MAW and Síndrome K join local bands for memorable heavy metal evening in Rio de Janeiro 27.03.2022

Author Flavia Andrade - 8.4.2022

A few months ago, I interviewed Lula Souto, singer/bass player of thrash metal trio Síndrome K for Chaoszine. Based in Salvador, Bahia, they have a sound that struck me as modern and high-energy, and their debut effort, “Aqui Se Paga”, truly worthy of being presented to an international audience. A few months later, a friend who also works with rock and metal journalism introduced me to MAW, another trio from Bahia, a “metal punk rock’n’roll” band, in their own words. Influenced by Motörhead, Venom and Bathory, with a dirty and gritty sound, their debut EP “Locked and Loaded” brings 6 tracks of wonderfully raw bluesy speed metal. For those who enjoy a no-frills approach, their music will sound like home.

I really wanted to see these guys perform live, but times were still too uncertain, and rock concerts hadn’t returned to normal yet. Masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing do not go with the mosh pit, and we all had to wait for vaccinations to be more advanced and the omicron wave to pass before we could dive from stages and surf the crowds again. But, at last, boosters in arms, we can all have some heavy metal fun once more, everyone in the same room, bumping against each other in a friendly way, headbanging to riffs and shouting choruses, hands held up in devil’s horns. And this meant we could finally get to see MAW and Síndrome K visit Rio, all the way from Salvador.

Síndrome K

Salvador is best known for its carnival, but the festival Palco do Rock, which happens every year brings joy to the non-carnival fans during the 4 days of follies in the city. That is a great event to find and discover exciting new bands from their area, and both MAW and Síndrome K stated the importance of the festival for the scene. It brings together established bands as well as newcomers, and there is always an aura of excitement about the festival, but it was cancelled due to the pandemic. Síndrome K was going to perform there, but had to wait to play their debut gig in Rio. No wonder I was really curious to see and hear the rock’n’roll side of Bahia up close and personal.

MAW’s career started in 2018, but the initial idea had been brewing for at least 12 years prior to that. “Calango and I wanted to start this band, but we needed a good drummer. One day, Victor told us he was learning to play the drums just so he could join us” said singer/bassist Allan Failson. “Although the band was founded in 2018, this EP was recorded during the pandemic, when restrictions were loosened. It was a bit of a DIY process, which at first generated a demo with 2 tracks, ‘Locked and Loaded’ and ‘Hell and Back’”.

Inspired by 80’s metal and punk rock, MAW’s sound is very direct, in your face, with drummer Victor Uzêda’s influences including dark country, like Johnny Cash, while Allan stated that Motörhead for him is not just an influence, but a religion. “Our initial idea was to play a lot of gigs, take to the road, so, being a trio was essential”, he added. “This format, the relationship between the instruments, that was essential for establishing our sound.” Blues is another main influence: “I try to go back to the more primitive origins of rock’n’roll, like Robert Johnson”, stated guitarist Ícaro Calango. The aesthetics of rock and metal as a more complex cultural movement is also at the core of MAW’s music, portraying the everyday life of a headbanger as part of an urban tribe. The role of the Devil in early blues, the mystery of different tunings for the guitars, the mythology of rock’n’roll permeates their music, but social themes are also there. The song “Reclame-o ou Deixe-o”, written in Portuguese by Victor Uzêda, brings social- political elements into their musical world. “Rock also breaks the hypocrisy of everyday life, the dos and don’ts that are dictated by others, and playing with those limits is fun”, Uzêda added.

The weekend started with an event held for the press at Audio Rebel Studios, where MAW had the first audition of “Locked and Loaded”, while Síndrome K presented us with the instrumentals for two brand new songs. “We have some material ready, even a song with lyrics. But our lyricist Pedro Hugo (drums) wants to make some changes, so we didn’t present any finished songs to the press. We have nine songs in the making, some almost done”, stated guitarist Volfer Freire. “This time in Rio was great, our schedule was packed: shooting a music video, taking part in a live radio show, participating in the audition at the music studio, plus two gigs, one on Saturday night and the main festival on Sunday”, said Freire. “We were so busy we worried if there would be time to do it all in one weekend. But it all worked out”, added Lula Souto. 

Síndrome K with guests Angelica Burns and Renan Campos

Sunday’s festival featured a number of independent heavy metal and hardcore bands, such as the main attraction, Cara de Porco, on the road for over 20 years. The event took place at Heavy Beer Bar, located in a traditional rock’n’roll hangout, Rua Ceará (previously known as “Garage”), and the atmosphere was electric. Certainly, some of the most awaited were both bands from Salvador, and Síndrome K took to the stage first. They released their first album during the pandemic, but that didn’t stop everyone from singing along to their tunes. The crowd of conaisseurs, beer bottles and caipirinhas in their hands, was avid for some good thrash metal and when SK took to the stage, I even saw some drinks flung in the air, as people flocked to the moshpit. Their high-energy brand of thrash metal, sung in Portuguese, brought the audience to a frenzy. They hit us with “Prataria Sacra”, followed by “Só Mais Uma Vez” and “Amnésia Assassina”. Throughout the concert, all 12 tracks from their debut album “Aqui se paga” were played, but the last segment had a cover song, Sepultura’s “Territory”, featuring special guests Renan Campos and Angélica Burns of Rio de Janeiro-based Hatefulmurder. When the last song of their set “Síndrome K” was delivered, all were in ecstasy, both the band and the crowd. Well performed, every song was played with high quality, making them the tightest sounding band in the evening. The music video for their best-known song “Granada” was partly shot during this performance, and the band gave it everything they had ̶ Pedro Hugo (drums) dramatically showed me his bloodied hands after they played, saying “I gave my blood for you guys tonight.” Well, friends, it doesn’t get more rock’n’roll than that.

By the time MAW hit the stage, things were already heated. They delivered their punk metal rock’n’roll with all mastery, starting their set with a cover of Venom’s “Black Metal”, followed by “Fight”, “Locked and Loaded” and “We Drink Diesel”, all tracks from their recently released EP. “Reclame-o ou Deixe-o”, an anti-fascist song with a very direct political message and “Mawthefücker” preceded a wonderfully delivered cover of Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades”, with special guests Renan Campos of Hatefulmurder on guitar and Raíza Silva of Lynx The Revenge on vocals. At this point, Calango relinquished his guitar functions to the guest artist, jumping into the moshpit and joining in the frenzied mass euphoria. Back onstage for the closing song “Hell and Back” (no injuries sustained), their first performance in Rio was a great success.


“This event surpassed all our expectations, in every aspect”, stated MAW’s Calango, “the more technical aspects of the production and especially the audience. We felt so welcome. Besides, I have to point out that this Bahia invasion of Rio was all made possible by Marcelo Prudencio, who is very active and really important for the underground scene in Brazil.” Síndrome K’s Souto added: “The whole experience in Rio was a blast, and we hope this music video brings us a wider audience, as are investing in our career. This trip was great in every sense, the reception we had, both from media outlets and the audience.”

Photo credits: Caverjets Oficial, Flavia Andrade

You can check them out on social media in the links below:


Síndrome K:

You can also check out the music video, directed and produced by Jay Roxx, below: