical issues noticed in the beginning of the show. We were later told (by Lord Ahriman in our exclusive interview) that their guitars had been lost by their airline while traveling between festivals. It’s been many years since they last visited Portugal, and judging by the audience’s reception in this show, let’s hope it won’t take them a handful of years to return.
Last but not least, Bizarra Locomotiva brought their contagious Industrial beats with harsh electronics and Sidónio’s typical way of spitting lyrics. The show was awesome and very well received by the audience. This could be felt by the band as by the end of the show, keyboard keys were thrown at the audience as a souvenir.
On the 2nd day, Godvlad opened the stage with their catchy Melodic Death/Gothic Metal. Driven by the charismatic female singer Vanessa, the band put up a good show. Sometimes they seemed a bit shy, but after a while got more comfortable. That’s exactly what happened here, and by the end of the concert, the band seemed like they were playing home and had established a connection with the audience, who once again showed up early to support the Portuguese opening bands, showing that not only the international bands were the captivating part of this lineup.
Heavenwood was next on the day lineup. From interacting with the audience we could notice the expectations were high for the show. And judging by the constant applause, everyone seemed satisfied. There was time to visit songs from all the records and to invite a female guest singer: Sandra Oliveira from Blame Zeus. “Suicidal Letters” marked the end of the concert.
Tribulation were one of the best surprises of the whole festival. Right after the moment they climbed the stage, they started the show just like they start the latest album. From majority of people we spook to this was the surprise band of the festival. Non-stopping motion, theatrical clothes and make-up completed the raw sonority, which made everyone bang their head and/or hit their foot on the ground. Their energy was notorious and contagious, and this was quite noticeable when the band left the stage under a huge applause.
If Tribulation raised dust in the air, Discharge made sure it wouldn’t settle. The Punk Hardcore pioneers spread chaos among the audience, with their fast and “straight to the face” music. Of course they were presented with some of the most violent moshpits in the entire festival. This kind of music makes you react, being almost impossible not to feel it within. “End Of Days” is a very powerful record and it works on stage. But of course the classics had to be played, so “State Violence, State Control” was one of the highlights, bringing complete chaos everywhere. Even though these guys are not young, they are still kicking it!
After such energy discharge, it was time to dance and party with Finntroll! Folk Metal at its finest generated another huge storm in the public. But this time, everyone was dancing and having a good time. The chemistry band/audience was incredible. While the band visited 5 of their albums, the setlist was mostly based on the latest album “Blodsvept”. A great and fun concert by these Finnish trolls with the big bang of the concert happening with “Trollhammaren”.
Helloween, the German titans of the Power/Speed metal genre returned to Portugal after many years and what we could witness at Vagos Metal Fest was a horde of enthusiastic fans, eager to see such an influential band. Even if you are not a fan of the band’s sonority, for sure in your life time you have stumbled into one of their most famous songs.With the biggest crowd of the whole festival, Andi Deris and his friends showed what an experienced band show looks like. Everything was synchronized, with excellent lightning synched with the music. Time traveling through different albums took fans back to the “Keeper Of The Seven Keys” albums for the encore with “Future World” and “I Want Out”. Andi was very communicative with the audience, making them scream words or simply make noise. Even though it took a long time for Helloween to return to Portugal (10 years?), no one could complain after the fantastic show provided by such experienced band.
Internationally acclaimed Portuguese band Moonspell had the honors of closing the festival. And they were up to the challenge! Opening up with “La Baphomette”, the band told everyone at Vagos Metal Fest to “Breathe” so they wouldn’t become “Extinct”. With a huge fanbase, it didn’t take long until everyone started banging their heads when “Night Eternal” kicked in. Then it was time to go back to 1996 and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fantastic “Irreligious” album, with 6 songs played from that album, making the older fans nostalgic and overjoyed. Overall a great show, gifted with the occasional Pyrotec show to make it even more stunning.
In conclusion, the first edition of Vagos Metal Fest was a big success. Well organized, there weren’t big delays on schedules except for the Dark Funeral show (due to technical issues and lost guitars). The staff was friendly and helpful and there weren’t major issues with this year’s edition. For sure next year some upgrades will be implemented, like the access ramp, an alternative staircase is utterly urgent. See you next year, Vagos!
Video & photos by: Filipe Gomes
Text by: Ana Duarte
Special thanks to Amazing Events