Among the few underground Metalfests taking place in Portugal, SWR Barroselas Metalfest is one of the very own festivals that had emerged from a simple small fest (began in 1998) and evolved to what we know today as the famous three days underground fest in all Portugal with 2 stages, camping site, hot showers, barbecue grills and many places to eat and drink...
It occurs every spring by the end of April in a village called Barroselas located in the northside about 14 km away from the city of Viana do Castelo.
The varieties of metal genres that SWR brought us this edition go from funeral doom like Mournful Congregation to extreme modern thrash such as The Haunted.
In this last SWR edition, the organization was expecting approximately four thousand people, which is a huge quantity compared to the space where it took place.
The first day of the fest always begins later than the others since there are fewer bands playing. You could clearly notice an increase in the numbers of people who attended this day compared to the last years, an evolution in terms of management as well as the punctuality of the concert’s schedules.
After me and the photographer got lost on our way to the fest, we arrived just in time to see the Austrian band Dornenreich, who played a repertoire mostly based on songs of the first albums. Unfortunately there was no time for more recent songs since they had been played on an acoustic session (with free entrance) the day before, so we hadn’t got the chance to see them, however, for the delight of many who like us didn’t make it to the acoustic session, Dornenreich ended up with the first song of the latest album: Drang.
Later at night, British band Akercocke entered on stage, vocals Mendonça (with his new haircut) tried to speak in Portuguese to the audience: “Como vai aqui?” which is something like: “How’s it going?” but with a little bit of Google translator, not bad at all for an English guy! (don’t get me wrong).
At the beginning of the evening most people were still with hangover, so the ambience was calmer during the first shows of Portuguese bands such as Equaleft and Morbid Death.
SWR Metalfest also welcomed “underground celebrities” such as the logo master Christophe Szpajdel and Portuguese personality António Freitas - who promotes heavy metal through a TV and Radio show.
There were some changes in the schedule: Absu, who were playing on this day, ended up closing the festival on the third day.
By the end of the evening, Portuguese band Corpus Christii went up on SWR stage for the fourth time presenting us the best that Portuguese black metal has to offer. Despite the stereotypical remarks of Nocturnus Horrendus during the show, many head banged to the sound of All Hail. Pig heads were all over the stage, probably following the tradition of bands such as Mayhem and Gorgoroth.
Even though the musical genre of Mournful Congregation didn’t match very well the anxiety that most people showed by the time, the audience was pretty much into it, but it also served as a recess for the next coming band: The Haunted.
The Haunted was undoubtedly the band that gathered more people inside the concert tent. Peter Dolving was remarkably communicative with the audience, appealing to the union of musical genres and styles, just as the variety of people that was present at this fest. Songs like Moronic Colossus and All Against All rocked everybody’s boat.
If the heat outside was almost unbearable, inside the concert tent was even worse! It was like the green house effect only in smaller proportions. Anyway, many people just didn’t care and joined the mosh pit. The presence of the Portuguese writer José Luis Peixoto with his wife surprised everybody.
The Portuguese band of Brutal Death, Dead Meat, played a Dying Fetus cover Kill your Mother Rape Your Dog, making everybody “dance” just like in Cock and Ball Torture videos! It was very amusing indeed.
The Firstborn: Bruno Fernandes (vocals), who is also a part of the SWR crew, had to make a small “break” on his stage manager duties to commemorate his birthday doing something he loves: playing music. Bruno’s golden corpse paint matched very well their “Buddhist Black Metal” style, along with an acoustic instrument such as the Sitar and a kind of ritualistic buddhist chants.
The coldness of Nehëmah’s sound contrasted with the heat that was felt both inside and outside the concert tent.
Finally the beginning of a night that was going to be long and heavy started with the Swedish band Urgehal who, unlike Nehëmah, were characterized by their good interaction with the audience; no doubt they received a warm welcome from Portuguese headbangers on their first visit to Portugal.
The North American band Origin continued sucking up energies with their Extreme Technical Death Metal. Even so, people were preparing for the most awaited bands of the night: Sodom and Absu.
The Brazilian band Torture Squad was still playing and the stage 1 was already starting to fill up with people who waited for the Thrash Metal gods; the audience screamed for the band, but still they entered on stage with a small delay. Starting off with classics like Napalm in the Morning, and continuing to party with tracks like The Saw is the Law, Sodomized, Sodomy and Lust, Agent Orange and so on. It was probably the best concert of the night, people went crazy going up on stage so they could join the crowd surf, and vocalist Thomas Such was even hugged by two chicks that climbed up on stage.
Absu: It’s hard to believe that 8 years have passed since Tara was released and the band went on hold and finally split up. With a new line-up including one more vocalist, which created a new stage dynamic but always emphasizing Proscriptor as the band leader, who spoke to the audience during the breaks between songs. At this time people were showing signs of exhaustion, it was difficult to follow the speed and the energy of the songs; however, people enjoyed what would be the final concert of the fest.