Aprilie 2011

 •  Posted in: Kogaionon Editorials

April-ish greetings!

March has been a pretty busy month for me. I got out the shell to see another 2 concerts, I got lots of albums that I should have carefully listened to, all sorts of personal matters occurred, I added few quizzes to DBE3, quite relevant ones, but also helpful for what we wish to happen in Alba Iulia, in August.

But let me point out the dimension of concerts... I went to what Viva Music organized, on Martisor: Mortiis and Combichrist. From the point of view of the attendees’ number, I believe it was the most visible, elegant and successful event from this year! The Silver Church Club was perfect, because the 500 souls seem to be the correct option for a concert where the room is not empty, but also the participants aren't gathered like a flock of sheep, all crowded, unsuitable for a club with standards or a ticket payer who pays more than 50 lei to get not only a beautiful and quality concert, but also a minimal mental comfort, if not also physical. But I’m not going to make further useless and less that constructive comments that don't really matter to some of us, everything and anything is acceptable in anyway... Each of us has their own system of values, expectations and that's why there's no point in creating a whole debate. There are also select events, where the organizer thinks of all the details, from the ticket price, poster's image, the location, sound quality, prices at the bar (implicitly the lack of queues) to the allocated intimate space (theoretically) to each soul that attends the event, the possibility of sneaking easily between the others in order to get to the bar or toilet... and not lastly, the possibility of speaking to the bands, eventually taking some simple photos. But these things occur only at some selected events, where only few souls come, but who have a decent behaviour, where everything revolvs around the word “respect”... Anyway, moving on, Romanians will have the opportunity to see again their beloved symphonic bands: HAGGARD are pretty much around the corner... EPICA just got “inhaled”... we take a break and we probably get back to a new ANATHEMA “sauna”, a band that has a continuously increasing audience here, no matter what new albums they conceive... the musicians come to sing to the fans their new tracks, but they want the old ones, and in the end, they find the solution which satisfies everyone! And there's nothing about a good or bad promotion, for all the local organizers know how to underline these details... but there's no money, so people prefer to go for the safer side, aiming for what they know... Could it be conservatism, limitation, proximity, convenience or superficiality? To hell with self-sufficiency, let everyone do what and how they wish! Surely, some of us will (re)intersect on other coordinates, sooner or later... Let us be well!

But let me get back to Mortiis and Combichrist, I saw happy faces, many sang along with the bands, frolicked in the first rows, it was a great feeling! The MORTIIS gig left me completely indifferent, both as music and interpretation, not mentioning the coldness with which Havard treated the public... something like: we came, we sang, we checked, we took the money and we left. Or could it be they were complexed because they were an opening act? I have no idea and little do I care. The old MORTIIS has no connection with what's today and I can do nothing but respect Havard's decision. But that's it, for we belong to different branches.

At Combichrist, the environment was much friendlier; it's obvious that the musicians learned how to make a show! Explosive, active, full of energy and determined to break the hearts of all present in the room, the members held a concert much enjoyed by the crowd! And that's what matters most, even though I left after 5 songs, I was never a sucker for these Aggrotech phases, rhythmically mixed with Industrial elements, even Electro... but perfect for Viva Music! Plus the fact it was very late for the program I had for that night. I wanted to be there, to support the cause of one of the few Romanian organizers who do what they do out of love and respect for the bands they admire. One on another, this event was a successful one and appreciated by fans and mass-media as well, the reviews and comments being all superlative! Congratulations, Viviana!

I also went to Control to see NADJA, the band that was taken theoretically in account for DBE2. Anyway, things turned out differently and now I was very happy learning that the two guys will play in Bucharest. To be honest, NADJA seems to be a live band that isn't as catchy as is in the studio albums. Or maybe I didn’t have the necessary comfort to perceive them? That could be it, because, if we speak about Control Club, the venue is rather small and if you have the bad luck of having 2-3 tall guys in front of you... that’s the end of any visual impact. Moreover, I still don’t understand what some people are doing at some of these concerts, doing nothing but speaking obnoxiously loud during the representations! I don't see the point in paying the ticket... or why don't they stay somewhere remote, to quietly discuss, to enjoy their conversation and spare me from listening their inside revelations or other fiddlesticks, completely uninteresting to me! So, I left this place before the gig ended again. There was a girl who sang in opening, I didn’t really get what and how, but still, it looked like she managed to captivate some people from the first row, probably friends...

