On Friday, April 8th, 2022, FORNDOM – with supporting musicians THE DEVIL’S TRADE and LILI REFRAIN – hit Klub Zaścianek in Krakow as part of their European tour. The show was organized by local booking agency Iron Realm Productions and was set to start at 20:00.
LILI REFRAIN was the first to kick off the show. This Italian multi-instrumentalist has been in the scene since 2007, using electric guitar, vocals, percussions, synth, and loops in real-time, without using any computer or pre-recorded tracks. She replaced DARKHER for the final part of the tour. The performance started with her walking through the audience with a small bell. As she climbed the stage, the magic started. She looped the bell sound and layer-by-layer added more sounds into the mix and when the voice came in, that was the climax. Lili expanded the boundaries of genres and it was hard to describe her musical style – ambient, dark, mystical, powerful with a wide vocal range from operetta to primal sounds. The new track, “Mama Wati,” was performed with intense drumming, an electric guitar, and raw vocals. In the closing track, Lili once again went down to the audience and was singing to the people individually – a truly mesmerizing moment. LILI REFRAIN was an experience with a rich specter of emotions and vibes. Her presence was so powerful that it felt like it was a full band on stage.
THE DEVIL’S TRADE is Dávid Makó’s one-man project. Hailing from Hungary, he was the proof that a guitar and a powerful voice are enough to create great music. He performed some interesting tracks gathered from Transilvanian-Hungarian ballads and one bard song in the Hungarian language, as well as touching tracks “Dead Sister” and “Dreams from the Rot.” His appearance was reminiscent of Tom Hardy’s Bronson and his voice resembled Corey Taylor’s in STONE SOUR. Some tracks were performed with a banjo. THE DEVIL’S TRADE is melancholic and authentic and should be checked out by acoustic lovers and thoughtful music enjoyers.
The headliner, FORNDOM, was up next. It’s a Nordic dark folk project created by a Swedish multi-instrumentalist Ludvig Swärd. On the stage, a pagan altar could be seen. When FORNDOM appeared, he stopped at the altar for a short ritual, then he sat on a small chair and the opening track began. He was wearing a black cloak covering most of his face, as well as traditional Norse attire. His voice belted over the crowd with an impressive intensity. It was deep, strong, and melancholic, with a layer of sadness. The next track was “Yggdrasil” from the album “Faþir,” which was one of the most popular. At first glance, it gave a WARDRUNA feel, but it has its own rhythm and distinct style, although the narrative resembles. During the 50-minute-long set, tracks from “Dauðra Dura” and “Faþir” were presented and a blood ritual was performed at the altar. Some tracks like “Jag vet ett tempel stå” were performed with a traditional Viking-age instrument, talharpa. The highlight was the new single, “Och med vinden ack de gunga,” with a freshly released cinematic video. For the last tracks, the cloak came off and Ludvig appeared with loose blonde hair and blood splattered all over his face. The encore song was an old Swedish ballad, “O tysta ensamhet / Visa från utanmyra,” which was described as, “such love that makes you want to kill yourself.”
Overall, the show was staggering. All the musicians were at the top of their game, unique in their sound but united in a dark, melancholic mood. The venue was small, which was a plus and let the audience connect with the musicians better. It was the first show by Iron Realm Productions I had personally attended and it was very well prepared.