GALLERY: 10.2.2023 Howls of Winter X – Pre-Show @ Rockclub Tapper, Tallinn


One more year has passed and it was again that time of the year when black metal fans from all over the place gather in the Estonian capital of Tallinn for a weekend of live music, beer, friendships old and new, just to have a good time in general. Now in its tenth edition, Howls of Winter has become a firm staple in the scene for avid fans of underground extreme music, and a welcome yearly tradition for many.

For the first night, i.e. the warm-up to the actual festival, Tapper hosted Finnish atmospheric black metallers KALMANKANTAJA, supported by Bavarian depressive black metal band WEDARD, and by VANHELGA, bringing their more-rock-oriented-but-still-depressive themes from Sweden. A “happy” evening, basically. But as happiness is totally overrated and not very black metal, the decently sized crowd had still the chance to have a good time and properly get ready for the main event on the following couple days.

VANHELGA held well their own as the ice-breaker of the night and worked well with their more “groovy” sound, as WEDARD was instead more traditional in their sound and look (and stage presence). KALMANKANTAJA mixed things up a bit with that typical “Finnishness,” as the evening quietly faded away in the gloomy atmospheres created by these blood-covered musicians, who had just last year released their latest effort, “Waiennut.”

As lack of sleep is a bad thing, it was good to be able to be out early, while many people have been heading – as they already did for at least one night or two – to the official afterparty courtesy of the local Black Magic Estonia.