It looks like the sabbatical break I took starting with the last year's 11th of December does me more good than expected, which is no doubt a positive thing! On the other hand, it made me sad that there is mostly nothing but odourless, colourless events, where I see no meaning in going... small ticket prices and so are the bands...

Some years ago, I was like wisely disappointed for not having the chance of seeing around here quality Underground bands, even though there were lots of events. I had in mind for quite some years to do something else than writing about the bands I respect, but not to organize simple concerts, where the priority could have been the budget and the opportunity of catching touring bands, who'd sing around and then leave to another country, eventually with a tour bus awaiting at the exit, right after the concert. There were already too many organizers of this kind and my aim wasn't (and continues the same way) competition. That's why I don’t find myself in the terms of organizer, reporter or pressman. I'm a man like everyone else, who wishes and feels he can make more for the music he believes in, in a different way! I had in mind bringing quality bands, for the first time around here, who’d spend a couple of days in Romania, get to know our country and traditions, hold concerts in the most relaxed way without the stress of fatigue or lack of time, after which they could have a word with their fans while drinking something, in peace. I looked for people, not bands, who's discover another way of doing things, who freely and unconditionally respect the Underground Spirit, without clichés or mainstream dogmas... or even more, to lose ourselves in never ending discussions with devoted managers. Who do their work well and are really needed for the survival of musicians, but who didn't resonate with my new concept, named Special Evening. The spark caught fire at the end of 2007 and that's how DonisArt appeared. There's a beautiful and maybe unique history of 16 Special Evenings, with 30 bands who came for the first time in Romania, exclusively for these Evenings, but also 5 local quality Underground bands, that perfectly fitted in with our vision and we'd like to think with that of our friends as well, meaning here, the audience.

We're trying to synthesize this concept soon through a short film, but let us see that resources of time and inspiration Lus has, Lus being the one who deals with the whole image trinity of K, D and DBE. I’ve believed for long in this concept and, even though this wasn't entirely perceived by everyone, we're glad to meet friends of this Evening, who are asking when the next “themed evening” will take place... Unfortunately, or fortunately, the feeling of repetition shut this concept down and we're speaking about something at past tense. But you can go back in time or find out about the mentioned history right here:

http://www.kogaionon.com/ro/serile-speciale-organizate-de-kogaionon-si-donisart

Now there’s a general craze, everyone wants to put together concerts, everyone organizes, and everyone brings whatever musical acts they can... Luckily, there are few events that fit the pattern of what I like and support; it's good that there are some. I try to promote these ones that deserve more than a verbal support as much as I can...

The first events on the list are the ones from MONA MUR & EN ESCH, brought by Lux Noctis. I could have seen them last year at WGT, but I missed them. They have some great Post Punk influences and some Electro touches I don’t really get along with, but are worth watching. In opening, Dan Serbanescu (DIVINE MUZAK) presents a new musical project, something Bombastic, how he told me: TANZ OHNE MUSIK:

http://www.kogaionon.com/ro/evenimente/candy-affair-party-with-mona-mur-en-esch-tanz-ohne-musik

Oh, I almost forgot... On the 20th of April, Nelu Brandusan caught Ensiferum and Children Of Bodom during their tour, so I expect a great deal of people in Bucharest at the event... completely uninteresting to me, sadly.

At the end of April, KIRLIAN CAMERA come from the first time in Romania, the veteran Angelo's project, probably known by many from the 90s! The old Dark Wave took now a rather mainstream Electro Synth Pop direction, but which, through the wonderful voice of Elena Fossi (Spectra Paris), manages to develop an interesting aura, especially on slower songs, not to call them Dark. I can say that KIRLIAN CAMERA might have been an option for DBE 2, there were a couple of discussions, but I considered their music wouldn't fit this small festival's concept. But I recommend you to attend, even though the events takes place on the Friday preceding the 1th of May, usually destined to other activities. And once again, in opening, we have Dan Serbanescu with his new project...

http://www.kogaionon.com/ro/evenimente/kirlian-camera-in-club-control-29-aprilie-2011-in-deschidere-tanz-ohne-musik-promoter-viv

Hatework has 3 concerts in 3 different towns at the beginning of May, with ROTTING CHRIST as headliner but worth the attention is also OMNIUM GATHERUM, who recently released a spectacular Melodic Death Metal album. The official press release is soon to be out.

