Review of the Romanian music scene: VVVLV and 10 more interesting bands

The topic about European music scenes is now widened by the Romanians VVVLV, who will introduce us to the specifics of the local underground and their friends who also take part in its evolving. And, by the way, you totally should check out their April album "100 Years of Defeat".


Crust-sludge band from Romania

They play sludge punk, stirring d-beats with lots of crust, doom and black metal (SPdCDBM for short). VVVLV has been active in the DIY scene since 2014 and for now they have two LPs and a split with Void Forger, self-released and self-produced. Their most recent release came out this year, titled “100 Years of Defeat”, in digital format. The band is currently working on the vinyl release as well, which will be out a year later on DVVM Recs (RO), Nothing To Harvest (GRE) and Kontingent Records (BG).

"100 Years of Defeat" album

The initial plan was to record and release an album in 2020, but the pandemic has hit just as we were preparing to enter the studio, so everything was delayed. We managed to record it by pieces during different lockdowns and restriction waves, but it finally happened and we're quite pleased with the result. The recording and mixing was done in Timisoara by Consonance studio, and it was mastered by Daniel Husayn at North London Bomb Factory Mastering. As for 2021, we are planning a small Romanian tour with 4 other fellow Romanian bands. In these conditions it’s still pretty hard to make plans, so if it works out, we will be happy. We wanted to do a longer tour this summer, but everything is just too uncertain to be sure.  

Connection with Ukraine

We haven’t played in Ukraine yet, but we would definitely like to. But we do shows in our towns, more specifically in Cluj and Timiosoara, where we had Ukrainian bands performing. The most recent show we did was in Cluj-Napoca with Kentawr and Reminded.  

Underground scene in Romania

It’s a small scene, which is mostly concentrated around Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca and Timisoara. The advantage of having such small scene like this is that there is very little separation based on music styles. You can have hardcore punk, sludge and grind bands at the same show. But the disadvantage is that there are also very few bands and people playing in them are pretty much the same for the last 10 years. In short, too little "new blood” coming in.

Then there is the problem with the venues, especially in Cluj and Timisoara, where we had issues with venues closing down due to the increased rent prices or because those locations were sold to be transformed into office buildings.


Romanian scene and COVID

Shows still haven’t started yet in Romania because of the restrictions. Everything was put on hold. Some bands tried to do online shows, but, in our opinion, those don’t even come close to what a live show is like.

We are planning a small 4-days tour in Romania in August, with 5 local bands, to try to kickstart the live shows again, but the problem is that since we have no touring bands coming in, the potential for shows remains limited. 

Top 10 Romanian bands (who they are and why we picked them)

Here are some Romanian bands (in alphabetical order) that everyone should check out. The main criteria of selection is that they are our friends:

  • Anger Dose – raw hardcore/crust from Bucharest. They have also put out an album this year, so check em out.
  • Bastos – a pretty interesting screamo project from Bucharest, with a nice blend of math parts and old school emoviolence.
  • CoinsAsPortraits – jazzgrind? Mathcore? Something along those lines from Brasov. Heavy and chaotic stuff.
  • Cold Brats –  raw and noisy hardcore punk from Bucharest.
  • DorDeDuh – needs no description, really.
  • I Stared Into The Forest – screamo from Brasov. A really good blend of melody and chaos.
  • Methadone Skies – progressive rock right from Timisoara.
  • Rotheads – filthy old school death metal from Bucharest.
  • Void Forger – dirty sludge from Bucharest. One of the heaviest bands in Romania.

We also wrote about the Czech, Hungarian and Polish scenes earlier:

VVVLV in social networks:

Cover photo – Mihnea Ene ©