On the second visit of Ypres, which happened somewhere around April this year, I went to the merch table, and, knowing these guys have always had for atmospheric music, I asked for something more ambient-leaning.
I was recommended a tape by Шишкин лес and was told members of Reka & …and brought them atop the mount played in the band so I was immediately sold. Hours later, back home I played the tape and was blown away. I was even more blown away when DIY Conspiracy comrades let me know Шишкин лес will be coming to Sofia later this year.
And so we are back in present time.
It’s a cold Monday evening after a weekend spent running around and doing gigs. For a change, tonight I’m attending one. Шишкин лес are indeed in Sofia alongside Miroed.
I arrive at Фабрика Автономия and straight up walk into the band starting their gig. Smoke is creeping through the room, around 30-40 people are inside, which for a Monday night is pretty epic and Шишкин лес slowly start their ritual.
Their music is a slowly-unfolding mixture of atmospheric doom music, played on two bass guitars, synths, drums and with three people doing three different blends of vocals. As far as I can hear, Шишкин лес present the material from that very tape I got. Layers of droning bass guitars clash with thick synth soundscapes with the slow but monolithic drumming acting like the anchor keeping it all in place.
The massive wall of low frequencies is pierced by beautiful and hazy male and female vocals, or is being shattered by tectonic growls. Шишкин лес are not just performing their music, they are opening a portal to their own realms of loud doomgaze sound, soaked in thick smoke and flickering with the light of their ritual candles.
A quick and almost non-existent changeover and Miroed are ready to hit the stage. The band is actually the same people with a different singer and a slightly different setup (one bass, one guitar and a harsh noise suited electronic gear instead of the Analog Keys heavily used in the Шишкин лес set).
Tonight, one of the Miroed singers is sadly ill and has to skip the show, so only one guy has to provide the menacing and intense grindcore show Miroed are known for throwing. And he delivers, actually so do the whole band.
Like freshly woken from the dreamy doom descend during the Шишкин лес the musicians are ready to give it all.
The crowd is even more excited and everybody is dancing, finger-pointing, moshing and having fun.
Once the show is over everybody hits the merch stall where we’re up for new discoveries from this very dedicated circle of the Russian scene that have seemingly become so fond of what we’re doing here in Sofia.
Looking forward to the next bits of Russian underground that will be imported to good old Sofia.