Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Thee Maldoror Kollective - "New Era Viral Order" [2002]

Artist: Thee Maldoror Kollective
Title: New Era Viral Order (Dogma Slaughterhouse and the Children of Anaemia)
Genre: Industrial Metal
Country: Italy
Release date: 2002

Track List:
  1. Xaos DNA Released
  2. Haemorrhage Transmission
  3. Drain-Wound-Cosmosis (Iera Porneusis)
  4. Rhythmagick Disturbance (Embodiment Cell)
  5. La Flamme Vivant
  6. Rigid Pulse Starfire (93)
  7. The Toxium Discipline (Null Industries)
  8. Slaughter Mass 2002
  9. Epidemic Noise Age (Remix by MZ.412)
Along with Aborym, Thee Maldoror Kollective were one of the most influental industrial black metal bands to come out of the Italian scene during the early 2000s. Their history is quite lengthy, starting in the early 90s (if not late 90s) under the name Inquisitor. In 1991, they changed name to Funeral Fog, and in 1997 - to Maldoror. As Maldoror, they released several black metal demos and two full-length albums, out of which I'd recommend "In Saturn Mystique" - quite interesting "cosmic" black metal, somewhat reminding me of "Nexus Polaris" by Covenant. Right now they're playing a kind of avant-garde electronica/jazz that has very little to do with any metal, and prefer to call themselves simply TMK, or Textbook of Modern Karate.

"New Era Viral Order", however, is definitely metal, albeit with large amounts of avan-garde electronic sound thrown in (which is the reason why it got a rather low score on metal-archives.com). This album is often compared to "With No Human Intervention" by Aborym (which was also released on Code666), but as for me, TMK should be rather compared to Italian avant-garde doom metal bands, like Void of Silence or Ensoph. However, the best description of this album I've seen so far was "That's how Zyklon-B would sound if they started to play industrial metal". Anyway, it definitely wouldn't disappoint any lover of really cold and "robotic" extreme music, that's enough avant-garde and complex yet still relatively easy to listen to - in other words, industrial metal done the way it should be :) My personal favourites are "Xaos DNA Released" and "Rigid Pulse Starfire". TMK's Bandcamp page has only the abridged version of this album, so I'd post the complete version in the video below:



Thursday, November 1, 2018

Void of Silence - "The Sky Over" [2018]

Artist: Void of Silence
Title: The Sky Over
Genre: Atmospheric Doom Metal, Dark Ambient
Country: Italy
Release date: 2018

Track List:
  1. The Void Beyond
  2. Abeona (or quietly gone in a hiatus)
  3. The Sky Over
  4. Adeona (or surfaced as resonant thougths)
  5. Farthest Shores
  6. White Light Horizon
Here's another album from Void of Silence, released this summer after a long hiatus. It's less avant-garde than their early works, featuring mostly lengthy doom metal compositions with clean vocals and lots of keyboards, and short ambient interludes. Musically, the whole thing sounds as if Puissance decided to start playing doom metal, and the vocals reminds me of Arcturus. It's certainly a more mature release than their early stuff, despite it being less complex and eclectic.

"The concept behind this record both musically and lyrically, in the words of mastermind Riccardo Conforti, “is focused on the great human achievements of the early twentieth century, and the fiery courage of those few men whose bravery led them to set their limits far beyond humanity’s fragile horizons. Aviators and their zeppelins, the great polar expeditions, the epic journey of the Airship “Italia” led by Umberto Nobile and the tragedy of the Red Tent. The unbelievable resilience of Salomon August Andrée and his men, who traveled through the merciless vastness of the Pack, without ever turning back. The cold and blinding light that reverberates from the glacial regions as the only guidance that accompanied them until the end, is what we tried to portray. This is our tribute to them.”"


