July 2010

 •  Posted in: Kogaionon Editorials

Musical salutations!

It's been two months since I haven't done any editorials at all... I haven't had any time honestly. There's been Agalloch and Alcest, I've been on a trip throughout Romania with the vocalist John and I'm pretty sure it was an unbelievable experience for him. How could it not be? We've been to Feldioara, Rupea, up in the mountains to the Ice hotel in Balea Lac, then to the Poienari Castle (which has almost 3000 steps down-up). After that we ended up in Sighisoara were we had dinner in Vlad Dracul's house (they played some Rock music in the background – people seem to know the trend). We also visited Sibiu, Babele and the Sfinx and at the end of the trip the Village’s Museum in Bucharest. It was a hell of a week, same as Elite Dark Metal Evening, event held one weekend before. If the crowd enjoyed the Evening as much as we did, has to be seen during the next events organized by DonisArt.

Then I attended two events under the mark of One Event: BRENDAN PERRY

http://kogaionon.com/romana/arhive_romana/arhive_articole_romana/Brendan...

and NEGURA BUNGET

http://www.kogaionon.com/romana/arhive_romana/arhive_articole_romana/Neg...

I also been to an interesting Post Rock show performed by the band KOKOMO. They made their live appearance in front of 30 people or so... I don't really know what to say about bands who chose to play this sort of music, no one can know for sure the outcome, they can only experiment.

Last night in Suceava I was present at this concert with bands promoted by Coro/Axa Valaha – KROW and EUPHOBIA. It was nice to hear an old SARCOFAGO song played by this Brazilians. The opening act was the local band SHADOWSONG. They will be releasing their debut album next Friday, on the 7th of May. It’s the same day that LABURINTHOS is performing their first live show ever. It's a shame I won't be around...

A very interesting season is coming up for some people and quite uninteresting for me actually. It's this combination of excessive heat and all sorts of Rock open-door concert that makes me take a step back even tough giants of the Rock scene are showing up in our little country. I had several experiences in the past and I'm really fed up with the atmosphere, sitting around at huge queue and then going back and forth from the sitting area to the toilets and refreshment stands where you have to wait at yet more queues to get your business done. All this in a plane stadium with no affiliation whatsoever to the event. But maybe this is only my personal obsession. 

Let’s see what events are coming up in the next few months and I'm taking into account those we have promoted on the website. Well on the 7th of may I'm going to Brasov to see Deep in the Underground

http://www.kogaionon.com/romana/arhive_romana/arhive_concerte/2010/Deep-...

held in the Reduta Hall. I'm going to see young Romanian bands perform, trying to give their best and on top of that - GRIMEGOD a band I haven't seen playing live since the concert in Big Mamou many many years ago. It will be an interesting evening since the guys have managed to put back together their golden formula and Tibor's voice is one of the best from our Metal scene. The event is organized by Lao, who will be also celebrating his birthday by holding two shows with his musical projects. At the end we are to expect some visual interesting surprises and I will be the first to hail his musical determination!

Next weekend, again, Brasov will host another metal evening, this time the Death Metal The Fifteenth May Bleed featuring two local bands. One is CODE RED led by the former INDIAN FALL vocalist.

http://www.kogaionon.com/romana/arhive_romana/arhive_concerte/2010/Conce...

After only one day, there’s oldies but goldies time, for the people who have been expecting them since forever…AC/DC!

http://www.kogaionon.com/romana/arhive_romana/arhive_concerte/2010/ACDC-...

Shortly I’m then leaving for Leipzig:

http://www.kogaionon.com/romana/arhive_romana/arhive_concerte/2010/wgt.html

to attend a festival with 160 bands performing in only 4 days. We’re talking about totally different kinds of music jumbled up in one place although WGT is considered a Goth festival. I’ll be enjoying performances from Brendan Perry, ATARAXIA and ARCANA to ROTTING CHRIST, THE VISION BLEAK and ALCEST. ROSE ROVINE E AMANTI has been confirmed a short while ago, so I’m definitely looking forward to going there.

