Barroselas, a quiet town during the whole year, except for the last weekend of April…
For the past 16 years, all hell breaks loose thanks to the SWR Barroselas Metalfest. Last year the organizers celebrated the 15th anniversary of the most extreme festival in the country.
The festival started on Wednesday, 24th with a lot of social encounters, drinking… the usual… Many friends reunite only once a year in this festival. The Stage #3, a smaller stage within a tent outside the main festival site was open to everyone as it was free entrance. The first band to play was DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, hailing from France, followed by the national final night of the Wacken Open Air Metal Battle – Portugal. The bands selected were WASTE, who play a mix of Heavy/Thrash Metal, Crust/grinders BESTA, the brutal Death metal act SKINNING, and finally UTOPIUM, a band from Lisbon which mixes Sludge with Grindcore and Death Metal.
The final band for the day were oldschool grind/hardcore STRONG INTENTION, a band formed in the 90’s in Maryland, USA.
The winning band of the W.O.A was announced: UTOPIUM will be playing in this year’s edition of the biggest metal festival in the world!
|The Last Shot Of War||Decrepit Birth||Fen|
On to the first day of intensive Metal injection… According to the schedule, Stage #3 would welcome Australian act ASCETIC, a dark ambient GothRock project rather interesting, very synth/bass-driven journeys. Half an hour later, Stage #2 would have its first appearance of the day, Metalcore band THE WAY OF PURITY, a band which hides the member’s identity except for the singer.. Another half an hour had passed and FEN were the next ones to perform this time at Stage #1. Being the first band on the main stage, this English trio delivered a great show playing their own brand of Atmospheric Black Metal/Post-Rock, starting with “Consequence”, the first track of their latest album “Dustwalker”, followed by “As Buried Spirits Stir”, “Of Wilderness and Ruin”. Song structure changes between acoustic interludes and Post-Black Metal blastbeat hypnotic sequences, perfectly mixed together. The last song was “Exile’s Journey” the first track of their second album.
Belgium’s THE LAST SHOT OF WAR were next. Having a bad start, it took quite some time for the band to get some reactions from the audience, the sound took a bit to get clearer which would make a big difference in this band’s performance, due to the fact that they were playing something resembling Deathcore with the usual breakdowns, which didn’t seem to appeal the majority of the public. A pretty angry performance which got more interesting after half of the show had passed. After this is was time for some Tech Death Metal on Stage #1: DECREPIT BIRTH were awaiting the fans to arrive in order to start their brutal show. After solving a small technical issue right in the beginning, Bill conducted the violence onstage, from song to song the fans were responding with a big moshpit. “Symbiosis” from “Polarity” or the title track of 2008 “Diminishing Between Worlds” were part of the setlist. And if it was not enough, the band ended up with the grand final: a magnificently well performed cover of the longtime classic DEATH’s “Crystal Mountain”. What a killer moment on this festival! And it was just dinner time! Coming right up next were PNEUMA from Costa Rica, bringing their Progressive Death Metal into Portuguese lands. Enjoying a good stage sound, these guys gave all they had and the crowd responded well. Interesting and agressive songs, completed with progressive touches kept the songs from falling into boredom. A good effort, for sure!
|Cattle Decapitation||Miss Lava||Agalloch|
It was time for one of the most awaited bands of the day, CATTLE DECAPITATION! These American grinders sure know how to put up a devastating show! Starting with the killer “The Carbon Stampede” and “A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat”, both from their latest studio album “Monolith of Inhumanity”. Dave McGraw is an insanely fast drummer, very skilled guy which drives the band to another extreme of brutality. The band continued their assault with “Your Disposal”, “Forced Gender Reassignment” which is the song that became rather spoken about because of the extremely violent video that the band produced and the hit “Kingdom Of Tyrants”. The band played so fast that there was even a mistake regarding the amount of time that they would play, so to finish, Mr. Travis Ryan who has unique vocal skills which help this band have its own musical identity, introduced the last two songs: “Projectile Ovulation”, and the super fast gravity blastbeated “Regret & the Grave”. What a killer return to Portugal, come back soon! At the same time, Portuguese Doom/Psychadelic Rock act A TREE OF SIGNS was scheduled to play in Stage #3, with a special guest: Diana Piedade, best known for being part of a television singing show. After a few minutes, MISS LAVA, the Stoners from Lisbon started their set. Even though the band was very tight on stage and very communicative with the audience, they didn’t have that much people in the audience, a detail that didn’t demotivate the band, who gave everything they had. A version of Napalm Death’s “Scum” was missed by most of the people in the audience due to the fact that they played it in a different rhythm. Nonetheless, a good show from a band who is no stage rookie. During the intervals of the concerts, songs from the latest CONCEALMENT album could be heard on the speakers, giving some exposure to this rather underrated Portuguese band. American AGALLOCH took the stage right after. A quite awaited band on this year’s bill, who did not disappoint those who were anxious to see them. Once again, quite good sound, their performance started very slow, which gave the feeling of boredom, but after a few minutes, their set got more interesting. After each song, one could notice the link between the audience and the band due to the fan reactions. Playing songs like “Limbs”, “Falling Snow”, or “Ghosts of the Midwinter Fires” got a lot of applause and cheering. The band ended with “Our Fortress Is Burning” parts I & II.
After the atmospheric performance on Stage #1, we went back to Stage #2 to see one of the most different bands in this year’s festival. AKPHAEZYA came from France and played what can be classified as Avantgarde Metal, mixing progressive and Gothic elements. Featuring a very talented female singer called Nehl Aëlin, this band played a very energetic show, filled with complex musical structures which summed with the member’s non-stopping energy made one hell of a ride. Not catchy music, it took a while to get used to their complex sonority, but it was hard not to feel empathy towards this band. The last band to play at Stage #1 was headliner CRYPTOPSY. No need for introductions, this Brutal Death Metal act has spread chaos all around the world since the early 90’s, so everyone knew what was about to happen on stage… Led by the charismatic Matt McGachy, what followed was a set of chaos, moshpit, and brutality. “Two-Pound Torch”, “Benedictine Convulsions” and “Emaciate” started the show, where the crowd created a huge moshpit and Matt always cheering up for the people to participate in the chaotic pit. “Worship Your Demons” from “The Unspoken King” followed “White Worms” didn’t let the dust settle down, and until the end there was no peace. Almost reaching the end, the band decided to present the audience with a medley of songs from the first album “Blasphemy Made Flesh”. One of the most intense shows in this year’s edition so far. Italian Brutal Death Metal band VULVECTOMY started playing around 1am on Stage #2, delivering a fast-paced show as a trio, with programmed drums. They got a good reception from the audience who after the previous show was hungry for more brutality. Energetic Portuguese act KILLIMANJARO was the last band to play on that night, contaminating those who were still up at that time with their energy on Stage #3.
Text & pictures by: Filipe Gomes // FG Photo