Graveland + Nokturnal Mortum @ Kolovorot Nove Kolo, Kiev

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Kolovorot Nove Kolo: Graveland + Nokturnal Mortum + Burshtyn

@ MonteRay Live Stage, Kiev

24th June 2017

Review & photos by Oliver M.

Almost seven years after the 12th edition of Kolovorot Fest, it was time for this legendary festival to make its return in 2017. That was really great news for the Ukrainian metal scene and something nobody was expecting. For the ones who may not be familiar with that scene, Kolovorot Fest was a Pagan black metal festival which took place in Ukraine every year since 1998 and gathered the most well-known Eastern European bands of the genre.

It has achieved cult status through the years and still remains one of the oldest Pagan metal festivals in the world. In 2011, Kolovorot Fest disappeared but has recently been resurrected under a new name: Kolovorot Nove Kolo. We at Metal Rules had the great opportunity to cover the first edition of this new, promising festival. It took place at MonteRay Live Stage in Kiev on Saturday 24th of June to celebrate summer solstice and welcomed three bands only.

Cult Polish horde Graveland performed as headliners for the first time ever in this country. Ukrainian legends Nokturnal Mortum offered a very special set to promote their new long-awaited masterpiece “Verity”. Formed by two ex-Dub Buk members in 2015, Burshtyn opened the ceremony as supporting act. I would have loved to see more local bands but it was still a fantastic line-up.

The MonteRay Live Stage club is a very nice, comfortable place and its venue provides an excellent sound in general. I also liked the fact they used their red stage curtains throughout this event. Oriana Music and Musical Hall (Nokturnal Mortum’s label and distro) had an impressive merchandise stand there, with many great items as usual.

Unfortunately, the festival wasn’t sold out and there were a bit less than 300 people in the venue, which was surprising. Indeed, I was expecting to see much more attendants as Graveland is not the kind of band you see live frequently. Moreover, they shared the stage with Nokturnal Mortum which have a strong fan base in their homeland obviously. This exclusive concert has also been organized to celebrate the long-time brotherhood between both hordes and their recent Split CD “The Spirit Never Dies” released last year by Heritage Recordings.

Burshtyn (4/5)

Hailing from Kharkiv, Burshtyn opened the festival with an excellent live performance. It was their first ever show and I’m sure it won’t be the last one given their set’s high quality.

Right after the demise of Dub Buk in 2015, founding members I.Z.V.E.R.G. and Vsesvit moved on to form that new band and released their debut album “Прах відчайдухів” last year through their own label Dub Buk Katafrakt.

The musicians offered five raw black metal songs which conquered the audience thanks to some catchy choruses and inspired riffs. The singer was charismatic on stage and delivered some good hateful vocals.

Despite the absence of keyboards, the compositions are pretty melodic in general, which is something I really appreciate.

They also have a solid experience on stage and enlisted talented drummer Odalv (Elderblood, KZOHH, Twilightfall, Ulvegr, ex-Runes of Dianceht) as live member.

I’ve been a big fan of Dub Buk since I discovered their two masterpieces “Іду на ви!” and “Русь понад усе!” back in 2006. However, Burshtyn’s art is completely different.

No Folk/Symphonic black metal here. It would have been awesome if they had performed “Слава Україні!” (Dub Buk’s classic track) as a tribute to their roots but I’m well aware they didn’t have enough time for that.

Anyway, there was absolutely no reason to be disappointed. It’s nice to see that I.Z.V.E.R.G. and Vsesvit are still active and making good music.

In the end, they played “Коловорот”, a brilliant song dedicated to Dmytro Blyzno (owner of the festival and Musical Hall) and in which the bandura parts bring a charming Ukrainian folk touch. I really hope to see them again soon. Very promising.

1. Непотрібно Xриста
2. Спогади чорношличника
3. Чортомлик
4. Козак
5. Коловорот

Nokturnal Mortum (4.5/5)

Six months after a successful headlining show at Asgardsrei V festival, Nokturnal Mortum came back to Kiev to promote exclusively their new, critically-acclaimed masterpiece “Verity”.

It was kind of an album launch gig for them and that could be clearly seen on the setlist. They played mostly tracks from “Verity” of course, but also “In Shackles of Time” (from “The Spirit Never Dies” Split CD with Graveland) and the unstoppable “Ukraine”.

I think a few people have been a bit disappointed by this set since there were no old classics but I fully understand the band’s choice on this matter.

We’ve been waiting for almost eight years to hear this new jewel and therefore, it was time for the Ukrainian black metal masters to honour “Verity” in the best way possible.

Despite a few minor technical problems, they succeeded in offering an amazing show as I expected. As soon as Knjaz Varggoth and his comrades came gently on stage during the captivating intro “Зустріну тебе в імлі старій”, the crowd became instantly much more enthusiastic!