Twilight 13Media, through Costin Chioreanu, recommends us to spend the Saturday of May 7 in Bucharest, because the ones from AVA INFERI return to Romania. Together with them, NEGURA BUNGET return, both bands being headliners at the first edition of last year's Ost Mountain festival. It’s good to see bands coming with something new in front of their fans, they don’t just hold a new gig!

http://www.kogaionon.com/ro/evenimente/ava-inferi-7-mai-2011-bucure%C5%9Fti-wings-club

Also on the 7th of May, but in Brasov, a good friend of mine thinks of making something special, but because there was no official press release, we'll leave it for next month. This day of May the 7th is an awkward date for me, for I can't honour none of the 2 options just mentioned, for personal matters will keep me in Suceava.

But on the 8th of May I will arrive in Bucharest to see a very dear band to me, a flawless Post-Rock, TIDES FROM NEBULA. I am convinced that for most of the attendees, RIVERSIDE will be the main attraction, but I wish to enjoy a decent show with these Post Rock Poles that played many times with GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT. And I'm crazy about the location, Kulturhaus!

http://www.kogaionon.com/ro/evenimente/concert-in-romania-al-trupei-de-progressive-rock-riverside

I don't know if the Progressive fans will be affected by the fans of Symphonic, as HAGGARD plays that very evening in TSC (probably a new Promusic sold-out), but it's going to create some dilemmas in choosing the concert they'd like to go to...

One week later, May 14th, PRIMORDIAL's concert is supposed to take place in Bucharest. I say “is supposed” because there's no press release of the event, I know quite some things about the stage of negotiations and it seems that soon the official announcement will be made. From the discussions I had with Alan, the vocal, all details will be solved these days... I can say that the flight tickets are already bought; there are some technical and financial matters that should be dealt with until the beginning of April. I leave the next day to Dublin to see Explosions In The Sky and I should be flying with the same plane as the guys from PRIMORDIAL. Let's see what's going to be, for there is much rumour and malice, but also frivolity on the organizer's part from Baia Mare. Despite the gossip and meddling of some ‘good’ people, looks like this boy is really determined to make the concert, and probably, to wash away his sins in front of all those fans he messed with along the years. Concerning the bands he tricked, I don’t have many comments... If the name PRIMORDIAL and the friendship I have with Alan wasn’t in discussion, I surely wouldn’t have written so much about this possible event and about an organizer who, until now, made a fool out of bands like SHINING, FORGOTTEN TOMB or SATURNUS, and I only mention the bands that DonisArt knows personally. But I wish to be correct with myself and with an event that wishes to be done. I understood that the guy held events in Baia Mare and the bands were satisfied. Probably yes, I prefer to be careful with the comments until I have the certitude that PRIMORDIAL will take place and then I will recommend the concert... it's a perfect occasion to see the Irishmen live... they are veterans and they are truly amazing! Especially because they release this month the long awaited new album!

Artmania arrives in the middle of May with a band that last year, in Sibiu, wrecked havoc with the fans. I think it is a more than a good decision for DARK TRANQUILITY to play in Bucharest, because the musicians are extremely talented and dedicated to their music. TSC might be too small for how many people (theoretically) would be interested, but we shall see. The ticket price is not cheap (but correct for the band's calibre), something that might diminish the possible and maybe unwanted “sauna effect”. Anyhow, it will be a success for sure!

http://www.kogaionon.com/ro/evenimente/dark-tranquillity-la-silver-church-pe-19-mai

At the beginning of June, we have a jubiliar edition of the famous WGT festival from Leipzig, where, for the first time, the veteran EMPYRIUM and LES DISCRETS will go on stage. If I didn’t succeed convincing the first ones to attend DBE, even though there have been discussions on this matter at Labyrinthic Metal Evening as well, Fursy will hold with LES DISCRETS his second show ever at Alba Iulia. Anyway, the occasion of seeing EMPYRIUM live might be also the only one... and soon you will be pleasantly surprised in what live formula will the musicians be stepping onto the stage! An obligatory event for everyone who grew up with EMPYRIUM!

