For some reason, Lithuania is a very special and interesting country for me. I gladly return back there every time. This time I decided to visit winter festival called Vilkų Žiema, organized by Kilkim Žaibu team. If you want to read only the report from this concert, just go ahead and skip few next lines.
I arrived a few days before the festival and dedicated those extra days to cultural activities of various kinds. I arrived late evening and at the same time concert of an Austrian band Harakiri For The Sky had been happening in a local club called Narauti. I and my friend arrived when the headliner (Harakiri) was already playing. What I’ve seen in the club was really surprising! Although smaller club, it was completely crowded in front of the stage. I rather won´t rate the concert itself, as I didn’t get much of it, because my delirious odyssey began right here. It struck my mind, keeping it in sanity and charming bliss of Baltic land at the same time. Next nights we honored the memory of anti-soviet partisans – forest brothers and their eternal legend. Raindrops were following our steps into an abandoned building of KGB and majestic castle of Lithuanian rulers – Trakai.
And then it was Saturday, the day when winter of wolves was coming – alone or in packs they were gathering in one place – club Kablys. But there is no winter, Perkunas is just sending raindrops during his sacred day and soon thunder hammers ’d roar in the club. My humble guess is that the place could welcome around 1000 people. The building has high roof and oval pillars inside, having historical feeling and impressive look. I´m not that far from truth, as it was built during soviet era in the year 1958 and functioned as a cultural building. Inside the club were several spots where you could grab a beer and a lot of merchandise tables ( both bands and festival ones). Line-up of the festival was really unique and I would say that, every band was interesting in some way.
The stage is being covered in fog and small candles are flickering – signal that ritual is about to begin. First „band“ of the evening is starting – Velių Namai, who could surprise people not involved in non metal music genre. I knew exactly what to expect from this project, as I’ve heard their last CD Kurír many times at home. Rhythmic slams of electronic beats and shamanic drum with ambient background created an fascinating atmosphere, dominated by simple projection of runes and it all fits perfectly together. With this type of music you just let yourself fall into trance or rhythm, which overrule the time – it will cease to exist like during the primordial times. I think that point of this musical project is to charm listener by mysticism and it worked very fucking well!
Time for a beer between the bands was rather short and after a short break, Belgian band Wolvennest is on the stage. As I’ve already written, Ván records releases this band and as general knowledge goes, this label rarely delivers any sort of lackluster output. And I was right about this psychedelic rock guys! They brought extremely massive sound, that ruled over the whole evening. It sounded really impressive – 4 pieces of string instruments: 3 guitars and one bass, accompanied by a simple rhythm of drums with kick drum stabbing atmosphere deeper into your soul. Projection behind the musicians took listeners onto a journey over the peaks of majestic mountain ranges. As a second track they played song „Ritual Lover“ – my favourite one with a catchy, repetitive melody, which could easily crawl under your skin. Damn, this was even better then on CD! Singer did a fakin’ great job and I must give some positive points to guitarists taste in hats. This show deserves 11 out of 10.
As I wrote at beginning, each band in this line-up is kinda different and evening full of genre variation went on. It was time for one of my favourite Baltic bands – Loits. These pioneers of Estonian black metal scene have always had their own specific sound and style and this sentence is the best characterization of their approach to music. The band exists since the 90’s and the last album „Must“ was released long 13 years ago. Question resonating during the last couple of years was, if the band is even still active and capable of some live shows. Therefore I was really pleased about the announcement of their participation at this show. And I wasn’t disappointed! Loits on the stage looked like pure professionals who’ve been playing together for a couple of years, but attentive listener could recognize some changes in the line up and missing keyboards that were played only from samples. One smaller issue with their performance was sound, specifically volume of the vocals, that were really low in the mix. Despite the sound, it was quite obvious, that this band is popular in this region, they must feel like at home here and one could also see some Estonian fans in the hall. In the first half of the set you could hear cult song „Haavad Uulitsal“ dedicated to deported Estonians during the soviet occupation. And for sure the top of the performance was legendary video song „Kodu“. It’s a pity that the sound of vocals was fucked up a bit, otherwise it would be and an ideal performance. I am very glad that I’ve seen them finally. Flak´n roll!!
Penultimate band was Swedish Manegarm, another band with long history dating back to second half of the 90’s. Månegarm is live and studio active band under a big label and honestly I don’t like it very much. Microphone decorated with algis rune was prepared on the stage and violinist came out to perform the Intro before the rest of the band started to play song „Hordes of Hel“. Very nice beginning I would say and I am tuning to the rhythms of these Scandinavian pagans, but after some time I found out that this genre doesn’t satisfy me like few years ago. I don’t claim that it’s fault of the band, their music is not bad at all, maybe I’ve just moved somewhere else or I didn’t have mood for such kind of music that time. Even great and epic song „Blodorn“ didn’t work for me. I am sorry but I didn’t enjoy Manegarm this evening, like I would do as an eager teenager. On the other hand, there stood full hall of people enjoying Manegarms music, so probably it was just me.
I can’t say who was the headliner of this evening – it seemed like quite an equal line up. But the next band was cherry on the top – Polish black metal strike Infernal War. How to imagine total anhilation and destruction in music? Just listen to some of their albums and you would know! This was great fucking ride through their whole discography (except an ep Infernal SS). „You may know this one!“ – „Spill the Dirty Blood of Jesus Christ!“ Cannonade of mister Stormblast would wake up even sleeping Jesus after Fridays hangover in Nazareth. Infernal War is permanent rush of energetic aggression and tempo escalated to the top with cult blast song „Crush The Impure Idolatry“. Ungh! That was fakin mess! Almost 50 minutes setlist seemed to be not long enough, but during the penultimate song „Spears of Negation“ I thought that I am gonna die – but even though I am getting older, I managed to survive at least one more dance.
Then it is beer time, one beer, another, third one. Fuck where the hell am I? One bar, another one. Vytenis, what´s the time? 16:00 – good morning my friend.
Last words? Absolutely great action with super organization and atmosphere. I would return anytime! Flights are cheaper then one night in pub, so don’t hesitate next year! At the end I would like to say thanks to great people and for speniding time with them: Vytenis, Gytis, Klaipeda crew (Elena, Simonas, Ričis) and Jovita
Written by: S.