Side Effects II – Day 2, 19/3/2023 – Automaton / Lotus Emperor / Gagulta / Bastard Sword / Widow Pit


Despite fatigue I couldn’t miss the second day of Sound Effects Festival. So, the next day (19/3) we arrived at Gagarin205 as Sound Effect Records had five more bands for us. This time the bands were more into the heavier spectrum and they were all local bands since the two non Greek bands (Glen, King Ishan) played the previous day. So, on sunday we saw Widow Pit, Bastard Sword, Gagulta, Lotus Emperor και Automaton.

The doors opened once more at 19:00 and when I got inside I noticed some familiar faces that were there on Saturday too which proves how the fans need underground festivals full of different sounds, festivals that put smiles on our face. What’s more I noticed that the member of Glen (from Berlin) and King Isxan (from Tel Aviv) were in the venue through out the festival watching all the bands that participated. But in general the second day had a weaker turnout.  On the merchandise corner you could find many good things, not only from the bands of the day but also general releases of Sound Effect Records.

“devil’s dance…”

Widow Pit had the unglamorous role of the opening act which means they had to play in front of only a handful of people. The Athenian band is into groovy heavy rock with some psych elements and to be honest I wasn’t familiar with them but this will change soon as they are ready to release an album with Sound Effect Records. Most of them are known from other bands, Petros Michopoulos (Selefice) was great on guitar, on vocals was Nikolas Kalogirou (Devil Flower Mantis) while behind the rhythm section were two figures we saw the previous day with Lokrus. So, we saw once more Thanos Tabakopoulos giving a great performance on drums and Alessandro Casta on bass (although he plays the guitar for Lokruz). As I said they played for only a few dedicated fans but they didn’t seem to care and they played a nice thirty minute long set giving us the opportunity to grab the first beers of the night.

Widow Pit video:

Widow Pit setlist:
Black Door / Let Love Drive / Burn / The Night Is My Girl / Blue Radar Eyes / Devil’s Dance

“from the ice comes a creature…”

At 20:20 Bastard Sword got on stage ready to play stuff from their fresh album “Bastard Sword I” that was released just a few days ago. They are a power trio from Athens that are fully in love with the classic Black Sabbath tunes, the Vol.4 t-shirt of Akis Kapranos (drums) left very little room for doubt anyway and it was back in that era that they managed to take us with their music along their forty minute long set with many great moments, if I had to choose one I would say “Witching Brethren”). Achilels Charmplilas on vocals/guitar is the mainman (we also know him from 2 By Bukowski) that also had a sense of humor, breaking this way the akwardly peaceful audience in the venue at that time. The distortion and effect pedals seemed to do their job on guitar but it was Odysseas Tziritas that was really impressive left no one disappointed.

Bastard Sword video:

Bastard Sword setlist:
Daemon of Doom / Ghost in the Beehive / Il Gigante / Witching Brethren / Santeria de Sangre / Hierophant / Tenbones

“long live the undead…”

At 21:10 Gagulta got on stage and stepped up the excitement of those who are into more extreme sounds as the band is fully dedicated to doom/sludge genre. I know them as a trio but this time they also had Greg Konstantaras on bass (Seer Of The Void) which was a nice addition (they didn’t have bass in the past). After the massive feedback from guitar and bass came the crazy vocals that could raise the dead. Their set was enjoyable as they focused on their homonym album from 2019 but they also included some new stuff that stand on the same level so there is no doubt they will release soon another great piece of doom sludge.

Gagulta video:

Gagulta setlist:
Late beer cult / long live the undead / children of new dawn / glass riffer / gagulta

After the sludge punch of Gagulta I needed something different but I couldn’t really expect how great was the next band since the performance of Lotus Emperor was a revelation for all of us and definitely the highlight of the festival. That’s why we have to support these kind of events, so to get in touch with great music like this.

“sneaking through your veins…”

The time was 22:05 when a small red candle lit in front of the stage and Lotus Emperor begun their music trip. And I use the word trip because it’s the only one that can describe their unique style, a style that uses psychedelic rock as a base through some doom and experimental point of view. Repeated music patterns that brought in mind some kind of a ritual, intense references from the East, some trippy guitar riffing and a great variety of sounds in general that got me mesmerized. This quartet has some great musicians and I am sure they have some great influences too since their t-shirts were showing different background (Hawkwind, Pentagram, Holy Monitor, Καταχνιά!). Stasinos Papastathopoulos was great on guitar and Konstantina Latzaki was impressive on vocals (but also on percussion) going from regular singing to whispering. Their set which lasted almost an hour had only four compositions which means their music, which required from the fans to be fully committed to what they were doing on stage. The reason was that they choose to focus more on their latest album “Syneidesis” (2022) and not their debut “Lotus Emperor” (2015) that has some more straight forward compositions. But again we can’t complain since we heard “Cell Of Death” from that album.

Lotus Emperor video:

Lotus Emperor setlist:
Petra, anemos , cell of death , syneidesis

When Automaton got on stage it was already 23:20 and the fatigue seemed to be the winner since my old legs were barely holding me up after two days inside the venue. What’s more the fact that the next day would be a working day forced some fans to leave to catch the last bus and missing that way the headliners of the day.

“trapped in darkness…”

Those of us who were still in the venue knew already that Automaton are really powerful on stage. Every time I see them live they manage to create a special dark atmosphere with different music layers that have double role making sad but also redeeming you. It’s really hard to put a label on what this band plays but the blending of doom with post metal is close to reality and in any case one thing is for sure, that they impress me in every way. They kicked off with a new unreleased long composition that felt really unique and groovy but definitely it would made better impact if there wasn’t some technical issues with one of the guitars. Then they played three tracks from their great album “Talos” (2018) and ended up with another great new composition which seemed powerful enough and managed to whet our appetites for their upcoming album.

Automaton video:

Automaton setlist:
New(untitled) / Talos Awakens / The Giant of steel / Automaton Marching / (new untitled)

® text/photos/video: Konstantinos Mindcrimek Vlachos