On the 7th of June I will go to London to see an incredible show, namely the Japanese guys from MONO with the HOLY GROUND ORCHESTRA. A concert for my very soul, which will write history, at which I succeeded to co-opt around 10 persons. I wholeheartedly recommend this event, for every Post-Rock fan and not only.

http://www.kogaionon.com/en/events/one-inch-badge-and-tidal-shift-proudly-present-mono-and-the-holy-ground-orchestralive

You can also read here an interview with the Japanese band, put to our disposal by the promoters of the 7th of June event:

http://www.kogaionon.com/en/kogaionon-interviews/rarelyunable-press-release

Oh my, how well, unfortunately, the name of the beautiful track “Burial At Sea” (which you can listen to on this page, on the right) fits with what happened in Japan a few weeks ago!

On June 14th, DonisArt will organize in Bucharest a sort of DBE3 WarmUp Party, with a band from over the ocean that made history in the Goth/Nefolk/Cabaret genre, in the next few days all details concerning this event will be made public.

Then I leave for holidays with my family in the same fishermen’s village from Greece, in the same place where I feel perfect and recharge my batteries... I will read and heavily listen to music, in the longest holiday from my life!

I return for the second edition of OST Festival, with already interesting mentioned names, but also with some headliners that will soon be announced, who will gather much more people than the first edition did! Especially because we speak of some bands that have already been to Romania and were appreciated! I’m really glad because we have outdoor Metal festivals that support Underground elements, not only mainstream ones...

http://www.kogaionon.com/ro/evenimente/ost-mountain-fest-editia-a-ii-a-22-24-iulie-2011-cetatea-rasnov

There are theoretical possibilities to organize something I've been longing to, this time in Transylvania, near Alba Iulia, in July 22nd, but I'm still waiting for an answer. It's quite a bummer because it would take place in the same Friday with OST but the musical genres don’t really have a connection. It would be the first event with a band I'd take from touring, but I will decide in a couple of days. This would also be a DBE 3 WarmUp Party, in the Transylvanian way... If it is to happen, I will miss only the first evening of OST and I will definitely attend the other remaining two!

If the month of July identifies with OST, August is already charged with 2 events. The big one, organized by ARTMANIA, has a tradition and will gather once again thousands of people in the Great Market of Sibiu, mainly to see Tarja and Nevermore, but also for the first time in Romania, Sonata Arctica. I have no idea how many people will come for Lacrimas Profundere, but I am sure that for Republica, some people that have nothing to do with the spirit of this festival will be attending. I don’t know if it is good or bad, but I appreciate the fact that the organizers aren't stuck upon stylistic clichés. My problem is that they kind of left behind the Underground Metal bands in favour of the big bands and the last name left awaited will probably be a headliner. The decision is exclusively theirs and I respect that! Moreover, I will continue promoting the event, even though, at one moment, the old and exclusivist Kogaionon Mountain would stop having a common language with this festival, if we're to speak about only headliners... What is worse is that in the same weekend there's the famous Brutal Assault festival, and Deftones play as well in Bucharest...

http://www.kogaionon.com/ro/evenimente/festivalul-artmania-sibiu-2011-8-14-august-2011

