Bands: Bal Sagoth (UK) + The Ransack (Pt) + Thee Orakle (Pt)
Day: May, 23rd 2009
Place: C.C. Stop - Porto (Portugal)
Price: 12 € presale / 15 € doors
También en español aquí
Still with a whistle in my ears 1 day after the concert in Porto and enough tired I start writing this post that you can find in spanish language in Pagan Dreams as well.
I fear this whistle might join me some time more, but I think the effort was worth. We dont have the chance usually to see those odd genious under the mystical band name of Bal Sagoth around iberic lands.
At 7:00 PM we start the trip from Vigo to Porto and 1'5 h. later we arrive to Campanha, the Porto's train station and seek for the place. Meanwhile, francesinhas is a must once you arrive to the portuguese city. I'd even dare to say that those first minutes in Porto we were JUST searching for that typical dish XD
The neighbourhood was centainty a bit creepy. Smell was like old or dust, streets were not so clean and seemed somehow like a ghost area. Hard to believe that there should be any pub or disco for concerts there...
A bit disoriented but sure that was the right street we realized that CC Stop should mean Commercial Center Stop, a kind of shopping mall that looked like quite a desert...
Thee Orakle started with acoustic chords that recalled some Moonspell melody and suddenly the rest of instruments burst in with an amazing strenght.
We were doubtful in relation of the sound of the place when looking that small place and so many people over the stage, but sound was almost perfect. Volume was high but not the much that could damage our auditive capacity, and they sounded really powerful.
The music Thee Orakle plays is a kind of gothic doom with strong keyboards presence that gives their proposal an epic, intense halo. Catchy riffs that could remind to the old bands of gothic doom of the 90's made with good taste and nice rythm changes. Melodies could recall sometimes their compatriots Moonspell with that touch half arabic-half evil, but mostly to the first works of After Forever or Draconian, even Crematory in their first albums.
Someone told: "they look like After Forever were covering Theater of Tragedy". Not a bad trying of definition, I think.
Thee Orakle was indeed a great discovering and besides they had a great sound. Very enjoyable performance.
Their music was not very original, they played the typical Death Metal riffs, but I guess the worst point was the sound. When they started blastbeats all was noise, we barely guessed the melodies or riffs, and quite impossible the solos as well. The feeling was that they were just one more band of Death Metal.
Strange that 7 people in that first concert sounded so fine and now 4 people were so chaotic. The sound technician seemed to be not so happy and he was coming once and again to our place, right, left, behind, closer... it was really an exaggeration (he could come and go like 5 times per song checking the sound in the room).
I must say that I had no idea about this band, later I searched something about them and now I know they were introducing their second album "Vortex" and could be that they were a bit more popular than those first ones because they started 8 years ago in the portuguese underground.
Right now I am listening their myspace and it doesnt look so brutal as in live, so I believe I cannot be 100% objective with just that concert.
Anyway, it is clear that public enjoyed their show, more than us.
Bal Sagoth jumped into the stage at close 00:00 AM
With a not familiar intro, maybe specially created for concerts (if I am wrong please someone tell me), Bal Sagoth walked between the public already quite tight in the first lines. So we could see the members with their painted faces like a kind of mask. Just few minutes later that mask was blured with sweat all around the face, not even kept stable the first song "Atlantis Ascendant". Lord Byron was dressed like a monk with a hood and a similar mask but in soft blue.
We were few ctmrs. far from Christ Maudling (guitars), one of the musical creators with his brother Jonny (keyboards) and I fear that made our perception of the sound was bad, really bad. But I doubt people behind us had a much better one when looking their faces.
I am having a whistle in my ears since yesterday and I believe it will stay for some time more. I dont understand yet howcome the youngest and less experienced band of the 3 and with more members have had the best sound of the night.
Song by song, Bal Sagoth was playing a complete setlist that took songs from every one of their albums and sometimes we thought sound was getting better, but that excessively strident guitar and those cymbals made the general sound to be too chaotic when they played a bit fast.
Keyboards, core of many of the melodies and very important part in the Bal Sagoth's epic world were really in a secondary scene. If you didnt know the songs it would be really complicated for you to know or follow some riffs and melodies.
Definitely not the best concert of that sound technician (that we saw already in Santiago de Compostela when Skyclad played one year ago! Maybe british bands have their own one for concerts in the north of Spain?)
Once they finished, we could see how the guitar player was quite angry with the performance, and be sure that looking a guy 2 meters tall x 1 meter wide with tension is quite shocking. In fact the first he said, even before we could ask anything, was something like "I'm fucking angry with the sound, I couldnt hear a fucking shit up there; Bal Sagoth will come again to Porto and will repeat again this fucking concert in a better place and with a better sound!"
We realized as well that they might have some kind of problem up there listening each others because they had some little mistakes of misalignments sometimes, and even had to repeat for 2 times one song when they were already playing like 10 seconds.
The only one who stayed in the backstage all the time was the singer Lord Byron, already without hood but with a peak, very similar to the one he wore in that famous Wacken concert. Indeed a lame, cause it would be very interesting to talk with him a bit.
At least now we know that there will be a next Bal Sagoth album and they wont close the chapters with the hexalogy, but it will take time to elaborate a new album because they dont want to repeat themselves and dont want to create something that could be under the high level of the previous albums, and this requires a lot of time and work, in words of Chris. So, Bal Sagoth fans, be calmed now; there will be a new album of the epic-symphonic masters, but seems it will take time.