Right after coming back from Leipzig, I have little time to catch my breath and on the 30th of May I’m going to be attending my friend’s Hatework unleashing of the beast in Studio Martin.

http://www.kogaionon.com/romana/arhive_romana/arhive_concerte/2010/DEICI...

I’ll see at work the old gang from AVATAR and the famous DEICIDE, a first time show in Romania, not to be missed under any circumstances. Some fast Bulgarians will be performing alongside.

For those who like softer stuff, the evening of 11th of June will be a perfect choice, since Eric Clapton is performing in “town”:

http://www.kogaionon.com/romana/arhive_romana/arhive_concerte/2010/Eric-...

After some quiet time and relaxation, it’s time for everybody to go to Sonispehere, the biggest attraction being the performances of SLAYER and RAMMSTEIN:

http://www.kogaionon.com/romana/arhive_romana/arhive_concerte/2010/Tubor...

Of course the whole bands are a package and I’m sure it’s going to be wild.

One Event dudes invite you to another interesting concert on the 27th of June – MASSIVE ATTACK

http://www.kogaionon.com/romana/arhive_romana/arhive_concerte/2010/Massi...

Although they don’t have much in common with RAMMSTEIN, I’m sure many people will have a hard time deciding between the two.

A very intelligent move are making the friends organizing the OST MOUNTAIN FEST

http://www.kogaionon.com/romana/arhive_romana/arhive_concerte/2010/Ost-M...

in trying to bring the festival closer to nature, within a forest. The festival is stretched along 3 whole days and is trying to offer something more than just mere concerts. I really want to go to this one, in August, although it’s one week earlier than Artmania. It will surely give people the possibility to relax in the true sense by practicing sports and other fun activities. I have heard a lot of talk, concerning the line-up: that it’s not attractive enough and won’t convince too many people to come. I wonder how much tons of money will the want-to-see-it-all fan will have to spend this summer to feel truly fulfilled. Big names mean high ticket prices and organizers are not crowding to invest in Metal events, not for a long shot.

After the huge failure with the festival from Fetesti, any Romanian promoter will have a hard time trying to get things rolling again. Even if OST Mountain Fest looks like a tiny cautious step it is rather a strong courageous one. It would be logical that people hailing the Metal scene around here would struggle to find a common ground in trying to promote and advocate for this Metal festival. But nothing seems to be right in this country I, stubbornly continue to love so much. I was wondering recently why Poland seems to be a country so sought out by bands and why the Polish pubic seems to be attending events in a huge number no matter the profile of the band. I then, remembered the glorious times when local undertakers we selling copies of the officially released tapes brought from Poland.

The Polish understand differently the concepts of promotion, favouring and respecting of their beloved bands. Now when the audio and video market sank so deep, the only effective way of keeping bands afloat is for them to deliver live performances (not counting the solo projects). It turns out we’re even more Byzantines than the Polish (or should I say ottomans?)… we tend to relocate our interest – we look for obscure ways of getting in to a concert, we like to count all the defects and errors of the bands, we’re convinced we’re not treated properly, we feel like poorly understood philosophers looking down vainly and ironically from a far-away mountain top.

The idea of reconciliation may sound pathetic at this point, but something towards this goal needs to be done. Otherwise, we will die and, we’re fooling ourselves if we think it’s going to be pretty. I am talking here about the underground movement. If Metallica were to come here every year and the ticket would cost 100 euro, I am convinced the venue would still be full of people. On the other hand, for the quality bands coming from the underground, the crowd consists of only a couple of hundreds. Actually, the Romanians became pragmatic a long time ago – we lack patience, time, desire to look for new things. Maybe that’s why our television networks become fast a totally uninteresting thing – we so much like to swallow dozens of boring things and in the evening fool ourselves that we lack time for anything else. I think that’s the reason our great actors were reduced to playing in cheap soap operas. The young actors, on the other hands, are trying to stand out at film festivals, parading our post-communist gloom and destitution. I don’t even understand why we’re perplexed that some dumb French guy makes fun of us on national television with his beggar salute. Talk about ill taste and lame patriotism.

