Sunday, 25 September 2016

Cornalusa 09.24.2016 at the medieval fair in Vitoria-Gasteiz

From left to right: Raquel Gama, Luís Serrano, Rui Taborda
and Emmanuel Taborda
This will probably a short post. I was just a passer-by and didn't enjoy the complete show, but when my friend and I came across this band playing, we decided to stay, and I don't regret having done so.
Cornalusa in action!!
Just four guys, dressed in medieval style clothes, with their instruments, and they were enough to have the kids and also adults around them clapping their hands and paying all their attention to the thing going on. What caught our attention in the beginning were the joyful notes of a couple of bagpipes. Then we saw everything: Raquel and Emanuel playing the bagpipes, Luis playing his bouzouki and Rui on the davul (definitely, he was my favourite, as he produced the sounds of a whole drumset on just one instrument). Later on, I also noticed the rattle placed on Emanuel's ankle, which added not only a richer rhythm but the fun of seeing him dance to make the rattle sound. No doubt, this folk band were 100% attitude, energy and dedication, which they transmitted to the casually gathered audience (being a metalhead myself, I must say something maybe out of the ordinary: they were more metal with that attitude and will than some self-called metal bands out there). At the end of the show, which I felt was short, partly because I didn't attend from the beginning, I couldn't help but buy their album, which I'm gonna devour as though there were no tomorrow. I'll leave you a short footage of their show yesterday, so that you can also enjoy!
Visit and/or contact Cornalusa at:

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Sabaton- The Last Stand

The first notes of the album start playing and one can feel the rage of war. It's pretty much like plunging into battle from the safety of home. The strength and determination of the Spartans fill my ears...
The Last Stand is the eighth studio album by Sabaton. As always, a Sabaton album is more or less like opening a history book and reading a summary  of some kind of war probably lost in time. But, if with Carolus Rex we had a taste of the military history of Sweden (under the rule of Charles XII), or with The Art of War we dived into Sun Tzu's work, what we have this time is a collection of almost impossible battles, some of them successful, some that ended in defeat. No matter what the result was, the epicness is ensured.
The songs keep coming to me and yeah, I can hear thick, heavy, military riffs and rhythms, like tanks and panzers, and hymnic choruses, but it's no different compared to their other albums (we can even say that their previous album, Heroes, had a wider range of elements). We all agree that Sabaton bring war in each of their musical lines, but the line between a characteristic sound and sounding just the same time after time is pretty thin and these guys cross the threshold at several points.
The structure of all the songs is more or less the same: a couple of verses, then eight-line choruses divided into two groups of four (making the fourth line of the second group instrumental is used at more than one song), then a solo, then the end; we are lucky if we hear a modulation, even if it's the typical one, one tone higher, in the final chorus (as happens in The Last Stand). We can find similar vocal lines, some classical style melodies here and there (for example, the solo in Hill 3234), a very simple harmony. Yes, as I said, pretty much the same; yet there are some remarkable elements.
The pipes and a brighter atmosphere in Blood of Bannockburn will no doubt bring us to the 14th century Scotland. The detail level in Diary of an Unknown Soldier and The Lost Batallion will make us feel like we are fighting in the Argonne. Musically speaking, Winged Hussars has some of the most differential elements in all the album, like a darker atmosphere (due to the use of the minor scale) or the effect caused by mixing the lyrics in the chorus and the final verses of the song.
Nevertheless, the real surprise, the real hit of this album is, in my opinion, the last one, The Last Battle. It appears as a perfect ending for this war. Its atmosphere takes me back to the 80s, with Europe, Doro Pesch, Yesterday & Today, but without losing that thick, then again military sound typical of Sabaton. It's pretty much like a fresh, motivating hymn.
Last, but not least, the four bonus tracks (all of them covers). I see them as good jobs, not far from their originals, yet showing all the main features of the Sabaton style.
To sum up, even if they sound the same after eight albums, my heart welcomes their melodies and catchy choruses with joy, even if logic says quite the contrary. They are still capable of telling interesting tales of war and motivating the audience with their marching military rhythms. So let's give this album a pass!!
Now, for you to enjoy, I'll leave here my favourite song of the album, The Last Battle:

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Avatar- Feathers & Flesh

This has taken longer than expected, but here it is finally. Avatar is a band that caught me from the very first note I listened from them, so Feathers & Flesh was an album that I was really waiting for. It was so promising. I listened to it the first time as it arrived to me three months ago. With a great illusion I unpacked the CD. Great design, by the way. Illustrations are amazing both in the cover and the booklet, although I would have preferred to have the lyrics printed in there, so as to read them.
It was a stressing time, lots of things to do, but I decided to listen to it while completing other tasks. However, it was impossible. Little by little, I got into the music and it had me there, unable to do anything other than taking some comments for this post. It had been ages since an album did that to me! But let's talk a bit more in detail about what made me get lost in the notes...
The first thing one can notice is the powerful catchy riffs. They draw your attention immediately. Then, song by song, I can discover an infinity of details that I get lost into and make the album great. The drum lines seem to be the leading part in each song. The richness of fills, rhythms and percussion effects are just a gift to the ears. It's at least surprising to hear cowbells in songs like The Eagle Has Landed, Black Waters or Pray the Sun Away, or a vibraslap (Black Waters) or bells; for these instruments are more typical of other musical genres, but Avatar just made them fit in there. And this all without forgetting the technique and quality of the playing. Each stroke is definite, the riffs well phrased, etc. To sum up, there's a brilliant work in the drums.
Pretty much the same can be said of the vocals. I can only congratulate Mr. Eckerström for his job. There's a wide range of registers: clean, gutturals, torn voices..., which leads to a great personification of all the characters taking part in the story, and great combinations of those in songs like Night Never Ending or Raven Wine. Even at the beginning of Sky Burial there's a perfect a capella part closing somehow the album with the same verses it started (I find it gives that a high sense of cohesion!).
And hand in hand with the musical part, go the lyrics. All the songs together tell a story, a fable, and the contents and meaning of it can be inferred from the verses in each song (for those of you interested in reading the whole fable, Avatar's selling the book, so go buy it!). Besides, as we've just mentioned, the characters taking part are perfectly represented by using different voice techniques, and the atmosphere of each piece conveys the meaning of the lyrics (one can hear the decay and feel the end near in the riffs and melodies of Raven Wine or feel the epicness of Sky Burial).
Finally, the album ends with two bonus tracks (not listed in the tracklist) whose sound is far more death-metal-like but don't really seem to fit in the context (even if they are killer, full of energy, and sound like the best of Avatar). They are like a world apart: I've Got Something In My Front Pocket For You and Det Är Alldeles Försent.
To sum up everything, this album is a union of a great amount of effort, work, stunning instrumental lines and vocals, and a strong deep story. It would be difficult to choose a song over the others, but if I had to recommend the most remarkable hits, these would be:
  • New Land, as a kind of flashback to the atmosphere in Hail The Apocalypse
  • Fiddler's Farewell, for its ballad-like sound and those details that slightly remind me of the Beatles (was that made on purpose or was it by chance? Just wondering)
  • Night Never Ending, for that festive atmosphere, so far away from the darkness of the story
  • The Eagle Has Landed, probably the most catchy piece. Once you listen to it it's difficult to get the verses "What a sensation, can you feel it? Can you see what I see?" out of your mind. I'll leave the video here.
Definitely it deserves a couple (or more) of listenings to appreciate it. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

INDIX 07.15.2016 at Portu Zaharra, Portugalete

Demo cover

My friend and I arrive in the venue in a quiet night, half an hour before the beginning. A wild sound check breaks the silence and I laugh: it seems they're giving the concert for all the town from there. We go for a walk and come back just five minutes before it is due to start, but it seems that not so many people have heard the call. Finally, ten minutes later, the guys decide they can't wait any longer, and it's time to start enjoying the music.

