Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year 2018!

As you know, I don't do compilations like "Best of 2017" etc. which other blogs seem to be so fond of, but I always wish my readers the best in the coming year. 2017 wasn't an easy year for me, but at least now I have a feeling that my life is finally going in the right direction, and that's what is truly important. Hopefully you feel the same about your life too. Special thanks for the "HELLYEAH!" bar for being the only true rock bar in my city! I go to bars on very rare occasions, but the New Year eve is certainly a good one :)

And now, it's time for Yulia Crow to greet you! While her music is going in the mainstream alternative rock direction as of late (or maybe towards something like "dubstep-metal" in the vein of Rave The Reqviem), I still love her early works, and of course she looks more awesome than ever:

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Majdanek Waltz / Denis Tretyakov / The Noktulians - "Pentagram" [2017]

Artist: Majdanek Waltz / Denis Tretyakov / The Noktulians
Title: Pentagram
Genre: Neofolk, Sludge, Noise Rock, Dark Jazz
Country: Russia
Release date: 2017

Track List: 

Side A: Majdanek Waltz & The Noktulians
  1. Pentagram
  2. Sombre Splendour
  3. Under the Waning Moon
  4. The Palace of the World
  5. Corona Astralis
  6. Ut
Side B: Denis Tretyakov & The Noktulians
  1. Hell Hath No Queen
  2. To Suffer So, and So Rejoice
  3. Augur XI
  4. Initiation IX
  5. Black Mass
  6. Initiation X 
This rather lengthy release (over 70 minutes long) with a wonderfully minimalistic cover art was produced by the veterans of the Russian (post-)industrial, neofolk and post-punk scene: Majdanek Waltz, Denis Tretyakov, Myrrman of Reutoff and Otzepentevshiye, and some others, including Raymond Krumgold, whose cultural and political activites had a lot of influence on me about a decade ago. He also wrote a very detailed review of this album and its concept here (unfortunately, no English version is available so far).

In short: "Pentagram" was released 70 years after the death of Aleister Crowley, and is primarily based on his literary works. For the most part, it's an instrumental album, with some spoken word declamation of Crowley's poetry (by the way, another band who used Crowley's verses as lyrics was Romowe Rikoito). While Majdanek Waltz are known mostly as a neofolk band, this release is rather far from neofolk, being quite heavy, noisy, and "sludge-y" at times (much like "Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain" by Current 93). Overall, the result is quite impressive. As R. Krumgold correctly pointed out, such and idea could easily result in a failure, but fortunately it didn't.


Pavel Blyumkin, Denis Tretyakov, Dasha Popova, Larisa Arkhipetskaya, Oleg Karavaychuk, Vasiliy & Alexandra – voices
Ilya Matzevich – guitars
Pyotr Starov – bass guitar, synthesizer
Mariam Khatlamadzhiyan – viola
Igor Kuzmenko – cello
Sergey Vostrov – flute, clarinet, saxophone
Ivan Tsiporkov – flute, saxophone
Roman Kazakov – trumpet

The Noktulians are:
Fr I Am – guitar
Fr Dis – guitar
Fr Pest – bass
Fr Hans – drums
Fr Ephes – programming
Fr IV – saxophone
Fr A.T. – saxophone 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Virus (CAN) - "Bio-Level 4" [1996]

Artist: Virus
Title: Bio-Level 4
Genre: Industrial Metal
Country: Canada
Release date: 1996

Track List:
  1. Borderline
  2. Syndrome
  3. At War
  4. Bio-Level 4
  5. Tainted
  6. The Mutant Factor
  7. Second Skin
  8. New Breed Machine
  9. Necrotech
  10. Bleeding
  11. Unit
  12. Anti-Matter 
  13. Syndrome (Remix) + hidden track
Here's a very obscure industrial metal album made in Canada, released about the same time as "Phobos" by Voivod and "Demanufacture" by Fear Factory, to which it's often compared. It does sound very similar to "Demanufacture", althought Virus aren't as heavy as Fear Factory, so I can understand why people in Youtube comments compare them to Pitchshifter instead.

