Once again, the month of August sees the return of one of the biggest Heavy Metal festivals in the country: the Vagos Metal Fest. The 2018 edition brought some news, such as the fact that it is now a 4-day festival, and the addition of one more stage (Stairway Stage).
Having the responsibility and honor of opening the festival, the Portuguese Booby Trap, local veterans of the Crossover / Thrash scene took the challenge. Already with a good group of fans in the front row, the band revealed a good attitude on stage. Booby Trap played a short set which served as a visit the discography of the band, right from its beginning with “No Conformity” from the 1994 demo “Brutal Intervention” to “Pickadick” taken from their latest EP” Drunkenstein “. The band also showed two new songs that will be part of their upcoming album: “O Bom, O Mau e o Filho da Puta” and “Stand Up and Fight”.
Destroyers Of All was the first band on the main stage and the intensity of the mosh circles doubled. The gig kicked off just like their debut “Bleak Fragments” – “From Ashes Reborn” / “Hollow Words” -, revealing a handful of people who knew the album and/or had been to a Destroyers Of All gig before. The band was clearly pleased with such acknowledgement and response, but still singer João incited them further, in exchange for a new song. The reward was indeed given by the end of the show, in the form of “Break The Chains”, which will be featured in the upcoming sophomore album.
From Linda-a-Velha came Trinta & Um, another veteran band that has been around since 1995, this time in the Hardcore scene. Over a little over 40 minutes, they played some of their hits like “Advogado do Diabo”, “Coma 85” or “O Cavalo Mata”. While the quartet spread its message on stage, the public responded in a very energetic way, showing that there is a union between Hardcore and Metal fans.
Back in the main stage, the first foreign band was InSammer, a promising Swedish quintet who has a modern and melodic sound, reminding bands like Deftones or even Guano Apes. Led by the charismatic Viktorija, the band presented their debut album “Seeds”. Strangely they started the concert with a cover of Russian pop duo t.A.T.u “Not Gonna Get Us”. A rather unexpected version! The audience was pretty calm throughout the whole performance, which focused on the debut album “Seeds”. Leaning towards the end came a version of the Swedish group Secret Service in the form of the song “Flash in the night”.
After the Swedes, another band celebrating 20 years of existence, this time the mighty Theriomorphic. With the nightfall as background, a ruthless melodic death metal discharge swept the grounds of the Vagos Metal Fest. “Silent Moon” started the devastation proving that they weren’t kidding around. Well received by the public, the band had some technical problems that hampered their performance, but this did not discourage them nor did it make their energy disappear. “Fire” from their latest EP “Of Fire and Light” proved just that. It was great to listen to older classics like “Burning Freedom”, shame there wasn’t enough time for “Til Death Do You Part”! Overall it was a good concert, too bad for the technical issues!
The headliner of the first night was the Israeli band Orphaned Land. Being a group already known by the Portuguese public, it was long awaited by the legion of fans who received them euphorically and with open arms. The concert began just as the newest album “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs”, with the song “The Cave”, followed by “All Is One” of the album with the same name. Throughout the show, the chemistry and interaction between the audience and the band was enormous. During songs such as “We do not Resist” or the iconic “Like Orpheus” it was notorious that those who were there knew the lyrics and sang along the whole time. The set was as long as fifteen songs, but nobody seemed to be upset about it. Taking advantage from excellent stage sound, Orphaned Land performed one of the best concerts of the night.
Transiting to much more extreme sound scapes, the Portuguese Analepsy brought the best Slam / Brutal death metal in the country. The first song was an excellent choice “Apocalyptic Premonition”, a prediction of how the entire Analepsy concert was going to be. “Witnesses of Extinction” continued the violence on and off stage. An enormous moshpit formed at the beginning and remained active until the last moments of the show. Fans were presented with “Atrocity Deeds”, played live for the first time. For the end, a visit to the first work with “Viral Disease”, “Genetic Mutations” and after a few moments, an encore with “Post Incubation Period”. Another brutal concert by this collective from Lisbon.
The German Dust Bolt were the last band on the main stage. 2 years after their debut in Portugal, it was possible to verify that the band matured a lot. They raised the bar by playing a concert of superior quality when compared to the first visit. Opening with “Mind The Gap” followed by “Awake the Riot – the Final War”, the whole performance was worthy of headbanging and moshing. Tireless while cheering by the audience, the response from the fans was intense who still had energy for the moshpit.
It was past 2 o’clock in the morning, when the Portuguese Impera took the Stairway stage of Vagos Metal Fest. This group proved to be quite competent on a technical level, performing a strong concert. “Sisyphean Task” and “Lights” demonstrated all the creativity of the group, but it kind of felt in the air that many people did not know the Impera at all. So this concert was an excellent opportunity to meet a group that has a lot of potential. As a bonus, the band played a new track, (still untitled) that will be part of the next album.
And so the first day of four of the Vagos Metal Fest took place. At first glance, there were significant improvements in the festival venue and logistics, providing more music to heavy metal-hungry fans through the Stairway Stage. The first day went well, but it was still just a warming up for what was to come in the following days …
Photos by: Filipe Gomes
Text by : Ana Duarte