martes, mayo 26, 2009

Bal Sagoth + The Ransack + Thee Orakle (Live Porto 2009-05-23)

: 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...

Just few meters inside we met the easy recognizable Bal Sagoth guys and they corroborated us we were in the right strange place. As we are quite curious people :P we decided to explore a bit that shopping mall, and I can say that was a good place for a zombies movie -I wouldnt like to be there alone at night-; dust smell, shops and premises closed for many years, stopped escalators, rubble... and we reached to a point that we were just the only ones there.. almost the feeling of living a Romero's movie XD

10:00 PM and we saw some long hair and dark clothes close to a kind of room... Once inside, it wasnt any kind of pub or similar. It was closer to a rehearsal room, the scenary was just 20 ctmers. upper the floor, quite small, and dark walls all around...

After a brief waiting time and with punctuality, the locals 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.

I could bet the girl likes a lot Floor Jansen due her way of singing, and the male singer was closer to the typical black metal voice though he had some little moments of clean choruses.
Thee Orakle was indeed a great discovering and besides they had a great sound. Very enjoyable performance.

Little bit later, The Ransack started to play a powerful Death Metal. I dont dare to say they did a bad performance, public was more involved and they showed good attitude, but my mates and me thought a bit different.
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).

Their first song seemed to be closer to Melodic Death-Thrasher fields, but the following ones were much more powerful. Style could recall to those bands of Technical powerful Death like Hate Eternal.
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.

No bises for The Ransack and once they finished and with punctuality, 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?)

Lord Byron is an odd frontman. He didnt move too much during all the concert, not even headbanging gestures, he just kept on singing with the help of his "voice pitch effect machine". His way of introducing songs was as well funny and bombastic, I guess he was very in the role... "indeeeeeed my mighty friends from Portugaaal.."

Thorough punctuality for starting and thorough as well for finishing, with not too many pauses they played 1 hour and half and went away in spite of important part of the audience was asking for a bis. Lord Byron, with careful and warm words appreciated the cheering of the portuguese people, that was very active in spite of such an irregular show.

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.

In spite of the mad moment he was having, Maudling seemed to calm down a bit and amaze when we said to him we came from Spain to see them there. He was really kind and was great with us all the time answering and chatting, like the others of the band.
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.

So, general opinion about the concert is not the best. The complex and original music Bal Sagoth creates didnt shine as we would like. It is definitely a difficult work to carry to a live show their songs, and just one keyboard doesnt give the pompous and bombastic feeling of the CDs, and worst if its sound is occulted by the rest of instruments. Those intrincated guitar riffs were marred by poor sound and high volume as well. Here I must say that being in front of him was quite amazing cause he didnt stop playing through all the neck up and down, down and up. And I also discovered why playing Bal Sagoth at home is that difficult, not only due the difficult scores: 7 strings!

Hope they come again closer and they have more luck with sound.

1 comentario:

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