A week later, the third edition of Dark Bombastic Evening will take place, at only 80 km away from Sibiu. Even though the announcement has been released at the beginning of December, when there was no fixed date for another event, it seems that August is rather jammed with concerts. DonisArt decided after Brasov, Bucharest and Suceava, to halt now in the Alba Iulia citadel and emerge from the walls of the locations that have perfectly done their job, until now, of welcoming hosts. We try to make this festival a simple and honest opportunity for the ones interested in spending 2 days in a beautiful place, torn from everyday and liked by everyone. We took into consideration the opinions of the ones that answered our opinion polls, so that we set a convenient ticket price, we invited Romanian bands that we indentified together and that would fit the DBE concept, we are still studying different options to find the smartest, cheapest and quality administrative details or logical ones for the fans... and not in the least, we have some beautiful ideas we would offer in the shape of coquette souvenirs... we shall see. Let's hope that we will be capable to gather a couple of hundreds of beautiful souls in Alba Iulia, to spend 2 days of fairytales. We already have attendees from Canada, Israel, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine, Serbia, Hungary and France. Our logics might make us believe that Romanians will mobilize themselves, but, in these hard days for everyone, nothing seems logical anymore! But, after all, this is the charm, we don't set ourselves targeted expectations based on statistics from social networking (we follow, of course), but friends that would come with their open heart towards an event born out of respect for art and the complimentary joys of this religion, named MUSIC!

www.darkbombasticevening.com

I’m pleasantly surprised to see that the first teaser of the event had already more than 2100 views:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qtvYWSaiYg

In a couple of days we will present the complete film of the festival, that I like equally as much, I hope most of you will appreciate it as well.

And that would be it, when it comes to the dimension of concerts. There's no need in mentioning the big events, for I don’t find myself in them, I only know that before Rock The City there is a concert that should be interesting for every Death Metal fan, because MALEVOLENT CREATION is a standard band in this scene and the concert from Bucharest, from the 30th of June, sounds very attractive. I also have a stain on my brain for a while and let me say it now, maybe I will see things in a more relaxed way if I get it out of my system... I don’t understand why Romanian bands “put on a singing” anytime, anyhow, anyway... especially the ones from Bucharest, who go from venue to venue more than frequently and have nothing new to tell us, meaning they insist upon the same setlist... What would be the motivation of a fan to come and see a favourite band every month? It seems to me more solid and correct for the sanity but also longevity of that band to look for organizing tours in Romania, in as many towns as possible, but in decent locations with quality sound... and clearly in Bucharest, but at relaxing time intervals and with new elements. Even if the band will play in front of 50 people, it would plant a seed that, in the future, might grow into something strong... It is true that a band without gigs can’t survive in time but what is too much and without sense, I allow myself to say, it harms! Anyway, it’s their business!

Let's get now to the current Playlist and comment on the most interesting releases I've discovered. I would like to outline once again that Kogaionon writes reviews only about the albums that present some interest and that's it. Same goes for interviews...

Until the new KAUAN, STROSZEK and SYVEN will officially appear, reference albums for this spring, I will mention now ULVER, who returned with a rather short album, but truly experimental, about I've already written about that. I’m honoured and glad to point out the appearance of the “Focul Viu” DVD of the band NEGURA BUNGET, in the golden formula and that should become compulsory collection piece for every local Metal fan... It is not a spectacular technical or imagistic release, but it's something that deserves all its money. The new NEGURA BUNGET formula released a new material, a quite interesting MCD, somewhat darker than “Varstele pamantului”, but also somewhat more introspective. I suggested in the review of the album to view the actual NEGURA BUNGET through the prism of present and future, not through something it used to be. If we manage to make this step, we will discover 4 new songs, where Negru's drum is piece de resistance, along the abundant keyboard. Maybe too abundant and atmospheric for my taste, but it sounds fair and might shape a passage “through the other side gate”... there are some incantations I liked, as an idea... The screaming voices seem a bit forced, but it might be only my impression... otherwise, we have again traditional instruments that fully develop the Pagan Folk aura, probably very effective for the foreigners. The guitars score only in the maintenance chapter; I didn’t sense anything spectacular, nothing that would be remarkable in an inspired way... classic Black Metal.

Avantgarde Music comes with 3 releases with different approaches, out of which the Post-Metal CALDERA fascinated me from the start: Post-Rock insertions, experimental phases smartly mixed with Doom Metal or Drone, even Sludge... sadly, just 2 tracks, but I set my eyes on this French quartet, for it promises a lot! IXION clearly reminds me of RAS ALGETHI, I liked this Atmospheric Doom Metal with growl vocals that turned me back in time, in the glory times of MY DYING BRIDE or CELESTIAL SEASON. WE MADE GOD come from Iceland and the approached Post-Rock fascinates me only on some tracks, otherwise, the free and easy of violent vocals Hardcore phases leave me cold.