I’ve seen foreigners being fascinated by Romania, tourists in love with this country and fans loving every moment of coming back here for concerts. But this is just the empty glass semantic – and I keep seeing it full over and over again.

Closing all the brackets I opened so far, I like to fool myself that it is not to late to look for whatever we’re interested in, provided we know what that is or that we can be open to other musical genders and transformations. Maybe a common ground could get things rolling with some positive quality energies. Maybe, just maybe…

Going back now to our musical events this summer. Even thought we have a modest underground scene, which doesn’t seem to give us any interesting name, more and more live events are starting to pop-up all around Romania. Some people are trying to organize their own concerts and tours even if that means travelling hundred of kilometres from town to town a gathering up to 100 fans in every location. This is a good thing since in other countries things are the same and so I am very curious to see how many people will show up in Busteni for the OST Fest on 8-10th August.

We have Artmania right after that
http://www.kogaionon.com/romana/arhive_romana/arhive_concerte/2010/Artma..., with a weird line up mostly looking to explore rather than to incite – at least at first glance. Serj Tankian seems to be a real head-liner. Kamelot is having huge success in the States and I’m curious whether people know them around here. The Syster of Mercy are a living legend, I even wanted to bring them to Romania, but I didn’t really know how many fans remembered them. Sirenia did an average job on their latest album but still Tristania’s memory is a good card to play. I am wondering what other bands will show up on the bill. The dates of the Festival have been switched from the second or third weekend in July to the third weekend of August – a very risky choice but still a provocative and interesting one!

A very intelligent move made the organizers of the other festival from Sibiu – moving its location to Bran. Is this a new strategy for exploring new opportunities, maybe? I’ll have to leave them to their business. I am still waiting for a super band, one that would blow me away. Artmania is still a winner concerning seriousness and inspiration, bringing bands who attract an imposing amount of fans.

And that’s how summer will pass us by – spending a lot of money on these events. I wonder now if Labyrinthic Metal Evening is even worth organizing at this point. But I’m afraid I have no other options since I committed myself to it. DonisArt has already 10 events gathered up in its portfolio. I am planning something before this event but I will have to wait and see if the cards are being played the right way. In November I been hearing some rumours about something Non Metal visiting our country and in December the biggest challenge for me and the team I’ve been working with, is coming up.

www.darkbombasticevening.com

In the next days all the details about the second edition of this event will be announced. This will be a real Platform where among 10 bands (none from the first edition), an after party and musical accessories for sale, you’ll be experiencing some other surprises more or less dramatic and thespian but definitely artistic. It’s surprising and honouring to see that already there are tens of confirmed guests for the DBE 2nd edition on last.fm

http://www.last.fm/event/1413440+Dark+Bombastic+Evening+-+2nd+edition

without any act being actually announced so far. I hope the public will not be disappointed, especially since DBE is not really a Neofolk event as some rushed to label it. This year it will stretch across 2 whole days and will incorporate different bands. Who knows, after judging the echoes and reactions of the fans, I’ll be bring together under this Platform bands from extreme Metal to the most fragile form of Ethereal and strange Experimental chants. I’m thinking about this, because I’ve noticed that the public of the Special Evenings is a cosmopolite one. They are not stuck by stylistically barriers and have lots of common points: elegant behaviour, unconditional friendship, respect directed towards the other participants, openness to new musical styles and to sincere challenges from the part of the organizers! This is what I call the feeling of belonging! All the respect of the DonisArt team goes to them!

The Platform is starting to take shape and has already two new team members (Astre De Nuite and Senile Bael) who are working on translations and moderating the forum. In the future they will hopefully be providing the Platform with written materials, comments, interviews and reviews. It’s a benefic first step, I think. Time will tell!

It is now time to talk about a few albums. The current play list is one rich in achivements. I’ve been telling you about Cecilia:Eyes.

http://www.kogaionon.com/english/archives_english/archives_reviews_engli...

