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Songs From Black Spirit – I Am Who I Am

Songs From Black Spirit
I Am Who I Am
by Joseph Brewer at 01 July 2020, 2:54 PM

Don Vito has arrived! Vitalis Kairiūkštis, aka “Don Vito”, has been an establishment in heavy metal for countless years. He is most known for his work as the front man for Lithuanian heavy metal band SPICY BITS OF SCANDAL. A quick bit of research shows me that Don Vito is a powerhouse of an individual; being an avid hunter, a collector, and a musician. Nevertheless, there always seems to be a time in a musician’s life when they need to break away from their band and get their own individual thoughts and creativity on a record. Thus, was born SONGS FROM BLACK SPIRIT, the essentially solo album passion project of Don Vito. The album is called “I Am Who I Am” and is a monstrous double album of rocking heavy metal tracks and ballads.

The album kicks off with a quick instrumental track before getting to the first full song, “Love is Blind” which is about, of all things, the relationship between Quasimodo and Esmeralda from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. For me, the fact that this is not only the album opener, but the first single gives an interesting view into what goes on in the mind of a musician like Don Vito. An avid reader, Don Vito treats the song with respect. In fact, it ends up being one of the best songs on both albums. They’ve written an excellent call-and-response sort of hook in the chorus that is very catchy and is used generously throughout the track. This is also the first taste of Don Vito’s voice, which shines in this track. He uses mostly falsetto, which has a slight nasally aspect to it. Moments here and there remind me of Kai Hansen from GAMMA RAY, a truly iconic voice that fits nicely into the sound of SONGS FROM BLACK SPIRIT.

From here on out, the two disk album is a swirl of varying songs that all share the same hard rock, bluesy soul. SONGS FROM BLACK SPIRIT shows off a dazzling array of guest musicians, all bringing different elements to each song. Compositionally, each song stands on its own. The tracks on disk one of “I Am Who I Am” are more on the hard rock side, bringing a bit of energy and fire to the album. Things slow down a bit more on the second disk, more of the songs are ballads that meander and wind through emotional topics.

But the centerpiece of all of that is the same: Don Vito. There is no doubt that this is his project as each and every song puts him at the forefront. Sometimes, that succeeds, other times, the performance is a bit lacking as he listlessly delivers each word. I think ultimately for me, I appreciate the “less is more” ideal when it comes to an album like this. While none of the songs are inherently bad, some of them do come off as a bit boring or unexciting. Fans of hard rock will undoubtedly find a few songs that work for them, but overall, I think most people can avoid this one without missing out.

Favorite Song: “Love is Blind

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 5
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Disk 1
1. Saecula Obscura
2. Love Is Blind
3. Avalon
4. Memories
5. Time
6. The Wolfman
7. My Devotion
8. Attack
9. Fire And Water
10. Only Ashes

Disk 2
1. My Way Home
2. Please Come Back
3. World Is Turning
4. Naked In The Rain
5. Paranoia
6. Whore Of Babylon
7. Chasing Starlight
8. My Life My Death My Destiny
9. Queen Of Lies
Vitalis “Don Vito” Kairiūkštis – All Lead and Backing Vocals

Guest Musicians:
Marina Ammouri, Thomas Vikström, Ieva Vaiciukevičienė, Rimtautas Piskarskas, Amelija Jakutytė – Additional Lead and Backing Vocals
Giedrius “Jumbo” Balčiūnas, Sergej Mavrin, Kostas Balčiūnas, Barish Kepic, Robertas Semeniukas, Enrikas Slavinskis, Tomas Varnagiris – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Dino Fiorenza, Darotas Beržinis, Gintautas Litinskas, Leonid Shinkarenko, Andriejus Daugirdas, Mads Mølbæk, Martynas “Meška” Garbačas, Bernt Jansen, Giovanni Sena – Bass
Maestro Mistheria, Gabriele Gabriels Crisafulli, Joakim “Mohican Joe” Roberg, Rodrigo Boechat, Aistė Trakšelytė, Robertas Slavėnas, Jorris Guilbaud, Bob Katsionis, Lauri Muttilainen, Jari Pailamo – Keyboards
Mark Cross, Šarūnas Venckus, Fausta Šukytė, Ilja Molodcov, Salvatore Giordano, Lars Borup, Aleksandr Dvorakovskij – Drums
Laimonas Staškūnas – Bagpipe
Artūras “Shilas” Šileikis – Horn-Pipe
Irma Asinavičienė & Lijana Venslovienė – Kanklės
Ramūnas Jasutis – Duduk & Special effects
Record Label: Sliptrick Records


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Edited 04 August 2020

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