Metal East: Nove Kolo. Day 1
I arrived to the fest early to see the first band (it was announced at 14:00) and just to hang around to see the place. The location itself called Art-zavod “Mechanica. Inaya Zemlya” and placed, as it understood from the name, at one of the “Malyshev plant” block. This is the plant where legendary WWII tanks T-34 were made. Also, there were a lot of military crafts created and manufactured in this place. Some of it still defend Ukraine from russian aggression in the Ukrainian Army. But let’s get back to the festival.
So, location is in a huge plant house, which includes art exhibitions, merchandise zone and go-karts. Yes, real go-karts track. I don’t know why and for what, but it exists. To the right there is one more huge space divided into two parts. The first one is the main, made like a night club, where all metal shows were played; another one is almost empty beside a couple of coaches and an exit to WCs. To the left from the main place is an open lounge zone with pubs, tables, grass and some sack chairs. When I got to the festival’s territory, I watched the exhibitions a little bit and then I met my fellow musician from Heathen Wastelands band, so we grabbed some beer, set at the table and just talked. At that time there wasn’t much people there, but the guys from Horna already were sitting and chatting near us. Later other people came and we bought more beer; by the way, it was great to see the craft beer from Ten Men brewery on the fest – it was tasty and cheaper than mass-market beers (something like 2$). So with chatting and all the stuff I missed the first band Morok (for my sorrow I heard only the last song’s ending). When I arrived to the festival, I could hear the soundcheck pretty good, but with the beginning of the gig the door was closed and we heard nothing in the lounge zone. Too bad.
The second band Bergrizen I almost missed too. Yeah, it’s not good for a journalist, but I’ve already seen them and they are not so interesting for me. Rather I’ll shortly write about them from the words of others: it was very atmospheric but the vocal wasn’t so good, too raspy. I agree because I’ll tell the same.
The next band I just couldn’t miss – Necrom! It is the first show of the fresh superband that recorded only a demo. I’ll just write its line-up to make things clear: Knjaz Varggoth – guitar, Astargh (Elderblood) – vocal, I.Z.V.E.R.G (Dub Buk, Burshtyn) – bass, Khaoth (Khors and many others) – drums, Arthur Meburnutov (Mutanter) – guitar. Impressive? Despite that all these people are famous because their participation in Black Metal bands, Necrom plays Stockholm Death Metal, very solid, with low guitar tune and typical Sunlight Studios sound. By the way, Necrom reminded me Grave because their music based on riffs and not on melody, like Dismember, for example. So the gig was heavy and interesting (and quite short: guys still haven’t enough material) because people with huge experience play the music they like. I hope this band will have a great future.
Harakiri For The Sky. This band isn’t interesting for me, in general. The show was the same as it was on Brutal Assault festival last year. Well, it’s some atmospheric (or even post) Black Metal, which sounds as background noise when in the record and not impresses when played live. So almost all the time I was outside and listened to the band from the open-air zone. Also, I need to say that staying in the concert “hall” is quite challenging. There is no ventilation at all; it’s very hot outside and almost hell inside. If you just stand, you sweating like pig and you headbang, you almost die. I don’t know how musicians were on stage but something tells me it was also very hard. It’s a big lack, which organizers should pay a lot of attention to fix it.
Zemial had very impressive show. It’s quite hard to describe it, but I’ll try. Everyone knows that Hellenic Black Metal is quite different from other countries’ Black Metal (especially from the north). Zemial shows it fully, as something outstanding and impressive. Using only standard instruments like guitars and drums these guys deliver interesting music and amazing show. Here some old school Thrash Metal, occultism, Greek traditions and some fucking magic weaved. Guitarist play some primitive 80s riffs and then gives some real Prog Metal. There are two vocalists in the band: actually drummer and Proscriptor from Absu. For some time Proscriptor reminds some clown but later you understand that was planned, that was an idea. Musicians create something incredible on stage, some kind of ritual. It’s very generous music that gives you some real emotions! By the way, the last thing reminded me the “Call From The Grave” by Bathory but with blast beats. Anyway, that was a show “from the past”, from the middle ’90s when Black Metal was some real thing. So they deserve the highest score. Supreme Green Hell!
Archgoat: the long waiting turned into one big disappointment. Ok, it sounds live like a very primitive Death Metal. It’s not bad at all, because many bands nowadays try to play more simple and energetic, but… Look, in a record, these guys can do whatever they want and even it’s hard for me to take Black Metal with growls, I’ll listen to them. But when this music played live, it sounds very primitive and boring. The band created good atmosphere on a record but failed to make it on stage. It seemed to me like Archgoat just got on stage, played and that’s all. It’s sad, it’s not interesting and really disappointing: I was really waiting for this band and now I expect only for Incantation (from the “goat bands” list) on the Brutal Assault festival.