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Void of Silence - "Criteria ov 666" [2002]

Artist: Void of Silence
Title: Criteria ov 666
Genre: Funeral Doom Metal, Industrial Metal
Country: Italy
Release date: 2002

Track List:
  1. Opus I. Velocity. Electricity. TV Necro
  2. Opus II. With No Half-Measure
  3. Opus III. Anthem for Doomed Youth
  4. Opus IV. Anger
  5. Opus V. The Ultimate Supreme Intelligence
  6. Opus VI. Nothing. Immortal
  7. Opus VII. Victory!
  8. Opus VIII. Universal Separation
  9. Opus IX. XTC-Elevation-Trip
"Void of Silence is an Industrial/ Symphonic doom metal band from Italy, formed in 1999 by Riccardo Conforti and Ivan Zara. They combine the pace, distortion, and bass-heaviness of funeral doom metal with the grim atmosphere of dark ambient music and cinematic soundtrack..."

"Criteria ov 666" is one of the many albums I've bought around a decade ago when I had a chance (remember, underground music was much less available to me back then). While its name suggests it to be some sub-par black metal (and, in fact, it features a member of a very well-known industrial black metal band Aborym on vocals), it's actually a quite interesting mix of funeral doom metal and martial industrial. While "Csejthe" by Mordor is made from basically the same ingredients, "Criteria ov 666" sounds quite different from it. Surely it isn't an album for everyday listening, yet it's a very impressive work notable for its dystopian horror atmosphere. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Bad Sector - "Dolmen Factory" [1999]

Artist: Bad Sector
Title: Dolmen Factory
Genre: Dark Ambient, Noise
Country: Italy
Release date: 1999

Track List:
  1. Alex 1964
  2. Ivan 1810
  3. Carla 1977
  4. Alvin 1953
  5. Exit A
  6. Nara 1630
  7. Pierre 1902
  8. Brigitte 1872
  9. Ikhana 1402
  10. Exit B
  11. Max 1987 
Since this album was mentioned in my previous entry, I decided to post it as well, because I feel that at least one album by Bad Sector definitely should be on my blog. The works by Massimo Magrini are well-known and loved here, and it's safe to say that he has inspired quite a lot of industrial and ambient musicians from the ex-USSR countries. Magrini is a professional physics researcher specialized in analog & digital signal processing, which heavily reflects on his music, which best can be described as an experimental collage of sounds of various origins (ritual music samples, industrial noises, cosmic noises etc.) This particular album is based on the cardiac echo sounds, and the each track on it is supposed to describe one personal "universe", which disappears with the death of a person it's associated with.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

N-616 - "[ex​-​Planet Earth]" [2005]

Artist: N-616
Title: [ex​-​Planet Earth]
Genre: EBM, Dark Electro
Country: Russia
Release date: 2005

Track List:
  1. Bunker#616
  2. Production
  3. Monsters
  4. Front Line
  5. Consumption
  6. Last Conflict
  7. Civilization Of The Dawn
  8. Koniec
N-616 were formed in 2000 in Stavropol (according to other sources - in St.Petersburg) initially as a dark ambient / classical industrial project. After releasing their first demo "Snow", they incorporated more darkwave & EBM elements into their music on their second demo "Cold". Later on, these demos were released as a full-length album "Cold & Snow", which was released on Folvork Prods., a label that many readers of my blog probably are already familiar with. They continued going to the electro-industrial direction on their subsequent releases, "Electro Paradigm of Futurism", "Futurepolis", and this one, which came out in 2004 along with the EP "Winter World III". After that, the project went on a hiatus for more than a decade, but now they're active again, although they're better known for their other project called Eonic (new age / ambient).