The venue is pretty small, they almost have no room to move freely. but all that is compensated by the homely atmosphere that connects the band and the (reduced) audience. It still takes a bit longer for them to get everything prepared, and I think to myself: this is a bit unprofessional; however, I don't give it too much importance.
From left to right: Jonba, Jarris, Aritz and
The first notes are heard and I am still, just paying attention, not knowing exactly what to expect, even if I have listened to their first demo. The few people there are also waiting for something and they don't move to the first riffs the band are laying. But soon the energy fills the bar. Every time I see this I get moved deep down my heart: we're five, six... ten people maybe? And they are playing wildly, as if they were headlining Hellfest or Wacken Open Air. To sum it up in just one sentence: their energy couldn't be contained in such a small place.
Nevertheless, during the first three songs, I am still trying to take in all that they are offering, paying more attention to each line and rhythm than to enjoying the music itself, and worried because someone was about to step on the cables and fall down almost continuously (this was quite funny, to be honest). Then the magical turning point arrives. The first notes of Eutanasia sound, and a bit later, there's no way back, I'm totally into it. Only a sentence hits me in the head once and over again, like a desperate scream: "Ez da eskubide bat duintasunez hiltzea?" (Isn't it our right to die with dignity?). And I also start paying attention to other details, such as the performance that goes with each song and gives it a whole new dimension...
Güito at the end of 'Azti maestro'
I can't help but smile with the next song, Ez dago ezer (There's nothing). I like the nihilistic meaning behind, personal and recognizable mark of one of their guitarists and friend of mine. And his absent look at the end of it, while playing as though he were a robot, just makes me shiver. And from then, I just let myself go crazy with every single riff, every single note, song, joke, word, everything.
The concert ends and I try to sum up all the sensations. They've got so much potential. The sound, technically speaking, wasn't at its best, the voice was at some points hard to understand, but the venue wasn't acoustically appropriate either. So, all in all, it was an unforgettable night, and I'm glad I finally attended an INDIX show.
You can find about INDIX and all their material in the following sites:

Finally, I'd love to thank my friend Rober Villanueva for taking amazing pics for this review.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Ithilien (Belgium) + Incursed + Hilotz, 05.22.2016 at sala Edaska, Barakaldo

I'm not used to going to concerts on Sunday, but this time I needed to do so. Last concert with Incursed's actual lineup, the one I've known since I discovered them one year ago. I just couldn't miss the event. And, to tell the truth, I was so excited about it, that I truly thought that Incursed headed the show, which was not true, obviously...
18:45 and it was time to go in. The place was rather small, just to make everything so homely. First sign of what was coming. I could also see part of the soundcheck and foresee that the evening was about to be extraordinary. 
Hilotz, from left to right: Mikel, Etxahun and Pablo
First of all, it was the turn for Hilotz (Lasarte-Oria, Basque Country) to go onstage. Early in the first song, I thought of writring this, as I was caught in the heavy riffs they delivered. A hard, strong wall of sound, gutturals that felt like something was being ripped off within me and bass lines that made me collapse in pleasure. I was also delighted by the cowbell sound coming from the drums amidst such extreme sounding, overwhelming guitars that filled the whole venue. Furthermore, they pretty much mastered the art of combining fast riffs with slow or mid tempos, more distorted sounds with more acoustic lines, etc. No doubt these guys have a high potential. However, I feel they still lack something the experience will give them, and I'm gonna quote my friend and personal photographer during the concert: They play, but they don't play together, as one. I guess everything takes time, but definitely, I'm gonna swallow each one of their songs until I learn them.
Sabrina and Pierre from Ithilien
Then Ithilien (Belgium) came. The first things one could see before it all started was that there was a lot of people on a stage that left almost no room to move around comfortably, and that an astonishing musical deployment was about to take place: bagpipes, a hurdy-gurdy (I had to ask what it was, it is such an awesome instrument, please check it out), or a bouzouki amongst others. The lights came down, and only their ready silhouettes could be made out in the dark. And then it all exploded and the very first note worked out the magic. They made themselves big on such a small stage. It was a pity that no one else but me in the audience had listened to at least a song. And they were so static like waiting for who knows what to happen. Instead, I was headbanging harder than ever (up to that moment, of course). I enjoyed every single note, and especially paid attention to the hurdy-gurdy and the bagpipe. Hey, it didn't sound through any microphony system and it could be perfectly heard over the crushing guitar/bass riffs, awesome. Maybe, what I liked the least was the drums. I usually prefer well defined and accentuated double bass drum strokes, and this time the drums sounded a bit blurry, but still amazing. I stood in awe along the whole set and couldn't help buying a T-shirt, as a way to thank them for their great job.
Jon Koldo "Flying hands" Tera, from Incursed
(from left to right) Narot, Jonkol and
Palas from Incursed

