08.-10.02.2024 - Howls Of Winter 2024, Rockclub Tapper Tallinn + Darvaza + Prosternatur + Hollow Woods +++

08.-10.02.2024 - Howls Of Winter 2024, Rockclub Tapper Tallinn + Darvaza + Prosternatur + Hollow Woods +++

This years Howls Of Winter had everything that makes this festival a must have in the baltics and a definitive recommendation for foreigners. Great bands - Underground and emerging stars alike - combined with the atmosphere of a family gathering, Howls has it all and so much more! Dive into our review and don't forget to check our Undergroundedtube for videos and Facebook for picture galleries!

  • von Phil
  • 20.02.2024

The warm-up-show on Thursday started very unconventionally (which is kind of traditional for HoW) with Hail Conjurer & Absolute Key. The Finns literally manufactured noise, which really didn't fit everyone's musical understanding. In addition to the electrical components, which are essential for this musical style, a lot of handmade effects and interesting instrumentalizations were used. Despite everything, it was not really convenient for all type of ears but nevertheless interesting!

The compatriots from Hollow Woods attracted significantly more visitors and were able to deliver a fantastic show with several songs from their two albums "Cold Winds Cleave the Earth" and "Like Twisted Bones of Fallen Giants", which surely was the highlight of the evening for many. The stunning riffs and the versatile vocals are particularly memorable and for sure encouraged some people to visit the merch stand after the Set.

A real exotic band then arrived at Howls of Winter with Ilat Mahru, because the Egyptian black metal band was live on stage here for the first time ever. With their demo of the same name, which was released last year via Death Prayer Records, Ilat Mahru were able to make their first musical statement. The Egyptians were also fantastic live on stage and also had new material from the EP coming in March, which will be called “Incipit Akkadian”.

At the end of the warm-up show, Hadopelagyal took the stage and packed some more fire in the engine. Billowing fog and candlelight, along with the German duo's energetic Blackened Death Metal created a great atmosphere that was enjoyed from the everyone with great enthusiasm, except perhaps by the filmmakers and photographers who suffered from the near pitch-black atmosphere. A more than satisfactory start to this year's Howls of Winter and a great first day of the festival - which could only be celebrated and further expanded with an exuberant and also traditional afterparty in the nearby Black Magic Estonia.

The Friday opener Grom already is in the service of the black arts for quite a while. The Estonians have been on their unholy mission since 1997, but only have very few releases in their repertoire. Unfortunately, the fact that the band isn't really thriving is also noticeable in their performance, which seems to be difficult to get the audience off their feet. Maybe a little nervousness or a lack of routine plays a role too, but the Combo tried their best to present their Songs as well as possible. The vocals from frontman Vaal Nehrist are definitely on the positive site, as they bring some energy and mood into the songs and ultimately ensure to receive more kudos from the listeners.

We then experienced an increase with Voidescent from Spain, who packed their fiery temperament into a fast-paced set and, starting with “Crosstunnel Descent”, the band were also able to elicit more energy from the audience with their songs. Just like their debut album, the show ended with “Arcane Enlightenment - The Bone Offering” and Voidescent received the well-deserved applause and most likely get some new fans.

With Arjen, another Bosnian project found its way into the billing of Howls of Winter. And the evening seemed to improve significantly from band to band, because the live line-up around frontman and mastermind H.P., who regular HOW visitors will also know from live performances with Sulfuric Night, Obskuritatem and Void Prayer, delivered more than well. And with each band they always manage to create a truly gripping atmosphere that literally hypnotizes the audience.

Voëmmr was a real surprise for us afterwards, because we honestly didn't know what to think about the portuguese band when we listened to some songs online before the event. However, the live show was anything but difficult to digest and really had enormous potential. They were able to transfer the mood of their music to the stage so well that after a short time you began to wonder whether you were actually listening to the right band online. In any case, the fact was that we were able to watch an impressive live performance and we were not alone with this opinion.

Mortuus then took things a little more slowly. The Swedes boast rather spherical, disharmonious and consistently dark sounds that seem to try to push life out of the room. In addition to the title track “Diablerie” and “In Graves Remote Even the Worthless Have a Meaning” from their last album, “Nyctophilia” from their split release with Serpent Noir was also on the menu.

