MAmNACLES, d-beat hardcore punks from Vilnius, Lithuania (members of Crucial Features (riot grrl punk), ZLPGNR (neocrust) and SLØGA (sludge/hardcore)), just released their first album “Kol dar čia”, and we took this chance to dive into its details, content behind their their lyrics and their local punk scene, described at the bottom of the feature, along with a nice set of other bands recommendations.
The band is: Milda – vocals; Meda – guitar and vocals; Simas – bass; Linas – drums
Milda: The band formed in the fall of 2017. At first, Manacles didn’t have any vocals so the band played only the instrumental parts of songs in a few gigs.
Manacles were looking for a female vocalist…
…and actually have found two, me and Giedrė, who had this growling vocal. So, we had a couple of gigs and then we’ve found ourselves in a situation where we didn’t have a guitarist anymore. Meda, who was the bass player, took over the guitar and Simas joined the band as our new bassist. Everything seemed just fine, BUT THEN!
Our drummer Linas was sent to mandatory army service for 9 months.
During this time, we rarely had rehearsals, but still, new songs were written. When finally our drumming machine got released from army duty, we, of course, started rehearsing more often, wanted to prepare properly and finally get back on stage. During this time, Giedrė decided to leave due to personal reasons, so I became the main vocalist and Meda joined as back vocals. After a long break, we came back on stage on the 22nd of December, 2019 at the social centre „Emma“ in Kaunas. All of us wanted to move forward and decided it‘s time to record.
The recording of the album „Kol dar čia“ („While still here“) took place on the 18-19 of January, 2020. It was a good experience and we are glad with the results.
It is the first Manacles album.
We decided to skip playing safe and wanted to bring some fresh new original sound to punk rock.
The name of the album “Kol dar čia” (“While still here”) is from the song “Truth”.
It’s about the importance of doing what you want to do, being who you want to be while still alive.
Also, there are two cover-songs from Lithuanian punkhc bands of the previous century, which seemed important to us and really fun to play.
The album was recorded and mixed by our good friend Kipras (guitarist of “Avarinis įėjimas”, “The sold outs”), it was really fun working with him, all our wishes and expectations were fulfilled, we are very grateful for this to him. The recording took place at the homely XI20, a local DIY punx venue, where we practice, do gigs and party.
1. “Kai šaly badas” (“When There’s Famine in the Country”)
This song is about the last presidential elections in Lithuania and the situation in political elections when you vote for the lesser evil while lying to yourself that you choose for the better, but, in reality, just a less shitty tomorrow – when there’s famine in the country, even shit is chocolate (chorus of the song).
2. “Tiesa” (“Truth”)
This song is criticizing religious fanaticism and how some people just blindly follow some made-up “truths” while forgetting the point that it is most important what kind of person you are while you are, not chasing some heavens by hating the ones with different views.
3. “Pažiūrėk į save” (“Look at Yourself”)
This song was written on the moment of slight rage when one person was spitting some words about “karma”, criticizing a personal situation, even though the person wasn’t, let’s say, saint himself, and the intentions of the criticized situation were actually altruistic and good.
4. “Pasprink” (“Choke on it”)
It’s a fast raging song about xenophobia and what we hate about it.
5. “Tegul vartos” (“Let Them Turn”)
Today, when trying to pass new political decisions or laws, old patriarchs of the country are often remembered, the resistance against progressive ideas is often argued with speculations about the positions of dead persons. There is this idiom “Turn in one’s grave”, and we say – let them turn.
6. “Tuk tuk” (“Knock Knock”)
It’s a song about those horrible situations in life when we need to go to some kind of a governmental institutions to fix some kind of a problem and then we, like a hamster in a wheel, walk from door to door, because usually governmental pigs, calling themselves “specialists”, are unable to help and are sending you to other “specialists”.
7. “Sudek sava liepsna” (“Burn Down by Your Own Flame”)
This song is saying that it’s better to be yourself, no matter how hard it is, than to drown in someone else’s filth. Mostly is about fighting gender norms.
8. “Politinės kekšės” (“Political Whores”) (WC News)
It’s a song from an old Lithuanian punk band “WC News”, who played in the 90s. Originally the song was released in 1996, in an album called “Emo>fiz”. It criticizes the strategic games between politicians in a fight for power instead of dealing with real problems, and talks about how it affects our lives.
9. “Užsidenk akis” (“Cover Your Eyes”)
This song is criticizing how the government lies to us and tries to hide its own crimes under nice words. The chorus goes as a command: “Cover your eyes, step forward, jump over a pit, go round”
10. “Būti tikru” (“To Be True”) (SC)
This is another cover-song of an old Lithuanian punkhc band “SC”. The song was originally recorded by them in 2001 and the lyrics speak for themselves: “It’s not easy to be true/ It’s much easier to pretend/ I want to find myself/ In a circle of good friends/ Loyalty and friendship/ Not deception and laziness”
SHS stands for Self Help Song. It’s a song about how sometimes life seems so difficult, how we get alone and lonely and are running from ourselves, but the truth is, you can’t outrun yourself. No one can help you if you can’t admit your problems, your pain to yourself, so the first thing is to name and admit things you are running from and then not to hesitate to actually listen when someone is trying to help.
12. “Betonas” (“Concrete”)
This song is about gentrification, making money out of it and how our beloved, nostalgic spaces are being destroyed and changed into concrete.
MANACLES in 2020
We had planned 3 gigs in april but all of them were canceled because of corona virus so we are looking forward to have as much as possible gigs after all this will be over.
Vilnius & Lithuanian d-beat and hardcore punk scene
Currently, the Lithuanian punk scene, in general, doesn‘t have a lot of bands (not like in the good old days), but all the bands who are alive are very active about releasing new recordings and doing gigs.
Compared to a few years back, you could say that there is this feeling of a revival of the punk scene, because the bands are more active and new people are joining the local scene in various ways. The main spaces of the Lithuanian punk scene today are the infoshop „Emma“ in Kaunas (named after Emma Goldman) and XI20 in Vilnius.
More foreign bands are coming to XI20 than there are local bands to play together, so it‘s difficult for the local ones to rotate not too often, at least every three weeks. Therefore, gigs with only local bands happen very rarely – both the bands and the listeners have to rest.
Other bands worth a check:
The punk rock trio Avarinis Įėjimas have just released their long-anticipated album „Thank You and Fuck You“.
The crazy crack-rocksteady band Tureto Sindromas have also released their new album „Riedėk arba Mirk“ in the summer;
Lapkričio Dvidešimtosios Orkestras, a brass/punk/doom orchestra has been releasing singles all-year-round and at the end of November released a full album “Paveikslas, tapytas aliejiniais dažais“.
The grindcore band Faršas has just released a split with the UK powerviolence band „Endless Swarm“.
D-beat/black metal band Cold Embrace just released a few of their songs from the upcoming debut EP „Unending Turmoil“.
The grrrl punk band Crucial Features are releasing their new album on the 29th of March.