At last, the most awaited moment: Incursed (Bilbao, Basque Country) got onstage to delight us all with their viking-themed aesthetic and music. And there I was, in the front row, with bright eyes and the look of an excited child. I could say that we, the audience, gave everything we had, but it wouldn't be fair: we only reflected and maybe boosted what they gave us from up there. I absolutely enjoyed Narot's wild energy and gutturals (and jokes), Mr. Jonkol "Flying hands"'s keytar lines and clean vocals, Juan's bass lines, and Asier's drumming, of which I had already had a taste back in August last year; and of course, the stunning guitar lines by Palas, who had barely had time to learn all the songs in the absence of Asier and from whom I got my flower garland souvenir. Man, I admire you for that effort, and thanks for the garland *chuckles*. Songs such as Tidal Waves, Beer Bloodbath and Suaren lurraldea (the last two are probably my favourites) couldn't be left out of the setlist and we all danced, jumped and sang to them (and I headbanged even harder than with Ithilien, letting myself go), as vikings having fun, drinking beer and conquering another milestone. Neither could a heavy version of A-ha's Take On Me, to which we had a good time, and in my case, a fair share of laughs (of true happiness, of course). Although we were all emotive (both the audience and the band) because Narot and Juan are leaving, there was no place for sadness, only for fun, and good music and vibe.
Incursed says: Never stop messing around!!
To sum up, it was the perfect evening, I ended up knackered, covered in sweat after three hours of shows. My neck still hurts from all that headbanging. I have to say that the bands playing were very brave, playing for so few people. I know, we assume them to act like that, but it's something we still have to recognize and admire. I didn't only discovered that they were incredible bands, but also that there are very kind and talented people playing in them. You can follow these bands in these sites:




Last, but not least, I'd like to thank Jon Rodriguez Martin, aka Jack Kalavera for his excellent photos.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Bryan Adams 01.29.2016 at BEC Bizkaia Arena, Barakaldo

Watching a concert from the seats in the venue (a stadium in this case) is like watching from outside, but without being outside actually. A roaring wave comes from behind and carries you into the flowing energy that is going down to the court

yard, where more people stand up to see their beloved artist but, at the same time, you can observe the vibe that surrounds the atmosphere. And then it starts.
I must say that I am not a big fan of this man, after half an hour all the songs sound more or less the same, except for some fragments that are rhythmically and musically attractive to me. However, the fact that he can have the audience so engaged from the very beginning is a very positive point to highlight. There were ballads, more rock-like, and popish songs to complete a really balanced show. The effects and scenography were also undeniably well elaborated. In other words, I can tell you it was indeed an enjoyable show.
What I remember the most amazing of all, were a couple of moments that were close to ecstatic. Usually, the artists tell the people to sing with them in the middle of the song, or that's what I am used to, but this time he told the audience to sing the song from the beginning. And I was in awe to hear how 18000 people could sing along, almost perfectly in tune and with an intensity that needed no microphony system to be heard from up high where I was. It's definitely something that makes a deep impression. Then, near the end of the show, we were told to hold up our mobile phones with the flashlight on. Again, an epic moment. So many of us had the lights on that no other light had to illuminate the venue, plus it all seemed like a starry bright sky. One could really feel the energy.
So, as I said in the beginning, I may not be a great fan, but I must recognise that I indeed enjoyed the show to the very last moment!