Portuguese Potential Part II
Morbid Death, Nocturnal Symphony, In Velvet Clouds and 2 Kill
Assembleia de Campanha, Porto, Portugal, October 4, 1997

by: Pedro Azevedo
Precisely one week after the Obscenus / Vertebra / Nympha concert, I found another promising concert nearby. But just when you think good things are going your way, reality tends to strike. And, in fact, that's precisely what happened here -- compared to the previous concert, this one was a major disappointment. Just to start things off perfectly, I spent an hour and a half waiting for the show to start.

The show did eventually start with a band called 2 Kill, who clearly must have walked through the wrong door on their way, because they definitely landed in the wrong show. Playing some sort of hardcore / hip-hop thing and mixing in a plethora of influences from several well-known American bands, their originality was below zero, and even though I can't say they couldn't play their instruments, they added almost nothing to that major lack of originality. The result was that no one in the audience really moved, most people actually remained seated on the ground, and very few bothered to even nod their heads to the music.

After a long wait and such a bland start, I was looking forward to something more aggressive, such as In Velvet Clouds, whom I had seen live once before (see CoC #21). Featuring two vocalists (one for grunting and one for screaming), the vocals needed to sound good in the overall mix; however, as opposed to the previous In Velvet Clouds concert, the vox just didn't come out as impressively. Besides that, things went reasonably well for In Velvet Clouds, but they never quite reached the performance level I expected this time. The set was also a bit short, but their best tracks still managed to get the audience moving.

The next band, Nocturnal Symphony, were unknown to me, even though they're a local band. In the end, they turned out to be a very pleasant surprise and, in my opinion, the best band of the day. Setting their sound upon some clear Theatre of Tragedy influences, Nocturnal Symphony still manages to have a sound of their own. The most obvious similarity to ToT is their usage of both a grunter and a female vocalist, sometimes simultaneously. Even though Raymond and Liv Kristine from ToT are something else, these two still did quite a good job despite the fact that the female singer had a more secondary role than Liv has in ToT as she mostly sang choirs. Her voice is good, but unfortunately her performance wasn't too varied -- yet still nice to hear and watch. The biggest difference between the two bands is the (perhaps surprising) fact that Nocturnal Symphony don't use any keyboards, causing them to sound more like a death band. Overall, they showed some good ideas and played a very entertaining and enjoyable set.

The headliners, Morbid Death, who traveled a long way to be here, ended up playing for 30 or 40 people. The reason is simple: almost everyone went away before or during their performance. Not that they're bad; in fact they're a more experienced band than the others (they already have a CD out) and did a good job, but all the waiting and the fact that the two local bands (In Velvet Clouds and Nocturnal Symphony) had already played caused the room to be almost empty by then. Adding to all this, Morbid Death are a rather conventional metal band, and they suffered from being the "headliners" in a concert where most people went to see other bands. In the end, I must say this should be regarded as an example of what can happen when a concert is inexplicably delayed.

Wrapping it all up, Nympha, Vertebra, and Obscenus show a lot of potential, while Nocturnal Symphony and In Velvet Clouds might also have a good future ahead. As for Morbid Death, they seem to be doing quite well in what concerns selling their CD, but that's about it. 2 Kill, however, should try to find a friendlier environment in the future.

(article submitted 17/11/1997)

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