The songs on their one and only album, "Bio Level 4", while being somewhat monotonous and unmemorable, shouldn't disappoint anyone who's searching for something what sounds alike mid-90s Fear Factory, with the same "technological"/dystopian aesthetics. The riffs on "Bio Level 4" are as "mechanical" as they could be (although no one can beat Meshuggah on that). Along with Flash Terrorist, Virus were one of that mid-90s Fear Factory followers who released only one album and then disappeared - which is a pity because their material, while being not perfect, was clearly showing a lot of potential.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Voivod - "Phobos" [1997]

Artist: Voivod
Title: War and Pain
Genre: Progressive Thrash Metal, Industrial Metal
Country: Canada (Quebec)
Release date: 1997

Track List:
  1. Catalepsy I
  2. Rise
  3. Mercury
  4. Phobos
  5. Bacteria
  6. Temps Mort
  7. The Tower
  8. Quantum
  9. Neutrino
  10. Forlorn
  11. Catalepsy II
  12. M-Body
  13. 21st Century Schizoid Man (King Crimson cover)
Here's another Voivod album I'd like to mention here. I've never seen it mentioned as "Voivod's best" (unlike any of their late 80s' albums), but it's certainly one of their most experimental ones, and arguably the only one that can be called "industrial metal" without a stretch. Surely, it isn't much different from most other Voivod albums in the terms of lyrics and aesthmetics (as they always were fascinated with sci-fi themes, technology, and social issues), but it's noticeably different from the aforementioned "best" albums in terms of sound. "Phobos" isn't the kind of album I'd listen to every day (in fact, all Voivod albums aren't), but it definitely worth checking out for both prog metal and industrial metal fans. Of course it isn't hard to find on the net (i.e. on

Voivod - "War & Pain" [1984]

Artist: Voivod
Title: War and Pain
Genre: Thrash Metal
Country: Canada (Quebec)
Release date: 1984

Track List:
  1. Voivod
  2. Warriors of Ice
  3. Suck Your Bone
  4. Iron Gang
  5. War and Pain
  6. Blower
  7. Live for Violence
  8. Black City
  9. Nuclear War
Since Voivod were mentioned in my previous entry, I decided to post their debut full-length release from the era when their sound wasn't too "progressive" yet. This album is raw thrash metal with a healthy dose of punk, apparently inspired by bands like Venom and Warfare. I'm pretty sure it already was reviewed numerous times, so I have to say only one thing: while I normally don't listen to this kind of music too much, the aesthetics on this album are 10 out of 10. If you're looking for a thrash metal album with post-apocalyptic/post-nuclear theme, this one would be exactly what you're looking for (along with "Pray For War" by Virus).

What else is interesting about this album? The lyrics. They look like being written by someone who had even worse proficiency in English than me, which resulted in quite a few truly brilliant lines like "Go shit! I'm not a fish we're gonna burn your home". At times, it feels like they just wanted to write down all the scary words they know, but the result turned out to be surprisingly impressive:

"Riding, crashing, charging run to the wrong side
In the night bastard, savage, prowler
Whip the engine for more power fast winds, highway, hell song
Feel the fog in the black storm
Darkness, black walls, shadows can't see the light on the road
Alone in a haunted concrete foundation
Abandoned and possessed in a ghostly mansion
Desert, ghost town, bare lands dark street create a fear
Closed lamps, curfews dead leaves
The black cat awaits the witch
Don't stay in black city your soul will catch the spell"

Or this one, which probably was supposed to be sci-fi themed (like many other Voivod songs written later):

"Learning the rules of the games with atrocity
Living in a prehistoric weather with intensity
Armed cold weapons in hand charged mangled corpse on the land
The bestial contortions on the prey makes me lust to kill 'em all everyday
Curdled by frost too young to rust fight be wild
Warriors of ice the hell fighters
Warriors of ice"

