VOA Fest returned under a new name and venue, the chosen place was Quinta da Marialva in Corroios. At first this change was heavily criticized by many Portuguese fans, however, given the flux of people in there we might say all was forgotten and a chance was given to this reborn festival on its new home. Those who went, have surely enjoyed themselves.
Dark Oath opened the party. With a strong female voice (and presence) the young band brought us “When Fire Engulfs The Earth” released a few months ago. The venue was still empty, but that didn’t stop them to dedicate themselves to give all they had. So the festival was up to a great start thanks to them. The band has a lot of potential and to conquer bigger stages such as this one.
Adimiron, an Italian band with a progressive sound who tried to make the people get out of the shadows and partying under the hot sun. Months after performing in Oporto with Wolfheart and Swallow The Sun, the group continues to promote their latest album ”Timelapse” and even with a lot of people still entering the venue and with a hot weather, they’ve managed to put up a nice show.
Next was Mantar, a duo well known by the Portuguese public, reason why they finally brought more people closer to the stage. With the heavy sound the guitar and drums only, Mantar opened the first circle pit and with the sympathy of Hanno (guitar and vocals) people started partying, fighting the hot temperatures. The setlist was divided between their two albums, “Death By Burning” (a title that seemed to match this day) and “Ode To The Flames”, so with that they managed to wake up the fans.
The following act was the highly anticipated Katatonia. The swedish band, who released their new album ”The Fall Of Hearts” three months ago, brought up a setlist promoting this very record but also included some classics such as “July”, “My Twin” or “Soil’s Song”. There were some technical problems during the concert, the fans but the kept happy and communicative with Jonas Renkse while the problems were being fixed. Fixe years without performing in Portuguese venues, the band showed that they still have a strong fan base in the country, and will be returning again soon this October!
The relationship between Anathema and Portugal is special one, and after Daniel Cardoso entered the band it got even stronger. That complicity was evident during the conversations between the members and the public. It was a very energetic concert since the beginning until the end. Mainly focused on the latest release ”Distant Satellites”, it was emotional and the beauty of some of the most classics songs gives you chills down your spine, specially in some of the fan favorite tracks such as “A Simple Mistake”, “Closer” or “Fragile Dreams”. The group knew exactly how to poke the fans, who corresponded being almost a choir to the band. Anathema showed they’re a band on an excellent shape and they can bring joy to the heaviest metal fans.
The last act was the most antecipated band of this first day. Opeth, whose last performance in Portugal was at Vagos Open Air in 2014, played a set that revisited the various albums of their 26 year old carreer. The sound was perfect and the Swedish act didn’t disappoint the screaming audience. The always funny Mikael Åkerfeldt was clearly the man who the fans most yelled for. The frontman made everyone laugh with his cryptic sense of humor, making the show even more enjoyable. With a powerful performance and with the help of the fans, Opeth made a perfect ending of the first day of the festival, although the party continued the DJs for a few more hours.
After an emotionally burden in the first day, the second one started out with the exhibition of the documentary “Blackhearts”, accompanied by the presence of the director and producer Christian Falch. The documentary follows the journey of three black metal fans and musicians from Greece, Iran and Colombia with their bands until they finally arrive in Norway.
Soldier brought their thrash vibe from Spain along with their most recent release “The Great Western Oligarchy”, from 2015. Although musically speaking they did’t stand out that much, they’re just one more OK thrash metal band, their attitude and stage presence have shown to be their greatest strengths. It was an extremely interesting show that set the pace for a wonderful day to come.
Under a burning hot sun the Portuguese groove masters Equaleft managed to draw the attention of the crowd, and even got the first mosh pit of the day. Although they’re still promoting their debut long play release “Adapt and Survive”, they still keep surprising us with the quality of their live performances and gathering even more followers as time goes by. In only 30 minutes of play time, they were able to convince the crowd of their quality and put on one hell of a show.
Dressed in long and embroidered apparel Schammasch tried to recreate a ritualistic ambiance to better suit their sound, but giving the fact that they were playing on an open air venue and on one of the hottest days of the year in broad daylight, that magic fell a bit short. Even though, their performance was fairly competent and most certainly motivated some of the people present to deepen their knowledge of the band’s discography. The setlist focused mainly on “Triangle”, their triple record from earlier this year.
Abbath is an irreverent and iconic character in the world of black metal. Former mentor of Immortal, the musician is back with the same sense of humour and musical quality on a solo venture. Always on a playful mood in between songs, the group has proven its worth and delivered a solid performance. The setlist was designed based on the tracks from their self-titled release, yet it also included some Immortal pearls such as “One By One”, “Tyrants” and “All Shall Fall”. A great black metal moment by a man who isn’t afraid to take himself a bit less serious and giving a wonderful spectacle.
The melancholic and gloomy vibe of Paradise Lost was the perfect soundtrack to the descent onto nighttime. A fairly known band among the Portuguese crowd, the group returned with “The Plague Within” and dazzled us with the beauty and energy of their performance. In the middle we got to enjoy some of their classic and iconic songs such as “Hallowed Land”, “One Second” or “Embers Fire”. In the end, the audience was pleased and the band left the stage with a feeling of a work well done. Until next time!
Teutonic Four legendary band Kreator closed the festival on a high note with an explosive show. With fast songs and easy chorus, the crowd surfing and mosh pit were a must and, helped to release all the energy that was still left from a long day. The frontman asked for chaos and the public made it happen. The setlist was somewhat like a “best of” compilation so songs like “Phobia”, “Pleasure To Kill” or “Flag Of Hate” (this one during the encore) were sung in one voice by the public, which gave you the chills. In the end, the promise of a fast return with a new record was made, and it will surely be a blast.
Overall with was an excellent edition of the festival, great bands, an interesting new venue near public transportations, good ambiance and friends. Although the after party didn’t last long, something which in some way disappointed some of the people present. The camping site wasn’t the best ever, but other than that, everything went as well as the promoters involved have accustomed us to. The party will go on next year, VOA FEST will return on the 4th and 5th of August, so we’ll see you all in there!
Words by: Rita Limede and Zé Serôdio
Photos by: Rita Limede (full galery available in here!)
Special thanks to Prime Artists and PEV Entertainment