Now it was time for the headliner of the day, which was supposed to be a banger again with Beyond Man. The Norwegians, who similar to Darvaza also have an impressively good frontman with Wraath on vocals, had two more surprises in their set list in addition to songs from their debut album. “Thorns & Sulfur” right at the beginning and before the final “The World Encircler” they played the VON cover “Devil Pig”. A powerful, heavy loaded show and rightly the main act of this evening.

Saturday got off to a rather slow start, which may have been due to another visit to the afterparty at Black Magic Estonia (and the consumption of too many ethanol specialties). But punctuality was an advantage on this day, especially because the young Estonians from Soerd opening with their first live appearance was supposed to be a highlight right at the beginning of todays schedule. The demo of the band “Mil Laaned Vaikivad”, which we had already dissected on Undergrounded.de, promised great things and the expectations were to be completely fulfilled. What the four delivered was quoted as “Something Tharaphita, some Loits and some Sorts” and dismissed as “nothing special” in a conversation with a well known scene member not to be named here. We are right about the first, but we want to disagree about the second - because if there was to be an Estonian black metal soul, it was exactly this mix of BM, Pagan, folk and rock, garnished with skilfully incorporated synth/piano parts and rather unusual vocals. Parts from growls, shrieks and chants. If you thought you were hearing samples, you missed the young lady on the keyboard that wasn't on stage, but was set up right next to the mixing console and played everything live. Absolutely fantastic start, which lifted Soerd directly to the top places of the HoW 2024.

With Astral Silence, companions of the Howls of Winter are once again on the menu. The Swiss musicians will probably be familiar to previous festival visitors from bands like Borgne or Serpent Luminis and this time they have an atmospheric firework in their luggage that caused ecstatic and mindblowing sound worlds even without a drummer. With a song selection from their three long-players “Astral Journey”, “Open Cold Dark Matter” and “Sagittarius A*”, there was a lot to listen to. Only the two-piece combo with their guitars on stage unleashed a magical experience and left a visibly amazed crowd.

Afterwards we had to take a quick breather before Nubivagant from Italy, the next guarantee of a hypnotic atmosphere, made their way onto the stage. The solo project of Omega, who can also be seen as the mastermind behind today's headliner Darvaza, impressed with a solid show dedicated to the two albums “Roaring Eye” and “The Wheel And The Universe”. What particularly stands out here is the clear vocals, which are placed pretty well over the sawing guitar riffs and the pounding drums.

Even though ArsGoatia have only been around since 2021 and their debut “Hiding Amongst Humans” is released one year ago, you don’t need a second look to place the protagonists in the Funkenflug-circle. Stage "hog" Barth (Our Survival Depends On Us) shared the vocals with Thom (Our Survical Depends On Us, Daeth Daemon) and what the listener got was dirty, raucous black'n'roll mixed with occult flair and a message that was purely maximum propagated freedom. Each song was given its own call or announcement by Barth and the audience didn't have to be asked twice to go completely ecstatic. Before we try to explain it more, we will provide you with the live video material HERE so that you can get an idea of the Austrians' show for yourself.

And there was also another premiere. Prosternatur made their live debut at this year's Howls of Winter; and that was really something special! Intense, magical and incomparable are words that could describe the concert experience we attended here. The international musicians thrilled the audience just like ArsGoatia before them and performed songs from their two releases "Abyssus Abyssum Invocat" and "Mortuus et Sepultus". Just insanely Great! There is hardly any other way to describe it.

Darvaza then delivered the crowning finale with a great show that left little to be desired. Starting with “Mother of Harlots” and “Towards the Darkest Mystery”, the Italian/Norwegian compilation fired one blast after the other at the partying crowd, who were trying their best to not clearly showing the strains of the last few days. “The Barren Earth”, “This Hungry Triumphant Darkness”, through “A Hanging Sword”, “The Second Woe” and “Gospel Of Hate” to the crowning conclusion “The Silver Chalice”. An amazing set and a successful end to this year's Howls of Winter. The last day really brought out the real greatness of Howls of Winter and exploited the band's full potential.

Pictures by Arttv and Duncan


To the Bone!!!