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SWR Barroselas Metalfest XVIII - 30-04/02-05-2015 | FESTIVALPHOTO

SWR Barroselas Metalfest XVIII - 30-04/02-05-2015


The day was April 29th and one of the most awaited events of the year had finally come: the 18th anniversary of SWR Barroselas Metalfest. An excellent edition as always, with the exception of the pouring rain (which can not really be avoided), and some mishaps regarding the sound, but overall, it was sublime. I have a great fondness for this festival, be it for the atmosphere, the lineup, or the people, but this year in particular made me very eager as far as lineup is concerned, since Shining have been my favourite band for a few years now, Gutalax are also one of my favourite bands and a band I had been hoping to see for a while, and of course having the chance to see acts such as Fleshgod Apocalypse, Benighted, and Entombed AD to name a few, which were some of my biggest expectations regarding this year.

Wednesday, April 29th - ''Day 0''
After a long journey from Lisbon to Barroselas, we finally arrived at the campsite. The weather was good - something we hoped would continue, but those hopes would be shattered later - and setting up camp was rather quick, so soon we were off to a trip to the village, which I had missed a lot. A lot of the afternoon/evening was spent hanging around with friends, some of which I hadn't seen in a while. So, due to all the catching up, the first band I saw was actually the last band at the SWR Arena (the outdoor stage), the portuguese Vizir. Now, they are a band that puts on quite a peculiar show, even if in this particular occasion they didn't have their usual porn movie playing during the concert, that didn't make it any less entertaining. ''Rambo Fodas'', ''Cemitério Gay'', and ''Fui à Missa Com a Mão na Pissa'' were some of the songs they played that night, as they also presented their ''Ultramar Sexual'' release. After that, the plan was to rest and get a good night's sleep, but that plan fell through and sleep was rather scarce that night.

Thursday, April 30th - ''Day 1''
The day started fairly early considering the sleep I got was in fact just a little nap, and the weather was starting to change , which wasn't a good sign at all. The day went on quite well, and at about 18:30, I headed in to see the first band of the day: Equaleft. They opened the LOUD! Dungeon (second indoor stage), and everything seemed to be going well with their performance, however I wasn't quite captivated by their music or show, so even though I had nothing negative to point out, I didn't refuse the chance to go see the merch stands during their gig. This year was more complete when it came to stands, compared to last year, so I left some of my hard earned money there during the course of the festival. After that initial sweep, I headed to the SWR Colosseum (indoor mainstage) to see Internal Suffering. I was blown away by the Columbian brutal death act, who were on tour with Neuroma and Incinerate, a tour we were lucky to get, and they played a really, really good 35 minutes. Next up, on the LOUD! Dungeon were the aforementioned Neuroma. The British band also put on an amazing show, with good sound and a sick performance, mixed up in an atmosphere of brutality. The day was off to a good start, and it was time for dinner, which means sacrificing a band or two. So, the next band I saw were the Italians Fleshgod Apocalypse. I was really looking forward to see them, but some issues with the sound that made some things imperceptible during a good part of the show, like the female vocalist Veronica's voice, a lot of guitar parts, the bass, and some of the drum parts. The sound was fixed, however. It also seemed like their mind was too much on the theatrical side of things rather than the actual music, but aside from all of that, it was still a really brilliant show. Francesco Paoli's drumming was one of the highlights of the gig, along with ''The Violation'' and ''The Forsaking'', and I did enjoy Veronica's voice, as I felt it added another dimension to the songs themselves. The concert came to an end, and Grime played next in the LOUD! Dungeon, however, I stayed in the mainstage and watched the gig through the giant monitors. I'm not quite familiar with Grime's music, but it seemed rather dull to me, an opinion shared by a lot of people who were there and left halfway. Anyway, the time I had been waiting for finaly came, as the infamous Swedish extreme metallers Shining stormed the stage, being my third time seeing them, and by far the best. Their last visit to our country had been 4 years ago, so this ceremony was long overdue. Like during Fleshgod Apocalypse's gig, the sound was a bit off at first, but this was fixed earlier than before, and after that everything sounded great. Setlist wise, it was rather satisfying. ''Yttligare ett steg närmare total jävla utfrysning'' and ''Submit to Self-destruction'' were two of the songs I was hoping to hear the most, and putting my bias aside, they were two of the highlights of the show. Another highlight was ''Ohm - Sommar med siv'', as it was beautifully sung by both Niklas and Christian. ''Förtvivlan, min arvedel'', ''Låt oss ta all från varandra'', ''Människa, o'avskyvarda människa'', and the last song for the night ''For the God Below'', which is such a perfect song to hear both live and in recorded form, were the songs we were presented with, save for one or two songs I may be forgetting. Performance wise, it was splendid. This is considered Shining' strongest lineup so far, and with good reason. Guitarists Peter Huss and Euge Valovirta share an amazing musical chemistry on stage, providing for some stellar guitar work, and even moreso individually; Rainer Tuomikanto is an excellent drummer, and puts a very personal power and drive into his performances that is just such a joy to witness; bassist Christian Larsson, who also does the backup vocal work, most notoriously on ''Ohm - Sommar med siv'' and ''For the God Below'', is also an incredibly good musician, and it was so good to actually be able to hear the bass throughout the gig; and last but not least, Niklas Kvarforth. Now, whether you like the man or not, there is no denying he has a very strong stage presence, and a really driving vocal ability. Of course, there were the usual stage antics and whatnot, but one needs to learn to look past that and enjoy things objectively. ''For the God Below'' came, and so did the end of the show. Incinerate and Crisix played next, but unfortunately I couldn't see them due to circumstances out of my control, and I was a bit bummed out.

