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Vagos Open Air - 07-08/09-08-2015 | FESTIVALPHOTO

Vagos Open Air - 07-08/09-08-2015


Another year, another edition of Vagos Open Air, and this one had the best line-up in roughly three years. Overall, conditions improved and it was a blessing not to have idiots running around the camping throughout the night waking everyone up, like last year. Just that was a positive point.

Onto the bands, and the first band of the first day were the portuguese Scar for Life. Starting with the quality of the sound, which was less than satisfying, and the band itself wasn't much better, the festival was off to a bad start. Luckily, that changed when the also portuguese Moonshade got on stage. There was an instant connection with the crowd, as they played their epic melodic death metal with great competence, which was enhanced by the sound that now was much better than it had been for the previous band. They presented us with some tracks from their EP ''Dream | Oblivion'', closing the show with the single ''Goddess Eternal''. Afterwards, the swedish Vildhjarta gave us one of the best concerts of the festival. Not everyone is a fan of their sound, as some found it boring and repetitive, but to the fans of the band it was absolutely not the case. Opening up with an instrumental intro that bursted into ''Shadow'', followed by ''Eternal Golden Monk'', and making their way into the setlist with ''Traces'', ''Dagger'', and ''Mist Förstandet'', ending with ''All these Feelings'', they did an incredible job on their first time in Portugal, and one can only hope it won't be the last. Thall. Next, and after fifteen long years, Heaven Shall Burn destroyed and energy the audience had with an energetic concert filled with intense moshing. It's difficult to point out highlights in such a good concert, but the most notable were definetly the cover of Edge of Sanity's ''Black Tears'' (which is a favourite of mine, personal opinions be damned), the spectacular way that ''Endzeit'' was performed and received by the audience, and, of course, the cutest child ever to grace the stage to put another smile in everyone's faces. Unfortunately that was the end of the night, because when friends are in dire need, one must answer.

The next day was (un)forgettable for the amount of negative aspects, that were balanced by one massively positive one. It started with two unimpressive concerts, and by the damn disgrace of losing the absolute track of time and missing Destruction, but all of that was forgiven by the honor of witnessing history. I'm referring to, of course, the legendary Tom G. Warrior and Triptykon. Anyone who loves and/or recognizes the importance and influence of Celtic Frost and Hellhammer would be more than glad to see the same geniality being channelled into pure crushing doom, and that's what happened. The sound was probably the best of the festival, pungent and destructive, and with a setlist that started with ''Procreation of the Wicked'', there was no way it could go wrong. Followed by ''Goetia'', and the much awaited ''Circle of the Tyrants'', with ''Tree of Suffocating Souls'', ''Abyss Within My Soul'', and ''Altar of Deceit'' paving the way for ''The Usurper'' and ''Messiah'', finishing off with ''The Prolonging''. An absolutely stellar performance, that made up for all of the day/night's shortcomings. And in case anyone was wondering, the ''ugh'' count was nineteen. The night was still not done yet, but it might as well have been, because Black Label Society was without a doubt one of the most boring performances I had the displeasure to witness. Those excruciantingly long solos, and the whole show off atmosphere that irradiated from that entire show killed the buzz and the will to see anything else, and it was somewhat sad to see the amount of people who went to sleep or basically gave up on the rest of the night because of that. Bad choice. Thankfully, I'd seen Venom before, but still it's a shame to have missed them.

Fortunately, the next day brought much, much better news. As always, and in every festival, there are amazing, mindblowing bands, and mediocre acts. The start of the last day was the perfect example of that, because the contrast between the opening band and the australian six-piece Ne Obliviscaris was palpable. Not that the crowd wasn't responding fiercely to the first band, but there are things that get old very, very fast. That being said, onto NeO. Their confirmation came as a surprise and delight to their fans, and thanks to the pouring amount of love and support in form of a crowdfunding campaign, this european tour was possible. And it was a good thing too, because they played what was, without a single doubt, the best concert in the entire festival. The only negative aspect of the show was the lows that were turned ridiculously loud half-way through, but still, the technical and vocal excellence overcame that. Starting with ''Devour Me: Colossus (Part I): Blackholes'', going through ''Of Petrichor Weaves Black Noise'', ''Painters of the Tempest (Part II): Triptych Lux'', ''Pyrrhic'', and closing with ''And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope'', it was fullfilling and a joy to witness. Afterwards of their signing session, the mobilization and support from older and newer fans was so massive that their session was one hour longer than it was supposed to be, and had to be cut short so that Alestorm could have theirs. And speaking of Alestorm, the pirates absolutely pillaged the small village of Vagos, with their ducktastic backdrop and their drunk party vibe, that got everyone dancing, jumping, and singing along to songs like ''Walk the Plank'', ''Magnetic North'', ''Nancy the Tavern Wench'', ''Kellhauled'', ''Wenches and Mead'', ''Drink'', and ''Rum''. Na excellent replacement fo the cancelled Halestorm, that provided for some lughs as Christopher Bowes wore a Halestorm shirt on their signing session. A+ for the organization on this one. To the sound of Orphaned Land, hangouts were had with Benji from ne Obliviscaris, and after some much needed food and rest, there was time to see Overkill delivering a good show, but quite honestly not that different from their previous passage through this same festival three years ago and Lisbon just last year. Stll, it's always fun to see. And the next band were Bloodbath, that divided the opinions of many. Althought the concert was lukewarm, with some violence here and there, it was still very good. Nick Holmes does a very good job live, and opening with ''Let the Stillborn Come to Me'', and with songs like ''Cancer of the Soul'', ''Unite the Pain'', and ''Mock the Cross'', there was of course an encore with the classic ''Eaten'', followed by ''Cry My Name'', thus ending the show, and for most, the festival.

Writer: Ana Raquel Mendes
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