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Terrorizer’s Guide To SWR Barroselas Metalfest
During the last weekend of April, the small Portuguese village of Barroselas will live a momentous occasion – it’s the event’s 20th anniversary, two full decades of bringing the best and most extreme metal to the quaint and otherwise peaceful rural setting of northwestern Portugal. Many of our all-time favourites and more than a few widely unknown gems have trod these well-worn boards, and this time, in true celebratory mode, the selection is once again top-notch. If you’re still unsure, don’t be – just hop on that low-cost flight to Porto, and there you’ll be a short train ride away from three stages of noise, terror and debauchery of the finest order. Here, our very own José Carlos Santos will give you a few pointers…
FRIDAY – April 28th
TOP PICK: INQUISITION
After several years of underground-conquering dues-paying (during which they visited SWR, way back in 2007), Inquisition are pretty much at the top of the black metal pile in 2017, and it is almost poetic for them to return to the festival with their current “big band” status. Unlike many other big bands, however, the ferocity of their attack hasn’t dwindled one iota, and the cosmic horror of their unique brand of black metal will surely darken the late evening even more in Barroselas, right before old school legends Master take to the main stage themselves.
LOCAL PICK: BESTA
Literally translated as “Beast”, their name also gives you a not too subtle hint of what to expect from this Portuguese grindcore monstrosity. Short, savage, and to the point, they’ll be just what your headache needs, playing right after the (also Portuguese) death metal institution that is Holocausto Canibal.
DISCOVERY PICK: THE OMINOUS CIRCLE
SWR has always mixed established superstars with up-and-coming names you should be on the lookout for, and you’d do well to stay up past 2am on this first night to be horrified by The Ominous Circle, a mysterious masked entity whose tenebrous mix of black and death metal on their recent debut album, ‘Appalling Ascension’, out on Osmose, has already turned a few heads.
SATURDAY – April 29th
TOP PICK: COBALT
It’s a tough choice, with Dead Congregation, Oranssi Pazuzu, Venom Inc. and Extreme Noise Terror filling up a frankly amazing day on the main stage, but we spent several years wishing for Cobalt to finally become a stage band and deliver us all the gruesome viscerality of ‘Gin’ or ‘Slow Forever’ in front of our faces, and finally here they are. First band of the day on the main stage, so do control your hangover and be there at 7pm!
LOCAL PICK: GROG
There’s also Goldenpyre, the band where the guys who put the festival together play, returning after a few years’ absence, but Grog are just about untouchable when it comes to Portuguese death/grind, and if you remove the “Portuguese” from that sentence, it’s still pretty much accurate. Insane technicality feeding off massive grooves and head-caving intensity is not an usual thing, and with the gigantic new songs from the new ‘Ablutionary Rituals’ album to further fuel the fire, there’s going to be one of the festival’s biggest moshpits for sure.
DISCOVERY PICK: SYSTEMIK VIØLENCE
Dirty, ugly punk from a recent band that doesn’t give a fuck – you’ll be spat at, insulted, and maybe even physically assaulted by a ski-masked weirdo if you stand too near to the front, and not liking it is the whole point. Ugh!
SUNDAY – April 30th
TOP PICK: MAYHEM
One of the bands more inextricably linked to the festival’s early history, with an infamous cancellation back in 2001 causing all kinds of, well, mayhem, the Norwegian black metal legends now return to set the score once and for all, and judging by the way their special ‘De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas’ set has been demolishing audiences all over Europe, we expect them to provide the ultimate apotheosis for this celebratory SWR.
LOCAL PICK: CORPUS CHRISTII
On a day dominated by black metal, it is appropriate for the country’s strongest black metal band to demonstrate just how potent they have truly become over the years. Corpus Christii always deliver boundless, Satanic savagery on stage, especially now as they ride the black wave their new album is creating. Have you heard the new songs off ‘Deluge’ yet? If not, go and correct that hole in your life straight away.
DISCOVERY PICK: VAI-TE FODER
The band’s name in Portuguese means, literally, “go fuck yourself”, so you might guess what to expect from there. There’s a reason why they’re the last band on the bill, they always are – their shows at SWR typically end up with drunken hordes invading the stage as the band sloppily plow through their crust/grind crossover in the worst possible way they can. You really have to be there to get it, so be there.
SWR Barroselas Metalfest takes place from April 28th to 30th in Barroselas, Portugal
You can find more information about SWR Barroselas Metalfest here