URFAUST comes with a jewel like album, the two Dutch being, by far, the most interesting discovery from the last year, in terms of Doom Black Metal. They are incredible!

Still at the Van Records label the new NECROS CHRISTOS album comes out, that might be easily placed in the all time top 5 Occult Doom Metal...

INFESTUS is a really interesting album and rather avantgardist, recommended to the Black Dark Metal fans, probably for the ones who listen to BLUT AUS NORD, especially because the new material of the Frenchman is truly frightening and highly complex.

GOTHMINISTER come with a very varied album, that tries to gather around under the same roof Symphonic, Epic and Electro phases, all governed by a very bombastic and explosive Metal sound. There are a few tracks that I really enjoyed, but at the same time, the material comprises of some tracks that seem to be from an entirely different film, good thing that the masculine voice is the key element of the sound, very interesting and with an unmatchable dark print.

From the Post-Rock chapter, we discover a new album of the British VESSELS, with many references to alternative Rock, but interesting, LAVINIA and ACTORS & ACTRESSES come with mini albums that promise a lot, recommended to CASPIAN, JUNIUS and CONSTANTS fans... HERRA TERRA with EKSI EKSO often leaves behind Post-Rock to fill up the sound with Electro Rock or Shoegaze elements, which sadly lacks the dark dimension.

I discovered a spectacular album from the Psychedelic Rock field, mixed with hypnotic and Doom Metal insertions, addressed to ELECTRIC WIZARD fans, of the British band BONG. Not far from this expression are the last albums of the bands BURDEN, 40 WATT SUN or SOLSTORM... By the way, pay attention to SOLSTORM, these Norwegians strongly press the avantgardist pedal, recommended to VED BUENS ENSE, VIRUS or DODHEIMSGARD fans, but somewhat more slow and weary.

NOX come with an extraordinarily varied and well congealed experimental album, somewhere hard to fit in a Rock style, JOYLESS presents us the long awaited Pop Black Metal album, if you want, pleasant but surprising for the 70s Rock insertions and the awkward present feminine voice. Worth noticing is DAMMERFARBEN, I just got it, it’s a real Dark Black Metal surprise, with melancholic passages, even romantic ones, dominated by acoustic instrumental interludes, it reminds me of ENIS. I just discovered ATOMTRAKT, it is a super album, dedicated to Martial Neofolk fans, perfect for the ones who'd like to discover an alternative of TRIARII. Cristoph is no one but the one more than 10 bands gravitate around, the most famous being VINTERRIKET. The Swiss musician works now on a new ATOMTRAKT album, and, after what I've heard, will have many interesting collaborations, so stay sharp, a bomb is announced. Still the ones from Steinklanf Records come with a new STORMFAGEL album, neatly conceived, enjoyable and easy on the ear, but somewhat paler than the two materials released at CMI... As dynamics, it's far above, but there's still something missing.

There would be much more to say, but will stop here. I wrote enough for this Editorial and I have no idea if some of you had the patience to go through the lines so far. 

I hope to find the motivation and the spirit for a new Editorial in May, especially if the albums I will receive will push me to write something.

Enjoy the spring as long as you can, for we will have heath waves in full... We would like to think that in Alba Iulia citadel, in August, we will breathe a chilly air, in a friendly and decent environment. Hehe, but there's so much until then... I just remembered what a friend of mine told me, an ace of the Bucharest clubs and a declared supporter of cultural activities of any sorts: “My friend, be careful what you do in Alba Iulia, but don't intellectually prostitute yourself and ruin the charm of events with which you accustomed the few but true DonisArt fans! Don’t make place to commercial compromises that have nothing in common with the select concept promoted so many years!” Let’s hope that we will follow our own belief that we will continue to be honest and vertical with ourselves and succeed in making something beautiful in August!

We'll see and hear from each other soon!

April 2011