It was under what you could call an infernal heat that the first few metalheads started their march towards Side B, in Benavente, Portugal, to attend the fifth edition of Sardinha de Ferro (or, as one of the bands of the day – Ravensire – had written on their set list, “Iron Sardine of Hell”!). An event that has gained some loyal followers and that is now an unmissable date in their calendar.
With yet a rather small crowd inside the dim (the heat is not a great friend of those who dress in black) the first band to hit the stage was SPEEDEMON with their speedy thrash metal, living up to their name. With their first EP “First Blood” released earlier in 2015 but active since 2011, they gave their audience what was expected – fast and heavy metal, taking us back in time to the 80’s with some modern twists here and there – and letting us know that their music “goes out to those who love fast, loud and no—bullshit music!”.
It was now time for MACHINERGY to try to get the crowd moving – not an easy job, with most of the crowd roaming around the celling fan in the middle of the venue and the heat outside not giving anyone a break yet. The band from Arruda dos Vinhos started their performance with “Antagonista” from their most recent effort “Sounds Evolution” and the display of thrash metal was non-stop until the end, with a cover of Ramones’ “We don’t care”.
The third band to hit the stage was CRUZ DE FERRO and with them the first set of hair guitars and raised fists in a crowd now getting bigger and bigger. With their traditional heavy metal, they presented everyone with must-haves such as “Auto de Fé” or “Guerreiros do Metal” but also an absolute debut of “Quinto Império” that pleased the crowd and was a good taster of what is yet to come.
The heavy metal force was strong until now and to top that up, it was now RAVENSIRE‘s turn to hit the stage and making us all feel even more like we had our white hi top sneaks on! With their 2013’s full-length album “We March Forward” being released on a limited edition tape that very same day, the set list included anthems like “Gates of Ilion” and “Drawing the Sword” but also brand new songs to be featured in their next record, “Legend of Crosshaven” or “Cromlech Revelations”. “Stay True, Stand Tall” brought the concert to a close and also the array of traditional heavy metal for the day.
With INTHYFLESH it was now time for black metal to dominate our minds and hearts. The band that travelled all the way from Porto and had already shared the stage with today’s headliners the night before, delivered grimness and cold tunes to those present at Side B. With 3 full-lengths and several splits, EPs and demos to their name, their revisited their discography without much communication but with all the violence and distance the aura of their songs calls for.
The beast brigade arrived. THERIOMORPHIC are now a staple of Portuguese death metal and are celebrating 10 years of their first full-length “Enter the Mighty Theriomorphic” – and we raised our horns to celebrate with them. The album was played in its entirety with great mastery to an enthusiastic crowd and, in a night of several debuts and new songs, “Absent Light” was played, letting everyone one know there is still more to come from this beast of Portuguese death metal. Horns up!
IRAE arrived and conquered with a wave of pure, dirty, raw black metal. Vulturius and his fellow live members drowned us all with the satanic and cursed lyrics of “A Ira Nasce nas Noites de Sintra”, “Fátima em Ruínas” or “Prime Evil Black Metal”. To round up their performance, they presented their audience with a Venom/Bathory medley, leaving us at the gates of hell and ready to embrace the raw presence of the following act.
The headliner’s and, one can assume, the most expected band of the fest was about to bless us with their presence. After their performance in SWR XIV in 2011, SATANIC WARMASTER were back to Portuguese ground. Part of the setlist was taken from “Fimbulwinter”, the latest full-length released in late 2014 but we were also graced with classics such as “Black Destiny”, “Carelian Satanist Madness”, “Burning Eyes of the Werewolf” and “Vampiric Tyrant”. Over an hour of cold, darkness, satanism and war without mercy that left a mark in every soul present in the room. May the war master be back soon again.
The night was now drawing to a close and so it was time for VIZIR to take the stage in leopard print and diapers – why not? – to end the evening in a lighter, yet still dark, note. With their tunes that range from tales of disgrace one might encounter while out and about, to the fun things one can do at church or during Sunday school in the name of Satan, their performance was well received by the last standing iron warriors and sealed Sardinha de Ferro until the next infernal summer.
See you there!
Text & Photos: Joana Martins