The fifth anniversary annual Winter Mass Festival, which gathered in the cramped MonteRay Live Stage club an impressive number of fans of the Ukrainian underground, took place on January 27 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
In itself, the word "jubilee" already prompted that organizers would certainly take care to make this year’s festival a special event. Therefore, as it became known later, Winter Mass V did not stop only with a tasty lineup of masters in stoner, psychedelic, doom and post-rock genres.
The event’s poster frankly pleased me with the names of the participants of the previous 4 festivals: H.Soror opened the event with its eccentric set with an admixture of saxophone mysticism, then a multifaceted, sometimes lyrical Krobak enhanced the effect of the overall atmosphere, and after that the furious Kasu Weri began to whip it all. Then the jubilee Winter Mass prepared for the hungry guests three special episodes.
The warmly accepted set of the Kharkiv-based 5R6 became the last for the band under this name. Soon the group will change their name and go to the studio to record a new record, which will remind of the former quartet's work only with the "Owls" track from Robustfellow's "Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. III".
According to its leader Igor Zubko, while working on a new album, which began after the release of 2015’s LP "Islands", the musicians have gone so far from the 5R6 sound that they considered it would be "dishonest" to keep the band’s name.
"While we were writing this material, we did not think at all that it would be for a band with a different name. While we were tracking it, we realized that it was far away from where we started in 2010, releasing "Knots & Spirals" EP", Igor Zubko explained [translated from Russian by Noizr].
Zubko intends to put 5R6’s songs into cold storage and confidently continue his journey.
"The mood is rather optimistic, because we do not finish the activity, but we change the name and will no longer play the songs recorded for 5R6. First of all, we are planning to record a new album, I hope we will start already in early March. A few singles, separate from the album, and then we'll see," the musician added.
In order not to be limited to intriguing plans, 5R6 performed a new track at Winter Mass V but its title they preferred to keep secret. Nevertheless, the song’s very vivid alternative sound is really encouraging.
Unlike their colleagues, the Lviv-based act Somali Yacht Club took advantage of the fifth Mass to present their second studio record "The Sea". The trio, whose beards, in my opinion, become much longer with every new release, plunged the crowded hall into a real trance. The renewed tracklist was pounding the spectators with waves which continue to subside and rise during all the set.
Somali Yacht Club
In the breaks between the songs, the musicians joked and teased each other. The fact that the audience has missed so much for such a lively and pleasant to listen to and to look at performances of Somali Yacht Club was clear not only because of the cheerful mood of the crowd but also the continuing cries, "Encore!", at the end of the final track "Up In The Sky".
The evening was closed by the long-awaited set of Ethereal Riffian, which was the first performance of virtuosos shamanic doom metal since November 2016. The reason for the concert hiatus of the quartet was problems with a booking.
"We’ve been working on "Afterlight" DVD and prepared new tracks. After the third European tour, I didn’t want to do bookings anymore, and until we find the booker, I no longer want to do it," Ethereal Riffian’s Val Kornev said [translated from Russian by Noizr].
The almost hour-long setlist of the band consisted not only of old songs such as "Voice of Reason", "Beyond", or tracks from EP "I AM.Deathless", but also of a new branded punchy song "Kosmic Child". The new mysterious opus, like the whole work of the group, offered the listeners to look at themselves in a broader perspective.
"We are much more than our body and mind, if only everyone could experience it by themselves (and it’s possible), the world would be completely different," the musician stressed.
While the tour schedule of Ethereal Riffian remains questionable, the band is working hard on a new record, which, Kornev noted, is planned to be in the spirit of "Kosmic Child" — hit, straightforward, and punchy.
Igor Sidorenko, Krobak
Thus, the organizers of Winter Mass V managed to collect a rather wide palette of subgenres and celebrate the anniversary with a set of entertaining performances during one evening.
"I wanted to observe some kind of balance of eclecticism, Kasu Weri is now playing some gloomy sludge, 5R6 are to play an alternative prog rock, Somali — a very atmospheric, almost post-rock psychedelic music, and Ethereal Riffian — a deep shamanic doom. So every band has a very recognizable individual style which seems to me has always distinguished our experimental underground scene," Stoned Jesus’ leader Igor Sidorenko comments [translated from Russian by Noizr].
It’s worth saying, the festival has pleased with the strict timing, with which the even started and continued. The acts came on stage one after another almost at exactly specified time.
Also, I would like to note the presence of a small paradise for fans of the genre, created by Robustfellow team in the lobby of the club. Representatives of the label provided a wide selection of merchandise, which varied from badges and cups to the latest CDs and vinyls of Winter Mass V bands. All this contributed to a pleasant atmosphere of the festival, not only at the stage, but also outside the concert hall.
And, of course, you can not ignore the attendance record, which once again speaks about the growing interest of the audience to the performing acts and the domestic underground scene in general. The concert hall accommodated more than 500 guests of the jubilee Winter Mass last Saturday. Apparently, Sidorenko was quite serious when he was talking on stage about the forced relocation of the next festival in a larger venue.
Text by Yuri Somov
Translated from Russian by Anastezia
Photos by Mila Immortality