While "[ex​-​Planet Earth]" might be not very interesting from the viewpoint of today's listener, and there's nothing particularly original or innovative, it was a groundbreaking release on the Russian industrial scene of the 2000s, where very few bands were played in this style before (the "boom" of harsh EBM / dark electro happened a couple years later). It also features design by D.I.Abigor (I used to read the blog of this guy several years ago), who's also responsible for the design of "Dolmen Factory" by Bad Sector and several albums by Velehentor.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Июльские Дни - "Колокол" [2016]

Artist: Июльские Дни
Title: Колокол
Genre: Post-Punk
Country: Russia
Release date: 2016

Track List:
  1. Не для меня
  2. Крутится-вертится
  3. Озеро и остров
  4. По ком звонит колокол
Here's probably the best known post-punk band from my city, named after the July Days of 1917 in Petrograd a/k/a St.Petersburg (by a coincidence, I've traveled there just several days ago, right on the 101st anniversary of these events). "Колокол" ("The Bell"; you can guess the translation by just looking at the cover, though) is their latest EP up to date, released in late 1916, and arguably the best. With all honestly, I think if there's one subgenre of rock where the Russian scene is good at, then it's post-punk/coldwave:


Saturday, July 7, 2018

Монумент Страха - s/t [1989]


Artist: Монумент Страха
Title: Монумент Страха
Genre: Post-Punk, Noise Rock
Country: USSR
Release date: 1989

Track List:
  1. Букеты Роз
  2. Микробы
  3. Ликует Слава В Огне Заката
  4. Грусть - Источник Мечты
  5. Рождество
  6. Смерть Слепых
  7. Памяти Я.К. 
  8. Микробы (bonus 1990)
  9. Смерть Слепых (bonus 1990)
  10. Памяти Я.К. (bonus 1990)
Finally, I found the debut self-titled release of this very obscure Soviet post-punk/industrial rock band (perhaps one of the very first ones), whose second album I've posted here about an year ago. It was re-released on cassette (30 copies) by Ultra Records in 2009, and later on CD along with their 2nd album.

Compared to their second album, it's more straightforward post-punk with less distorted vocals, but the fans of early industrial/noise rock in the vein of Swans should enjoy this one too. Overall, both their sound and aesthetics were exactly what's expected from an obscure industrial/noise rock band from the late 80s, and it's sometimes hard to believe that it was recorded in Leningrad and not in London or New York. I'm still searching for any releases of their side project called Mechanical Ballet (if there were any at all).


Дубль-1 - s/t EP [1986]

Artist: Дубль-1
Title: Дубль-1 (demo EP)
Genre: Heavy Metal, Hard Rock
Country: USSR
Year: 1986

Track List:
  1. Дни, подстерегающие нас
  2. Суббота
  3. Ворон-викинг
  4. Страшный век
  5. Спи, дитя
Among the bands featured on this compilation, there's one female-fronted band (one of the very few ones at that time) called Markiza (not to be confused with Markize!), which was considerably popular among Soviet metal fans during the late 80s, yet is largely forgotten by now. Here's their even more obscure predecessor, whose music I personally like better.

Both bands were started by Sergey Sokolov, who began his career of a professional musician in 1970, and has played guitar in many "prestigious" pop/rock bands during the 70s. By the end of 1978, he and his wife Elena decided to record a hard rock album. They did have recorded a full-length album by 1982 (which wasn't officially released), but it wasn't particularly "hard" when it comes to sound. After one more failed pop/rock project, they again decided to start a hard rock band in early 1985. Their first live performance for a big audience took place at the festival "Rock Panorama '86" - the very first official rock festival held in Moscow during 4-8 May 1986. Again, they haven't played anything particularly "hard" there - their program consisted solely of pop-rock, although of a rather good kind:


While they haven't particularly impressed the public with their sound, Elena did cause a scandal by demonstratively wearing a very short skirt on stage - nothing special in today's times, but quite provocative back then. Yet that performance helped them to get more recognition, and, after some line-up changes, they officially hired by the Moscow regional philharmonic society. This enabled them to record their one and only hard rock EP, which is presented here. However, the next 1987 year wasn't good for them - Elena and Sergey have divorced, and in the end of the year, they were fired from the philharmonic. Later in 1988, they went on to form a much more successful glam-oriented band Markiza, but that's another story.