Actually, things didn’t start well for the band as we couldn’t hear Jurgis’ vocals at all in the beginning. So, he had to use Varggoth’s microphone instead during the first song “Molfa” but this issue has been quickly solved after that.

I really enjoyed the fact we could see some beautiful images of nature (such as wheat fields and other enchanting sceneries) while Nokturnal Mortum were performing.

That continual video fit perfectly with their music and ideology. They received very warm applause from their numerous fans who were chanting frequently: “Nokturnal! Nokturnal!”

Such positive reception was fully deserved. I was blown away by their great musicianship once again. The only slight negative point I’ve noticed was the edit version of “Ukraine”.

For example, Jurgis didn’t play the impressive guitar solo in its entirety, which was a pity. This wonderful hymn to their fatherland didn’t deserve that cut although I remember very well they did the same at Ragnard Rock Fest last year anyway.

To close their show in apotheosis, Nokturnal Mortum delivered the catchy “Night of the Gods” (instead of “Kolyada”) and Varggoth dedicated that new song to his wife Tatiana.

In my opinion, it was a good choice but I would have loved to hear “Song of the Snowstorm” as well (the most accomplished composition from “Verity”).

They definitely should have played that one instead of “In Shackles of Time” for instance. Since the departure of Saturious in 2014, the pre-recorded synths and folk instruments sound too synthetic and I sincerely believe NM need a full-time keyboardist to make their concerts more epic. Let’s hope we’ll get one next time!

1. Зустріну тебе в імлі старій / I’ll Meet You in Ancient Darkness (intro)
2. Мольфа / Molfa
3. В кайданах часу / In Shackles of Time
4. З чортом за пазухою / With Chort in My Bosom
5. Вовчі ягоди / Wolfish Berries
6. Смерековий дід / Spruce Elder
7. Дика вира / Wild Weregild
8. Чорний мед / Black Honey
9. Україна / Ukraine
10. Ніч богів / Night of the Gods

Graveland (5/5)

Just one month after a long triumphant tour in Latin America, Graveland conquered Kiev with an incredible performance.

The first time I saw them live was at Ragnard Rock Fest in France last year and they were the band that impressed me the most throughout this festival by far.

I have to say I’ve got the same feeling regarding Kolovorot Fest. Wearing medieval costumes, Rob Darken and his horde of pagan warriors performed flawlessly their latest masterpiece “1050 Years of Pagan Cult” in its entirety and “River of Tears” (from the “Fire Chariot of Destruction” album).

It was really a deluge of Epic black metal hymns. Actually, “1050 Years of Pagan Cult” is a compilation of re-recorded versions of Graveland’s old classics and these are much better than the originals.

The production is indeed brilliant, the new band members have good technical skills and Rob had the excellent idea to add some enchanting layers of synths to make the compositions more atmospheric and melodic.

What more do you want? Rob Darken is undoubtedly the most charismatic black metal vocalist I’ve ever seen live. I love the way he moves on stage and enters a state of trance when the keyboards are becoming more majestic.

His gestures are really in perfect symbiosis with the sumptuous orchestrations. He also enjoyed singing in front of his fans closely and even grabbed my head mainly because I was wearing a Graveland cap!

It was such a delight to hear many songs from cult assaults like “In The Glare Of Burning Churches”, “Carpathian Wolves”, “Thousand Swords”, “The Celtic Winter” and “Following The Voice Of Blood”.

Nevertheless, we didn’t have the chance to see Aro (from Perunwit and Lord Wind) using his kettledrum as it would have brought a more medieval atmosphere to the show.

Anyway, the kings of Polish black metal received warm acclaim from the crowd, although not as much as for Nokturnal Mortum obviously.

I’m so glad they have recently started doing gigs since a lot of people have been waiting for more than 20 years for that.

“Immortal Pride” being my favourite Graveland album, I hope they will perform the monumental “Sons of Fire and Steel / Outro (Servants of War)” someday as it would be a great challenge for them. That was really an unforgettable pagan ceremony.
Dziękuję bardzo!

1. Intro – Carpathian Wolves
2. At the Pagan Samhain Night
3. Born for War
4. Intro – Gates
5. The Gates of Kingdom of Darkness
6. Hordes of Empire
7. Thurisaz
8. Intro – Night of Fullmoon
9. The Night of Fullmoon
10. For Pagan and Heretic’s Blood
11. Intro – Thousand
12. Thousand Swords
13. Black Metal War!
14. River of Tears
15. Outro

Kolovorot Nove Kolo was one of the best musical events I’ve ever attended. I also appreciated a lot the Slavonic brotherhood between all bands and the great job done by the organizers. I would like to express my gratitude to Konstantin and Dmytro for bringing this festival back to life.

I was pleasantly surprised to notice there were no moshers at all in the pit and fans behaved in a very civilized way. Great people. Huge thanks to Ukraine for welcoming Graveland with open arms and being one of the best places for black metal shows! We’re already very looking forward to attending the next edition of Kolovorot.
Slava Ukraini!