Friday, May 1st - ''Day 2''
With what can only be described as utter disappointment, I woke up to pouring rain. It had started during the night, and kept on for the remainder of the festival, almost completely non-stop. My tent had leaked, one of my shoes had turned into a swimming pool, and I was not in a good mood at all. But one cannot control the weather, so we all just had to suck it up. The day went on as good and normal as it could, when we got the news of a schedule change: our good friends Analepsy, who were scheduled to play at 2:00am on the SWR Arena, had been moved to the LOUD! Dungeon and scheduled to play in a couple of hours, since Emptiness would not be able to make it in time due to flight issues. It was an amazing upgrade for them, and even on a short notice, the place was packed. They presented their latest EP ''Dehumanization by Supremacy'', and everything went very well. The sound was good, the crowd was pumped, and they proved that no matter what time they play at, and whatever short notices may be thrown their way, they still manage to be great at what they do. ''Neo-born Virus'', ''Colossal Human Consumption'', ''Genetic Mutations'', and ''Post Incubation Period', that they ended up playing twice, were some of the songs we were given that night. That being said, and the gig having come to an end, it was time to see Bong at the SWR Colosseum. All I can muster to say about that show is that it was a trip. I just closed my eyes and transcended into another plane of existence. It was insanely good, and it was a crash when it ended, you were left just wanting more. But that wasn't possible, and after taking a break for dinner, it was time to see Enthroned. I wasn't particularly eager to see them, but boy was I wrong. The Belgian black metal band performed and inherently evil show, great in its darkness, and I was thoroughly surprised. They played for nearly an hour, and it was relentless, just as it should be, but the oddness of the sound in that stage kept putting a grey cloud over the gigs. Anyway, I took a small break, and after Zom, everyone gathered once again in the SWR Colosseum to see the mighty Primordial. And how to describe that show? Completely fascinating. The performance, the atmosphere, everything ws in such a way great that kept your eyes glued to the stage, absorbing every sound and vibration that was sent through that hour. We were graced with songs such as ''Where Greater Men Have Fallen'', ''Babel's Tower'', ''The Alchemist's Head'', and ''Coffin Ships'', finishing with ''Empire Falls'', and leaving us for the night. 11Paranoias played next in the LOUD! Dungeon, but like Grime, I found it to be rather dull. But that was of no consequence, because the shit party beasts Gutalax were still to play! The Czech band threw a really fun party, so fun that I actually sprained my ankle (hey, shit happens!) about 4 songs in, sending a shooting, mind numbing pain up my leg that barely let me drag myself to safety, but that didn't quite matter during the remainder of the show, because the fun only stops when the last song ends. ''Toi Toi Story'', ''Robocock'', and ''Fart Fart Away'' were some of the highlights of the passage of the scat train through our country. And so Gutalax ended, the pain started to get worse, and my ankle was now about the size of my fist (or so it seemed), so I went back to camp until the cold and the rain forced me to bed.

Saturday, May 2nd - ''Day 3''
Another rainy day, a lot of pain, and mud everywhere, were the things I woke up to on the (unfortunately) last day of the festival. I was now limping and looking like something out of The Walking Dead, and today still had a lot going on. After another good day, and a quite entertaining soccer match, I once more headed out to the SWR Colosseum to see one of my favourite portuguese bands, Raw Decimating Brutality. As always, they played a really fun and energetic show, a perfect way to start the day right, with ''Limpei o Cu a Um Saco de Cimento'', ''Napalm na Obra'', and my personal favourite, ''Fluido Vaginal'', being some of the tunes we partied to. My injury proved to be a limitation, as I only saw the bands that played at the SWR Colosseum, because the pain kept making me sit down and rest for a while, as I learned that an untreated and swollen sprain is not fun at all. So, the next band I saw were the French band Benighted, who played one of the best shows of the entire festival. It was completely brutal and violent, like being hit by a high velocity train. ''Let the Blood Spill Between My Broken Teeth'', and ''Slut'', were two of the main highlights of that gig, although it is quite hard to choose a favourite moment. Speaking of favourite moments, the band I saw next were not one of them. I had seen Impaled Nazarene at Hellfest last year, and I left halfway because I was very disappointed. I was hoping this time would be different, and despite the fact that I managed to stay through the entire show, I'm very ambiguous towards it. Performance wise, it wasn't bad. It was rather good actually. But I only discovered that after plugging my ears because the sound was really, really loud. It was completely imperceptible. ''But it's supposed to be raw and imperceptible'' I was told. I am extremely well aware of that, but still. Other than that, it was good, even if they seemed as ''unmotivated'' as they did the first time I saw them. I guess I'll just stick to records. And after yet another break, one of the most awaited bands had come: Entombed AD. Having seen Entombed before (no AD), I was rather curious and excited to see how this would turn out, and I was not disappointed in the slightest. It was absolutely great, and Entombed being one of my favourite bands, it was really good to be able to witness this, and even if some people don't agree with the band's existence, still, it was a chance to see an amazing performance being put into songs like ''I for an Eye'', ''Second to None'', ''Stranger Aeons'', and ''Left Hand Path''. It was a definite favourite, and great way for me to end the festival concert wise. I was actually really looking forward to see Skull Fist, but when I went back to camp to rest my foot, it was like god's wrath was sent down from the sky in the form of rain, and it was impossible to leave, let alone when I could barely walk.

So, this was the end. Another great edition of a great festival, spent with great friends, and met some cool people, had some weird experiences, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Also, my most sincere congratulations to my brothers Analepsy for their accomplishments. See you next year!

Skribent: Ana Raquel Mendes
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