Pestilence: wow! Incredible! This band is ripping me for the second time. My mind was blown away with such blast of metal energy. Unlike the previous show in Kharkiv, the band played only their good old songs from Consuming Impulse and Testimony Of Ancients albums. Classical albums from outstanding genre classicists: what else can you want? Honestly, this performance can be described only with emotions: “Wow!”, “Great!”, “Super!”, “Yes, yes, yes, that’s exactly that song!!!”. When the band performed “Land of Tears” on the encore, it was some kind of emotional blast. Yes, it was! Musicians were also elated; Patrick (Mameli) thanked the crowd, Kharkiv and Ukraine in a whole after every song. The band was awesome technically; the sound and light work were also great. By the way, while this performance I understood why and how Martin van Drunen (which was in the Pestilence when “Consuming Impulse” was recorded) created Asphyx: he took all Consuming Impulse ingredients and made riffs simpler. Anyway, I want to thank the band for such joy and organizers for inviting this band.
Metal East: Nove Kolo day 2.
Severoth. Today I came when the first band started to play. I was late, but there was also some delay in performance schedule, so the first band went on stage only in 14:40. This band’s line-up is similar to Morok‘s line-up, which opened the first day of the festival. It is because these bands are solo projects of Severoth, Ukrainian musician from the city Dnipro. But the band Severoth is an Atmospheric Black Metal, where music designed on keyboards atmosphere and guitars play some background simple melodies. By the way, Severoth reminds me the first Nokturnal Mortum albums: they even designed by the same patterns and lyrically similar, because the band sing about mystical Ukrainian Carpathians. Ignoring some musicians’ statics, the band delivers its music good and it’s really interesting to see it on stage and to listen to it. Obviously, it’s the worth opening of day 2.
White Ward. Some interesting feeling: when you see this band live, you don’t understand why the phonogram was changed for some Math or Metalcore band. But with such look these guys play Black Metal (or their own variation of this genre). It was hard to take the whole picture, but when you don’t look at them, you can accept it more easily. Also, I need to say that it’s Post Black with saxophone for solo. Quite interesting band, despite I didn’t like it when I heard the record first. But when they play live, it’s not bad at all!
Agathus. I listened to this band from Greece a few days before the festival and it didn’t impress me. The old albums are Melodic Black Metal, new ones are going to some Heavy Metal direction with occult atmosphere. Anything from this wasn’t catchy for me, but now I see them live. Well, exactly as I said earlier: it’s Heavy Metal. You can call it Dark Metal or Dark Heavy, whatever you want, but it doesn’t change anything. On the second song I understood that it’s a little bit heavier Iron Maiden: typical guitar riffs, harmonies, songs’ structure and even bass parties (which are quite different from guitars), all of this remind about Heavy Metal. Sometimes it even seemed to me that I listen to one or another Iron Maiden song. When I wrote about Zemial, I said about another vision of Black Metal from Greece musicians. That’s exactly what happens to Heavy Metal with this band. And I need to add one more time that these guys add some dark atmosphere to their music, and it’s great. Also, even there wasn’t some big crowd, those who listened to this band liked it. By the way, I personally know some fans of this band. So, I watched their performance and it was good.
Hate Forest. It isn’t surprising for anyone that it was one of the most expected shows here. This band is very famous even beyond Ukraine, but for a long time Hate Forest was “on hold” and for the long time of existence this band performed two times, long time ago at Kharkiv’s festival “Kolovorot”. People from the different countries came to see them and I was curious as well. But here I got the same issue as with Archgoat: growling vocals in Black Metal is definitely not my cup of tea and all in all it was quite tedious (Hate Forest fans, please forgive me). Also, there was a lot of people under the stage and it was quite hard to breathe, so I listened to three songs and got out of the crowd. But obviously Hate Forest was more interesting than Finnish band. Also, I need to mention solid sound, the synergy and Roman Sayenko‘s weird voice. Many people had real pleasure to see this band live on stage but I will rather listen to it in record, or will even listen to another Roman‘s project Drudkh.
Demilich. An old Finnish Death Metal band, which has (it’s hard to believe) only one album from 1993. In the same year the band had split up but from the middle of ’00s these guys were periodically assembled and split up again. From 2014 they are active as a live band only. And here they are in Ukraine! Well, I can suggest the next thing to the readers: just remember, let’s say, ten adjectives that speak about your favourite band: that’s what Demilich gig was about. Well, their vocalist said enough: “We’re as technical as Pestilence and as cool as Archgoat“. I have nothing to add amending what I think about Archgoat. They were really technical and just perfect and their show was a real blast. No one could expect such great performance. Again, their vocalist said only one word about fans and festival: “Amazing!”. All my friends also told me about this show in a good way only. One more time: no one has expected but this was really brilliant.
Enthroned. The cult band from Belgium. The band visit Ukraine for the second time but this the first time they play here. I can’t tell you what happened during the first visit, but there were some health issues. Anyway, this show finally happened and it was worth the expectations: satanic Black Metal as is, with huge riffs without any bullshit. Only pure evil and some dark rituals, that’s all. It’s definitely enough for Black Metal. No, seriously, it was great performance. Musicians know how to act on stage and deliver their dark energy to the crowd, so no one survived!
Necrophobic. The band from Sweden that started in early ’90s from classical Death Metal like Entombed, Dismember of Grave. In the middle of ’90s music turned to Black Metal and it still balancing between these genres, hesitating to one genre or another from album to album but lyrically and ideologically staying on the dark side. This is their first time in Ukraine and it was really successful. Swedens have fast-paced music, interesting riffs and they look like Celtic Frost in “Circle Of The Tyrans” video. They have many albums and lots of great songs, real hits. Those songs were played one by one and in the end Necrophobic played “Tsar Bomba”, “Blinded By Light, Enlightened By Darkness” and “Revelation 666”. That’s what the crowd wanted, that’s what I’ve waited for. I guess it was the best way to finish the evening. All those who went before the show will be sorry about that.
For the end, I want to say a few words about festival’s art exhibitions. Here was the whole gallery from Ukrainian painters, some sculptures and art decorations with jewelry like medallions, talismans. Also, there were some weaved figures and other folk arts. There were lectures about Ukrainian history and culture and some tribal dance performances, which were very welcomed by the visitors. I filmed some short movies and took photos. You can see them here via this link: http://bit.ly/2HSezCN
Day 2 bands: Demilich, Enthroned, Necrophobic.
Metal East: Nove Kolo day 3.
I skipped first two bands on purpose to visit some places in Kharkiv like Knjaz Varggoth‘s (Nokturnal Mortum) “Brakonier” and famous “Rear Door Pub” with craft beer. “Brakonier” has delicious food, “Rear Door Pub” has a good beer, but there are also some lacks that have no connection to the festival at all. So let’s get back to the music.
I started this day with Scottish Saor. This band became relatively famous not a long time ago with the music played in the developed and good known genre: Pagan/Atmospheric Black. Many people will remember some really famed names from this genre, but somehow metalheads were interested in this band. I listen to them right now and what can I say, they are magic. They create an atmosphere of myths, legends and fairy tales of the old Scotland (Hail William Wallace!). Their music crawls to the bone and awakes some desire for freedom! Great band, great show, I was really impressed. Also, I want to emphasize the band’s violinist, he is perfect!
Sargeist. I don’t know much about this band so there’s nothing to tell about it. But fans just don’t need it. On stage, this band is one big black arrow that brings death to those it aims. A straightforward “in-your-face” music without compromises, it will destroy you, no matter if you listen to music like this or not. The band looks great (they perform in some robes) and solid delivery. No matter where are you standing, in front of the stage or somewhere far from it in the end of the crowd; the band’s energy will get you and take you down.
Nokturnal Mortum. Does this band need an introduction? I guess no! If you haven’t seen Nokturnal Mortum‘s live performance, you haven’t seen one of the hugest live bands in Europe. I really understand Europeans that go to see this band live because this is the highest-level Energy (yes, from the capital letter). Their performance brings the firstborn power of the Ukrainian nation, of our ancestors. It brings pride and respect to Ukrainian culture and wealth of our heroes. This music already became a hymn for our people, especially the song “Ukraine” because it sings about the fate of our beautiful country.
I admit, I skipped Horna‘s show because I just hanged out with people. People say that Finns had some crushing show and I don’t have any doubts about it, but that time I just didn’t want to go anywhere. Maybe it was a tiredness of the festival’s third day.
Famous Swedens Entombed AD closed the last day and the festival, respectively. I personally guess that it’s not that band as it was in the end of ’80s or beginning of ’90s. This band is already not those pioneers of Sweden Death Metal and participants admit it too. The name was changed (AD was added to the original name), the line-up was changed a lot of times as well. I don’t even know if there left someone from their first line-up beside Lars Goran-Petrovich. Anyway, we have another band, another music but it is still Death Metal (or not?). They play good, loud and deliver their music great. But it wasn’t catchy for me at all. I was excited when I listened to Pestilence, but I got no emotions here (maybe I wasted them all during Nokturnal Mortum set). I listened to three songs and went home, so I don’t know if they were played something from the old material, the “real” Entombed. And that’s how I finished the festival.
Day 3 bands: Sargeist, Nokturnal Mortum
And for the end: organisation pros and cons. The biggest lack was the heat in the place where the bands were played (I already mentioned that). But the next day the festival’s crew noticed that and turned AC on. I can’t say it was perfect but definitely better than it was. And another one lack: there wasn’t some sensible announcement. There was a board with the bands’ schedule but if there was one speaker in the lounge zone than visitors would hear what happens in the stage hall. It could be better that way because that’s the reason why many people missed the beginning of Horna‘s set because they started surprisingly before their time. And that’s all about lacks, I guess. Now let’s talk about pros: the organisation was good, security was almost invisible (that’s also a sign of good organisation), alcohol-free drinks could be brought to the festival. There wasn’t a large amount of food courts and bars, but it was enough for the visitors; the only big line was for the craft beer.
The culture part of the festival was also great and quite unexpected on such extreme fest, but it was interesting and relevant, no doubts! And the bands, of course: there was a great line-up and the next year organizers promise to make it better! So, see you next year at Metal East: Nove Kolo!
Thanks to all who gave me an opportunity to visit this fest.
You can buy tickets to the Nove Kolo: Metal East 2020! Buy tickets now
(с) text, pics and video by Lord Sinned
(i) translated by Droll