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Dark CrystalsArt Club Tyoply Lampovy, Kiev, Ukraine
25th December 2021
Gothica Party 15: X-MAS Edition 2021 with Wave.X, Dark Crystals, Interiia, Violet Raymoor, Kadril and Icy Men

When a pandemic is all over the world. When border crossing is not as easy as it seems. When the arrival of foreign bands is not such a frequent event. When you want concerts and partying... It’s time to get acquainted with local bands at local events. And there are worthy young musicians with good potential among those. Miracles do happen, even though these miracles are created by musicians.

The Art Club Tyoply Lampovy is located relatively close to the city canter within walking distance from the metro in a building that now includes various kinds of public places and organizations. The place itself is not something unique or significant in terms of history. What was earlier on the site of the club is not known. Now it is a small cosy club for events of Rock, Punk and Gothic music with its own audience and already with its own history. Basically, the club hosts concerts and mini-festivals of local Ukrainian bands, but foreign performers also occasionally perform. In particular, there were concerts of Italians SPIRITUAL FRONT, Swedish Industrial music legends BRIGHTER DEATH NOW and Germans NACHTMAHR. Gothica Magazine’s 2021 Christmas Mini Festival did not include foreign performers, however, there were enough interesting bands in the line-up. Considering the first three bands announced, a lot of Metal lovers were expected, which is what happened.

Wave.X (Ukraine)

A young group from Kiev - WAVE.X was formed not so long ago, but already has three singles released and an official video. WAVE.X plays Gothic Metal with electronic inserts. In general, their music in the studio version reminds the work of the Swiss NOVEMBER-7 and the German project LAHANNYA. At first, a drummer, guitarist and bassist appeared on the stage, to whom the vocalist joined later. The music played is a high-quality, rather rhythmic and lively Gothic Metal with light electronic intros and beautiful female vocals. Melodic compositions radiated drive and made me want to move to the rhythm. The program also included slow compositions that fit perfectly into the overall atmosphere. It turned out to be a very cool performance by a promising band that is just beginning its journey into the world of music. I hope this path will be long and rich in albums. WAVE.X became a very pleasant finding for me and one more band that I will follow.

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Dark Crystals (Ukraine)

Kyiv-based band DARK CRYSTALS began to be active on the Internet in mid-2020, although the exact date of formation has not been specified. The project has many performances in various clubs in Kyiv at events of the Rock and Metal scene. The musicians did not release yet any studio recordings. Stylistically, DARK CRYSTALS play Symphonic Metal with vocals as a main part of the act. A spectacular outrageous look and atmospheric keyboard opuses add theatricality to the performance and the structure of the compositions implies not songs, but stories about which the musicians told on stage. The performance was very good, professional and incendiary, but it should be said that the musical component in a studio version is unlikely to sound as impressive without visual show. And yet this performance is probably was the closest to the Christmas atmosphere from all six bands of the evening.

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Interiia (Ukraine)

The most popular of the first three performing artists was the Metal band INTERIIA. It was clear that most of the visitors came to the whole evening because of this band. The project has been around for over three years, but studio recordings are counting only few demo tracks on the project’s official Soundcloud page. INTERIIA combines Symphonic Metal and Doom Metal with clean male vocals, growling / screaming and operatic female vocals. The music started and the vocalist ran out onto the stage with a lot of energy so it became clear who would energize the audience. His charisma and drive were enough for everyone, because it was difficult for so many musicians to fit on such a small stage and for some of them there was simply no place movement. But the vocalists kindled and communicated with the audience, which reacted and answered immediately. A good quality performance ended with a new song. And yet the most spectacular member of the group I would call the female drummer, who sat at the drum kit above the stage.

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Violet Raymoor (Ukraine)

Another Kyiv-based project VIOLET RAYMOOR I have already seen at one of the parties in Tyoply Lampovy. The project was formed in 2012 and currently has two EPs and a compilation of singles released. The musical component of the band is an explosive mixture of Gothic Rock, Synth Rock and Gothic Metal. VIOLET RAYMOOR play songs in English and Ukrainian with male vocals. On stage there is a showy vocalist with typical good gothic vocals, guitarist, keyboardist and drummer. Rhythmic compositions not only powered with energy, but also were full of gothic romanticism and piano melodiousness. The keyboards were set in front of the guitar in the music hierarchy of VIOLET RAYMOOR and were the lead instrument along with vocals, which created a certain charm and atmosphere of the performance, which could not be mixed up with anyone else. The compositions sounded hitty and powerful, the musicians didn’t do some kind of visual high-end performance, they played in such a way that it wasn’t necessary for making a real show. It’s pity that after the Metal part the audience already scattered, because they missed the best performance of the evening.

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Kadril (Ukraine)

The SMERTELNAYA KADRIL (Dying Quadrille in Russian) project was formed in the mid-2010s and released the first EP in 2016 on the Russian label Sierpien Records. The second EP was already self-released a year later. After that, the Kyiv-based act went into the shadows and returned in 2019 and 2020 with singles, however, having already shortened their name to KARDIL. The band plays a guitars saturated Post Punk with male vocals, which are more of a declamation kind, and Russian-language lyrics. A vocalist in a bright red robe appeared on stage and the Post Punk era at Gothic Christmas 2021 had begun. The music was not completely dry on the record and in the club, it became more like Dark Punk than classic Post Punk with rare Deathrock influences. The vocalist tried in every possible way to warm up and attract the already fairly reduced number of visitors, but he did not really succeed. To be honest I expected a brighter performance from the project, but it turned out to be quite standard, which by the middle of the show became boring. In the recording the KADRIL music sounds better.

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Icy Men (Ukraine)

The last performance of the evening was another postpunk act from the Kyiv – the project ICY MEN. The duo was formed in the second half of the 2010s and the first album was out to the young promising German label Cold Transmission, which now has more than a hundred releases of guitar and electronic gothic music. The second album of Ukrainians was released in 2020 on the same label. Both ICY MEN albums are made in a classic Post Punk genre with a drum machine, monotonous bass guitar, inherent Post Punk guitar parts and detached cold male vocals. The duo’s second album has already been diluted with Coldwave elements. Two participants appeared on the stage, a drum machine turned on and a cool high-quality postpunk with Russian lyrics has started. Due to the language of performance of ICY MEN can be compared to the legendary Russian Post Punk band KINO, however, the music of the Ukrainian project is a product of modern technologies using the concept of the 80s, so the sound is different, although the general atmosphere is similar. The ICY MEN concert unfortunately began with a delay, so there were very few listeners, but even in spite of this and some problems with the sound the performance turned out to be excellent and worthy of being alongside with modern European Post Punk giants.

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The gothic Christmas ended with Post Industrial dance DJ sets, but there were very few people in the club, so the DJs were essentially playing for themselves. The performances showed that the gothic scene and especially its Post Punk part, not to mention Metal, in Ukraine is not only alive, but also kicking and developing. By the middle of the night rare visitors still tried to move on the dancefloor, but things were moving towards the end of the evening… One more cosy and warm evening in the Gothic and Metal community of Ukraine.

All Pictures by Count_Death
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