The pandemic has taken a toll on us all. The cultural sector has seen countless shows and other activities getting canceled. Hopefully, the overall scenario seems to be taking a turn for the better. So it was an enormous delight to finally witness a concert again after such a long hiatus. Portuguese enigmatic black metal act Gaerea visited the city of Leiria accompanied by local bands Dallian and Lord of Confusion. Featuring three performances with their distinct identities, the José Lúcio da Silva theater hosted an event filled with variety and atmosphere.
Lord of Confusion was the first act to take the stage. The concert started just a few minutes after the scheduled time. The band from Leiria brought with them a very well-executed Stoner Doom wave led by Carlota Sousa, a singer endowed with a powerful and well-applied voice, who was also in charge of the keyboards. Lord of Confusion didn’t need to accelerate at all in order to bring down a heavy, yet not claustrophobic atmosphere. It was a quite solid concert with a hypnotic feeling reminding us of the 80’s stoner doom classics. Taking advantage of a great sound mix, the audience responded very well. The setlist included two new songs “Land of Mistery” and “Crust Sabbath” and only then Lord of Confusion completed their performance with the song “Witchmantia”, previously released in 2020 in very limited quantities containing a live performance. Just like the old proto-metal stoner rock bands used to do back in the ’70s: live performances all the way.
Dallian was next. The modern blackened death metal band with symphonic arrangements took the stage of the theater by storm. “Satori” set the mood for what was to come with its mid-paced feeling. For those who didn’t know the band until then, it became clear that the band was not going to disappoint. Featuring 3 guitar players, a not-so-common detail, the band gave all they had. What followed was a cohesive performance worthy of any bigger name in the scene, a bit spoiled by a not-so-clear sound mix… Guitars were drowned in the mixing. But ignoring that, the group collected enthusiastic applause from the audience while they emanated stage confidence as the show went on. The reactions to “The Lie Vision” and “A Lullaby for the Wicked” proved it. “Caixa Pensatória” seemed to create a stronger bond with the audience with its partial Portuguese lyrics. “The Nun From Azrael” and “Vãsanã” were the definitive highlights of this performance.
Last but not least, the headliners Gaerea kicked the volume to 11 and showed why they have huge support worldwide and fame for their strong and embracing shows. The masked men introduced the audience to their latest album “Limbo” by opening the concert with “To Ain” and “Null”, two of the singles to be accompanied by a video during the band’s initial promotion of the album out on Season of Mist last year. Immediately a change in the audience’s behavior was notorious. Since this was a seated event, some people couldn’t stay still and started to stand up to enjoy the show. “Absent” and “Whispers” brought the “Unsettling Whispers” album to the table and helped solidify the heavy atmosphere within the theater. Soundwise the performance was involving and powerful. Led by the charismatic hooded singer who sometimes sounded inhuman, as if he was channeled into a higher state of “Catharsis”. Puns apart, “Mare” closed down the performance. But, when everyone thought it was over, theater lights on, people raising, and ambient music coming from the venue’s speakers, Gaerea unexpectedly returned for an encore playing the song “Void”, extracted from their self-titled debut EP.
Overall it was a fantastic evening where schedules, health and safety regulations were applied and complied with and it became a night to remember.
Special appreciation to Hard Knocks Events, the organizer of the event.