Another great jewel is the new Ataraxia album, a brilliant cosmologic Dark Folk of a enchanted beauty, the most complex and inspired of all the 20 materials, the band has produced so far. I warmly recommend you the new album “Llyr – a real collector’s piece. Especially now since Francesca’s voice is now accompanied by masculine voices which make the music more sober. 

The FORESHADOWING started on a brand new path after the founder finished the collaboration with Spiritual Front and Kilimt 1918. Having a great voice that will probably break the heart of the HIM, The 69 Eyes or Lacrimas Profundere fans, this Italian band is releasing their second album, a more commercial one. It approaches a sort of Atmospheric Metal gender with subtle Dark Gothic Doom influences. Personally I prefer their debut.

You can also try listening to Butterfly Explosion, which are accompanying God is an Astronaut on tour right now. Even if they sound quite catchy, their structural side could please the ear of some Indie Rock fans.

DEMENTIA AD VITAM blasts a new material (their second) out in the open. It seems more intricate than the debut but is quite perfect for the fans of Dark Sanctuary, Elend, Duke or Arcana. It should not be overlooked. The French Pansees Nocturnes comes out with their second neoclassical Black Metal “Grotesque” a lot less inspired compared to the debut album but better conceptualized.

The British label Aesthetic Death Records released a really elegant digi-pack of DEN SAAKALDTE. It’s obvious on the record that Niklas likes to demonstrate his wonderful multi vocal abilities. The band delivers as always an Avant-garde Black Metal that has some various stylistically influences attached to its core. 

NAEVUS released recently a magnificent 12” EP, featuring 3 Post-Punk songs – with a shocking orientation even to the most die-hard and open-minded fans. But Lloyd’s voice is so unbelievable!

DIRTY GRANNY TALES totally left me speechless. Their second album, launched several weeks ago, is an exceptional digipack containing a CD and a DVD that illustrates their dramatic performances. I will not tell you the details any further but I can assure you that the new album is worth every penny! I’ll be amazed to discover a puzzle of Gothic, Acoustic, Atmospheric, Dark or Black Metal entangled with dancing and puppet shows. Absolutely great!

ALTAR OF PLAGUES managed again to mesmerize me with their latest 2 song EP called “Tides”. This songs, 15 minute long and 20 minute long, are probably their darkest up to date, diving deep into the experimental dimensions and extracting juices unknown to the Black Metal scene until now.

VINDESANG is another interesting band – I received the album from John of Agalloch. It is recommended as it is a bizarre combination of Dark Metal, Ambient and Experimental Music.

RAJNA spawned their new Ethereal album, which is at first glance better than it’s predecessor. They seem to have dropped the annoying combination of mystical and oriental elements with modernist approaches. The vocals also seem to follow a more expressive path. Yet their current efforts can not be compared with the first albums. Songs like “Quite Hour” were Aret’s (DELYMAN) voice reaches its peak and interconnects us with old Dead Can Dance. And yes, Delyman’s album must be taken into account by all Arcana fans.

I’d like to mention other three neofolk pagan/ dark ambient bands worthy of some attention. They are VINTERRIKET, STRUMPERCHT and DANNAGOISCHD.

The rest of the albums are pretty much average – nothing really valuable. Look through the playlist carefully and you’ll find quite a few names – I’ll leave you to them so you can form your own opinion. Maybe I could have missed some breakthroughs.

Simone Salvatori released an official video – which announces the new album of SPIRITUAL FRONT (due in the summer). People know this song as it has been performed during the two concerts in Romania. They now can enjoy looking at a professional video clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K735tdHnDA

Nevertheless the video seems devoid of expressivity and inspiration and even the all hailed sexual aura doesn’t help much. I’m afraid the new album will lose the band some old fans and maybe it would gain them others. Unfortunately the old bestial Spiritual Front and its dark side has longed succumbed. On the other hand, Simone and Jerome (ROME) have made it very clear when talking to me that they reject the idea of composing over and over again the same kind of music – even if they have been repeatedly asked by the fans. Even tough their final choice is not one everybody is happy with it has to be respected by the fans nevertheless.

NARSILLION will release a new album by the end of this year. In the meantime you can take a look at the latest video produced by Sergio.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAbVhCx-Xrs

ROME have hidden themselves in the shadows and this had made many people wonder about the reason. I can assure you that health issues are not to blamed for their silence. You can even read a recent interview with them done by Cristina Petrescu.

http://muzica.metropotam.ro/Interviuri/2010/04/art6915231146-Interviu-Je...

      The new album is on the way, anyhow and the new means of approach could puzzle some fans. Some details:

 http://www.infrarot.de/rome/nos-chants-perdus-collectors-edition/2005806

ORDO ROSARIO EQUILIBRIUM will release a new album late in autumn and Tomas will announce some concert dates. 

ARCANA has already recorded a new song and is working hard on other. I sincerely hope for a new album by the end of this year. The good side is that Peter has resolved the problem of their live shows by bringing Narsillion along for the ride so that Arcana’s sound can be 100% live.

GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT will unleash a new album this days and I’m expecting it to be mind-blowing. I hope that in a few weeks I’ll be telling you more about them. MONO recently released a new DVD, a incredible one! They will be going too in the studio to record a new album (I have just noticed that I haven’t review-ed their 2009 masterpiece). Probably ISIS is on their way of starting a recording session so I think 2011 will be huge year for Post-Rock fans. 

PETTER CARLSEN is working on another interesting set of compositions, which are inspired from his unplugged concerts featuring Danny of ANATHEMA. And I’m hoping that CANAAN will be finishing their work by the end of the year as well. 

SHINING has finished masterizing the 7th album, it’s probably due out next month, so watch out. The same goes for Vulture Industries. They will launch their new work a couple of days before their concert in Romania, so it’s going to be a great opportunity for them to play live for the first time their new songs. So exciting!

From the Romanian scene, DORDEDUH have finished off their first two songs. Their label Prophecy wrote about them: “pure spiritual progressive breathtaking Black Metal magic”. KISTVAEN and INDIAN FALL are about to go in the studio, LABURINTHOS is recording already their first 3 songs. For some details about the band you can look here:

http://www.myspace.com/laburinthos

SINCARNATE is launching in the fall their long expected debut album. You can already listen to 3 songs in here: http://www.myspace.com/sincarnateband

I’ve written enough for three editorials, nothing too deep just endless quest of events… that’s what summer is good for anyhow.

And if it’s labor day (that’s right that socialist holiday) – the Former Power used to worship – it’s time for us to party.

I received via e-mail a video link:

http://www.jurnaltv.ro/video/The_Soviet_Story_Povestea_sovietelor_incred...

When I clicked on it I realized it was a 85 minute movie and I really wasn’t in a mood to watch such a long documentary on soviet forces and gulags. Eventually I decided to give the movie a shot and I am so glad I did – I couldn’t get off the couch when I watched. I was absorbed by the interesting and objective laid out material. Even thought the producers of the documentary forgot to mention Basarabia – the only territory left prisoner following the deadly Ribbentrop-Molotov pact I still totally recommend it. I don’t know about it educational value, but I believe that everyone must know about the red plague alias the almighty communism. It seems that nowadays the only ones who talk about this huge crimes are the victims. It’s quite overwhelming. And some young people today think it’s super cool to mix the all protective Right wing with the Ecological Green. Thank goodness for Dan Puric’s inspired lectures (I recently saw him in Brasov). Patriotism can be considered anachronic only by the modernist ignorant who hope the combination McDonalds/Cola/OMV/Gucci will turn out to be our new national identity – freeing us from the hook of false conceptions and ideas brought about by traditionalist centuries. Some people look to the past, some look to the future…. I tend to only live… and I pleasantly recall the lyrics our poet Eminescu has so skilfully created in his mind about our country, praising it.

I started rambling on and on again so I’ll stop here.

I wish you all a cool summer! 

P.S. Here’s a concert I really would like to attend – no cheap tedious folk symphony stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qixaMeKXLA0