This EP turned out to be surprisingly good, all things considered. Obviously influenced by Lita Ford, Doro Pesch and Lee Aaron, it mostly lies on the blurry boundary between hard rock and traditional heavy metal (+ a ballad in the end of the EP, which is probably the best song on the whole release). The 3rd track can even be half-jokingly considered to be the first viking metal song made in the USSR... or, with all seriousness, probably the first Soviet/Russian metal song with lyrics based on the Norse mythology:





Saturday, June 30, 2018

V/A - "Monsters of Rock USSR" [1986-1993]

Artist: (various)
Title: Monsters of Rock USSR
Genre: Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Glam Rock
Country: USSR
Year: 1986-93

Track List:
  1. Диалог - Красный рок
  2. Статус - Лешаки
  3. Чёрный кофе - Владимирская Русь
  4. Тяжёлый день - Берегись жала
  5. Коррозия металла - Дьявол здесь
  6. Железный поток - Эмбрион
  7. Э.С.Т. - 30 ХГСА
  8. Маркиза - 220 вольт
  9. Мастер - Воля и разум
  10. Союз - Племена
  11. Чёрный обелиск - Стена
  12. Круиз - Дальний свет
  13. Демарш - Свободная любовь
  14. Рондо - Богиня секса
  15. Джокер - Магия
  16. Холостой выстрел - Тотальный исход
bonus:
  1. Август - Демон
  2. Ария - Герой асфальта
  3. Фронт - Мы победим
  4. Парк Горького - Volga Boatman
This compilation was made by a music journalist Denis Boyarinov, originally including 16 tracks and released under the title "Devil Is Here: Soviet Halloween Rock". Later on, the owner of this blog decided to extend it a bit. In its final form, it contains 20 tracks by various Soviet metal bands, both well-known and obscure.

Of course, it should be mentioned that some of the bands on there were not that good, and are deservedly forgotten by now. For instance, glam rock bands like Rondo became popular mostly due to the use of the word "sex" in their lyrics (yes, it was considered quite scandalous at the time), and their provocative stage looks:

A special case is Korrozia Metalla, who never were a good band by any means, yet they successfully made a career of a comedy/shock rock band, and their frontman now enjoys a living meme status. Some of the better known bands on there, such as Aria and Black Coffee, are now considered extremely uncool to listen to by metal elitists, but 30 years back they enjoyed an unquestionable cult status among "rebellious" Soviet teenagers. In particular, the debut album of Black Coffee was sold in more than a million copies, largely because it was the only metal album available in stores in most smaller towns around 1988:



Some tracks on this compilation are from the post-Soviet period (1992-93), but the overwhelming majority of them are from 1988-91, when the public interest in metal was at its peak in the USSR (fun fact: the "Monsters of Rock" festival held near Moscow in 1991, featuring Metallica, Pantera and AC/DC, is now considered one of the largest rock/metal festivals in history - according to some estimates, the number of attendees was over 1.5 million!). The metal scene first appeared in the Soviet Union during the summer of 1984 (initually consisting mostly of children of diplomats and other people who was able to travel to the Western Bloc countries), broke into mainstream around 1987-1988, and became largely dead by 1995 (the modern Russian metal scene is a different story).

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Asparez - "Anathema" [1990]

Artist: Asparez
Title: Anathema
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Country: Armenian SSR
Year: 1990

Track List:
  1. Clearing
  2. Fire & Metal
  3. Sorrow
  4. Crazy Age
  5. Tell Me
  6. White As Black
  7. Untruthful Game
  8. Black Garden
Asparez were quite possibly the very first Armenian metal band, formed in 1982 and released their first demo in 1985. The demo, however, is now lost, so this album is their one and only available release. It was recorded around 1988, during the times when an ethnic conflict in Armenia and Azerbaijan was already brewing (the song "Black Garden" is dedicated to these events).

On last.fm, I've seen it tagged as "protoSOAD", but as for me, the only things in common between Asparez and SOAD are their "heavy" sound and ethnic Armenian musicians in their line-up. In fact, Asparez are much more similar to another well-known Soviet Armenian metal band, Ayas. I'd recommend both bands to anyone who's looking for obscure old school metal with lyrics in a weird sounding language: