Road to SWR 22: Six bands you can’t miss from day 2
Last week, we premiered the “Road to…”, an article series through which we will be presenting a few bands that we think you shouldn’t miss at some of the festivals we will be covering in the future. On that specific first article, we talked a bit about six bands that will be playing on the first day of the 22nd edition of SWR Barroselas Metalfest, and this week we continue on that trek, this time bringing you six bands that will be performing on the second day of the festival. Read along.
SWR Barroselas Metalfest 22 takes place at the A.D.B. Sport Facilities, in Barroselas, on April 26th-28th. Single day and three-day tickets for the festival are available for 35 and 70 euros, respectively, and can be purchased online via the festival’s Big Cartel page, here.
If doom be thy greatest desire then look no further. As one of the very first doom metal bands, alongside such historic names as Pentagram, Witchfinder General and Candlemass, Saint Vitus have always stayed true to the saying “live slow, die old”. Heavily influenced by Black Sabbath – and quite possibly named after the song “St. Vitus Dance” by the legendary British group -, these fine Californian gents paved the way for an era of slow and pessimistic music with their self-titled debut and subsequent releases. Classic records such as Born Too Late, Die Healing, Hallow’s Victim and the eponymous debut Saint Vitus are still revered to this day by followers of the iconic V, who gather from around the world to stand in awe of the lethargic riffs and gritty vocals provided by the band.
This year, Saint Vitus are celebrating 40 years of existence with a new album, which will feature original singer Scott Reagers in what will be his first record with the band in 24 years and it will be a return to the band’s roots as this new record will bear the same title as their debut. But it doesn’t end there: in the spirit of celebration, Saint Vitus have announced a gigantic European tour and SWR is a part of the itinerary. Four decades of powerfully creeping and grim doom await all who stop by the Warrior’s Abyss stage to witness these absolute legends perform live.
England was and still is the birthplace of metal music. From the early heavy metal giants such as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest to the more extreme metal acts like Napalm Death, Carcass and Bolt Thrower, England is the heart and soul of an entire music genre. And at its very center is a little place called Birmingham, a metropolitan borough in the heart of the Midlands that gave birth to one of the finest death metal bands the country has to offer: Benediction. Founded in ’89 by guitarists Darren Brookes and Peter Rewinsky alongside Mark “Barney” Greenway – who left shortly after to join the aforementioned Napalm Death -, Benediction have always followed the old school death metal formula of chainsaw-like guitar riffs, insanely fast drums and growls that come from deep wells of putrefaction. Classic records such as Transcend the Rubicon, Grind Bastard and their much-lauded debut Subconscious Terror feature a very abyssal and perverse atmosphere that just throws you relentlessly against the wall and grinds your bones to dust. Ever-changing in their lineup, especially when it comes to vocalists, the band eventually found in one Dave Hunt its permanent profanity spewer and with him released Organised Chaos and Killing Music, the latter being their last record to date.
Despite that fact, Benediction have kept themselves pretty active when it comes to live performances. Long gone are the days of intensive touring – such is the sacrifice when one gets older and starts a family and such -, but the Brits are still alive and better than ever. They might not have released any new material in over a decade, but you can bet your ass they will be kicking yours and everyone else’s when they present themselves on SWR’s Warrior Abyss stage.
Not much is known about this German quintet. Anonymous and intent on keeping things that way, Ascension have risen in the black metal ranks in recent years due to their pensive and calculated approach to the genre. Their first two records, Consolamentum and The Dead of the World, are fresh takes on the more orthodox approach to the occult side of black metal, drinking from the same bloody fountain as Watain or Svartidauði. Their third and latest ritual, Under Ether, was released last year and creates and expands the idea of black metal as a journey towards higher and much darker realms, further enveloping the band in an aura of both mystique and wickedness, a mantle they wear confidently.
Like some of the bands that will be performing at SWR this year, Ascension aren’t known to indulge on many live ceremonies. When they do, however, they generate a wormhole of emptiness with their cold and ethereal sound, sucking the life force out of anyone present. You will be able to testify that sentiment at SWR.
Appearing seemingly out of nowhere, Imperial Triumphant is a trio from New York that started as your typical black/death metal band but quickly evolved into something far grander. Borrowing elements from the neoclassical movement and its aesthetic as well as free jazz, the New Yorkers employ an avant-gardist approach to black/death through their complex and sometimes eccentric composition, present in their Abominamentvm and Abyssal Gods records, which emanate Portal and Gorguts vibes. In their most recent release, Vile Luxury, Imperial Triumphant opted for even more unorthodox arrangements, with abrasive and bestial choruses, odd time signatures and dissonant ambient passages taking prevalence. The result is a rich and chaotic atmosphere of decadence and opulence brought forth via the elegant metropolitan area of New York and its decaying underbelly.
As far as live performances go, the trio adorn themselves with exquisite and elaborately-crafted golden masks and black robes which combine perfectly with the style and overall ambience of the band’s music. In a few days, Imperial Triumphant will be embarking on their first-ever European tour and Barroselas is one of their stops. So, if you are up for some crushing and highly freeform metal music, come join the golden ritual when it descends upon SWR’s Loud Dungeon stage.
With a cavernous voice and intrinsic yet oppressive riffs, it’s time to talk about Vacivus. Formed in 2013, with current and former members of Cruciamentum, Dawn of Chaos and Wodensthrone, the band has consistently left listeners in a state of wonder with their sepulchral sounding death metal. As entrails that dwell in a deep void, Vacivus’ obscure sound seeks to engulf the listener with an ambience that both asphyxiates and devours whole. Their two records to date, Dawn of Chaos and Temple of the Abyss, as well as their two EPs, are living proof of the brutality that this British quintet can deliver.
That same brutality and thirst for annihilation translate incredibly well into their live performances, with vocalist Nick Craggs perspiring intensity and savagery all the while his fellow band members pour merciless sonic pain without pause. At SWR, you will be able to feel that same pain course through your body, when Vacivus step into the Loud Dungeon stage in all their uncompromising glory.
Over this past decade, there has been a small emergence of metal duos, a deviation of the more conventional power trio. While most of these duos employ the guitar and drums combo, Greengo opted for a more unconventional approach – no guitars, only bass and drums. With influences that range from stoner to doom and sludge, Greengo created a very groovy sound that is filled with catchy bass lines, rabid howls and incredibly hard-hitting drums as evidenced by their debut record, Dabstep, which was released just last year.
On stage, Greengo channel their inner demons, dispensing chaos and auditory bitch slaps in every corner and upping the sonic intensity to unstable values. This year, the duo will be visiting the famed Barroselas festival to play at the SWR Arena, so get ready to raise some hell.
Article assembled from suggestions by the Lore team
Words by Filipe Silva