The first edition of Oeste Underground Fest took place in Malveira, and the festival started on the right foot, as a benefit event for the local voluntary firefighters. A noble cause wrapped up in a day-long event represented by some of the most prominent acts of the Portuguese underground scene and with a familiar ambience.
Enblood had the honour to open up the hostilities for the day. This young group released “Oblivious Hate”, their first single, earlier this year and are currently working on their debut work. It was a good show to warm up the scarce crowd that started to gather in the venue.
Verme were up next. The other newcomers in the area took the stage by storm and showed that they are an act to follow closely. The band presented “Abutres” their first demo, which works very well live, being a brutal discharge of musical power that draws the attention of anyone in the room. However the room was still almost empty, for most people were even far from arriving at the venue.
The progressive death metal vibe of Aernus mellowed out the mood. With “Homorretrocessus”, their debut full-length work released just a little over a year ago, the band gave their best, but didn’t quite catch the full attention of the room. A good effort by a band whose sound has it’s magic built in the small details, it’s to be enjoyed peacefully, for it’s not the typical in your face metal music that you see in a lot of bands nowadays.
Burned Blood came to shake the place up again. Currently promoting their most recent work “In The Eyes of Ma’at”, released last year, the band continues their journey across the country whereas they’ve played in just about everywhere. Fast riffs and a monstrous presence on stage set the mood for a great show.
Time for some Toxikull sounds…for sure, this is for the old school hard n’heavy thrash from the 80s. Toxikull were formed in 2012 but only now they could release their debut full length untitled “Black Sheep” and spread some nostalgia for some contemplative part of the audience while others took the time for dinner or having some drinks. The band tried their best to gather more people in front of the stage though didn’t get that luck but it was a set full of energy and power through themes like “The Shepherd” or the self-titled “Black Sheep”.
The next invasion had to have something obscure but atmospheric at the same time, Solveig, presenting us a sound that is carrying some influences from the Nordic black metal and sometimes reminding us of Summoning imageries, and they really succeed on making the already vast audience concentrated on this kind of sonorous rituals on stage. Great presence by the vocalist and good interactions between the musicians and at least they left a veil of mysteries in our minds and ears. Thanks for showing us “The Way of the Sun”.
Then getting hit in the face with an old school death metal sledgehammer by Derrame wasn’t an easy introduction. After their ex-vocalist departure due to personal reasons, it seems the band is trying to get their level back even with a good presence and interaction between the musicians on stage and recreating themselves with Hugo, the new vocalist and it is a long way to reach the perfection. But nothing is lost with themes like “Back to Inferno” or the highly acclaimed “Crawl to Die”, to agitate the audience. It was a good comeback, now a full length is required to soothe the anxiety of the fans.
Extreme metal has many ways to evolve and one of them is to mix different combinations like thrash, death metal, hardcore and groove with a progressive touch, this is the musical recipe for Terror Empire invading our ears, hearts and minds. Needless to say, that this band had literally set the fire between the public through mosh pit circles and even some crowdsurfing at the venue. Their mission was about to strike it in black…accomplished, for sure! You might not be a fan but Terror Empire can entertain you, making you musically busy on a trip where you discover aggression incorporated in every note on a progressive form, and watching these guys destroying it live was a surprising blast!
For The Glory were one of the main attractions of the night. They came in strong and started a mosh pit right from the first chorus, complete with slam dancing. Although hardcore and extreme metal don’t always stand together, the crowd showed that they were accepting of their sound and were there to have fun, so they gave them a huge welcome. However, just after a couple of songs, a few technical problems with the sound made the band retire earlier from their gig, and caused a considerate delay in the rest of the evening.
Keeping the order of the destruction, in a good sense, Destroyers of All were the following lords to spread the chaos, exposing “Bleak Fragments” (making justice to the band’s album with the same name) of a groovy death metal, full of surprises to be unveiled not only live but also at a listening session while working on something else allowing a musical voyage discovery when you don’t know what to listen to. That was a simply fantastic and overwhelming performance on stage, every member in good shape giving its best and maximum and counting with the special appearance of the festival’s promoter to encourage the audience’s support that was already into the fire.
Brutal death/ slam sensation Analepsy were up afterwards, taking us to the next level of musical brutality. In the eve of releasing their debut full-length record, the band has shown us that they are at the top of their game, delivering an intense show. The set list featured some of tracks from their upcoming work, such as “Apocalyptic Premonition”, “The Vermin Devoury” and “Eons In Vaccum”. To finish up, the band played their most well-known (and the first) single “Genetic Mutations” featuring their former vocalist Bugs, for old time sake.
Primal Attack have recently returned to the stages, and being one of the headliners of this event were one of the most awaited acts of the night. Currently finishing off the details from their upcoming album “Heartless Oppressor” which is set to be released earlier next year, they have shown to be better than ever. It was an electric performance by this quintet that wrecked havoc in the crowd, especially in their song “Despise You All”.
The night was long and the crowd smaller, so only a few crazy souls resisted until the very last to witness Serrabulho’s insane party. Dressed in style, they honoured the hosts and the main cause behind the event, the brave volunteer fire fighters from Malveira corporation. In their usual fun mood, they played songs from both of their records, most of which familiar to everyone in there. Under a rain of pillow foam the circle pit and the dancing brightened the show that ended on a high note with a huge stage invasion.
Overall it was a day to remmember, and a very successfull first edition of an event whcih not only supported a noble cause, but also promoted some of the best bands and music that it’s made in the portuguese underground scene. A friendly ambience and a lot of camaraderie that went along with the music. Hopefully we will some more of Oeste Underground Fest again next year!
Words and Photos by: Rita Limede and Sandra Nunes
Special thanks to: Oeste Undergound Crew and Organization