Watch the Video here:
DYMNA LOTVA comment on ‚Death Kisses Your Eyes‘ (Смерць Цалуе Ў Вочы): „This song is dedicated to the memory of the Belarusian protest activist Roman Bondarenko, who was killed by the Lukashenka regime“, vocalist Katsiaryna „Nokt Aeon“ Mankevich states. „Roman’s last words were a message in the neighbours‘ chat, ‚I’m going out‘. When unknown people arrived in his yard and began to destroy protest art and national symbols which were jointly created by the residents of nearby houses, he could not stand aside. When Roman Bondarenko left the house, he was brutally beaten and abducted by unidentified men wearing black clothes and masks. Roman died from his injuries the next day, on November 12, 2020. On the same day, the first demo of this song was mixed. The song’s lyrics which are carrying the words ‚those who wear midnight will take you away‘ and ‚let’s go‘ were too reminiscent of his story. The video clip was created by the photo artist Jay Flokker. It was not originally conceived to be shown alongside this song, but we felt it to be very appropriate as it is a strong reminder of the struggle of the people of Belarus and their national symbol, our flag with its white, red, and white stripes.“
About the Band:
Metal has always had a rebellious streak. And while it has lost some of its revolutionary energy – with the notable exception of black metal – in its Western European and American centres, metal very much remains a source of empowerment and an expression of dissent in most other parts of the word.
DYMNA LOTVA have many reasons to carry the torch of rebellion. The duo had to flee their native Belarus due to political persecution and attempts by the Lukashenka dictatorship to censure and suppress their art.
On their third album, „The Land under the Black Wings: Blood“ (original, not transcribed tile: „Зямля Пад Чорнымі Крыламі: Кроў“), DYMNA LOTVA continue to sing songs filled with grief and pain. The Belarusians have beautifully and powerfully enhanced their very personal style. With a solid base in black metal, but also taking many elements from doom as well as traditional music, the duo has moved beyond the post-black metal tag and created melancholic, haunting melodies that bear their unmistakable trademark and results in a unique emotional sound.
DYMNA LOTVA base their lyrics on true tales from Belarus, which is filled with accounts of sorrow gleaned from historical archives or folklore, while new horrors are committed in their country every day.
The name of the band, DYMNA LOTVA, means ‚Swamp in Smoke‘ and relates to the atrocities surrounding the burned villages of Polesie – a marshy region along the River Pripyat that is now divided between the modern-day states of Belarus, Ukraine, and Poland, which has endured bloody massacres and brutal conflict in the past.
Composer Jauhien Charkasau and vocalist Katsiaryna „Nokt Aeon“ Mankevich date the inception of DYMNA LOTVA to November 8, 2015. The spark that ignited their musical fire was the news of Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexandrovna Alexievich winning the Nobel Prize in Literature. On the same day, the duo created their first song based on quotes from Lyudmila Ignatenko, the widow of a Chernobyl liquidator. Her account of her husband Vasily Ivanovich Ignatenko largely inspired the main character of the HBO series „Chernobyl“.
The song was released as a single entitled ‚Самотны Чалавечы Голас‘ („A Solitary Human Voice“) in 2016 and was followed by DYMNA LOTVA’s first full-length „The Land under the Black Wings: Swamp“ (Зямля пад чорнымі крыламі: Дрыгва) in the same year. The debut album also formed the first part of a conceptual trilogy based on the duo’s homeland.
Also in 2016, the duo assembled a live line-up and quickly became one of the most active metal acts in Belarus while also gaining followers in neighbouring countries such as Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia.
With their sophomore album, „Wormwood“ (Палын), which is not part of the planned trilogy, DYMNA LOTVA returned to the topic of Chernobyl in 2017, for which the duo also referred to the works of Svetlana Alexandrovna Alexievich.
In 2020, DYMNA LOTVA openly supported the protests against their country’s dictator Lukashenka. In 2021, following a politically motivated trial of singer Lesley Knife, who was the guest vocalist on the latest single ‚To Freedom‘ (Да Волі), all the band’s scheduled concerts were officially banned and they had to disband the live line-up. Vocalist Nokt Aeon was forced to leave the country to avoid arrest. The duo intended to reunite in Ukraine, but then Russia invaded the country. Two weeks after the outbreak of war, the singer finally escaped from the heavy fighting around the city of Irpin. Both musicians were later able to meet again in Poland.
For DYMNA LOTVA the release of „The Land under the Black Wings: Blood“ (Зямля Пад Чорнымі Крыламі: Кроў) is also an act of defiance. Their music can be read in more than one way. By itself it is an extremely beautiful yet also a very painful piece of contemporary metal on the dark end of the spectrum with an audible Belarusian sound. Yet in a wider artistic context, DYMNA LOTVA unleash a furious and mournful cry for freedom and justice with „The Land under the Black Wings: Blood“ (Зямля Пад Чорнымі Крыламі: Кроў).
Katsiaryna „Nokt Aeon“ Mankevich – vocals, traditional flutes, lyrics
Jauhien Charkasau – guitars, bass, all music