That's what is remarkable about this album - back them, Voivod were absolute beginners when it comes to writing both music and lyrics, but the end result turned out to be surprisingly better than could be expected. On their later releases, they continued to break the rules of songwriting (this time intentionally), thus becoming one of most unorthodox metal bands of their time.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Spectral Incursion - s/t [1989]

Artist: Spectral Incursion
Title: Spectral Incursion
Genre: Progressive Heavy/Thrash Metal
Country: USA
Release date: 1989

Track List:
  1. Rails
  2. The Other Side
  3. Beneath Your Lives
  4. Last Of The Torment
This EP is certainly one of the strangest releases I've discovered via Vibrations of Doom about a decade ago. Something that can be loosely described as a mix of Rush and Black Sabbath at one hand, and early Voivod and Watchtower at another, with a rather rough quality of production (but what else to expect from an obscure 80's metal release with such a cover artwork?..) I managed to find a more or less detailed review of it here, and a short biography of the band here, but not much beyond that. Anyway, if you liked this release and want more from the same people, check out "Into the Unknown" by Doctor Smith - a "sci-fi space opera" made in early 2010s by former Spectral Incursion members.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Koenjihyakkei - "Hundred Sights of Koenji" [1994]

Artist: Koenjihyakkei
Title: Hundred Sights of Koenji
Genre: Avant-Prog, Zeuhl
Country: Japan
Release date: 1994

Track List:
  1. Ioss
  2. Doi Doi
  3. Molavena
  4. Gepec
  5. Yagonahh
  6. Ozone Fall
  7. Zhess
  8. Zoltan
  9. Avedumma
  10. Sunna Zarioki
高円寺百景 aka Koenji Hyakkei were one of the few bands that can be safely called the worthy successors of Magma. The Zeuhl subgenre of avant-prog, started by Magma, gained any significant following only in France and Japan, most importantly such bands as Ruins and this band (which was started as a side project of a member of Ruins).

This album has everything we love this genre for, including (but not limited to): throbbing bass, complex rhythm patterns, and the lyrics sung in a made-up language. This album is their debut one, and it isn't as avant-garde as the subsequent ones, such as "Angherr Shisspa". Still I wonder how many people have bought it solely because of it's cover, expecting it to be some nice and easy-to-listen Asian music :)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Сепсис - "Литургия безумия" [1991]

Artist: Сепсис
Title: Литургия безумия
Genre: Avant-Prog, Krautrock
Country: USSR
Release date: 1991

Track List: 

Side A:
  1. Отчуждение
  2. В Плену У Диких Собак
  3. Размышляя О...
  4. В Волнах Желания
  5. Апогей
Side B:
  1. Изгнание Бесов
  2. Погружаясь В Сон
  3. Плач Блуждающей Девы
  4. Спазмы Рассудка
  5. Оковы Славы
  6. Прочь Из Этих Мест
  7. Изгнание Бесов
  8. Катарсис 
All I know about this band is that they were an instrumental avant-garde rock trio from Pushkin (which is in the vicinity of St.Petersburg). This album was recorded during March-April 1990 with the help of Yuri Morozov as sound engineer, and was released on vinyl by Andrei Tropillo's label AnTrop, when the band already has split up.

Although it was produced by such famous (at the time) people in the Russian rock scene, it failed to get much publicity, mostly because the music was too unaccessible for an average listener. There were very few Soviet rock bands whise music could be called "avant-prog", and Sepsis definitely were one of them. The album is titled "Liturgy of Madness", which is a pretty appropriate name for a piece of such scary music (maybe not on pair with the best works of Goblin, Univers Zero and Shub-Niggurath, but still). The only known mp3 rip of it consists of two long tracks corresponding to the A and B sides of the original release:

Monday, November 27, 2017

Mars Everywhere - "Industrial Sabotage" [1980]

Artist: Mars Everywhere
Title: Industrial Sabotage
Genre: Avant-Prog, Space-Rock, Electronic
Country: USA
Release date: 1980

Track List:
  1. The Enchanted Domain
  2. Steady State Theory
  3. Mare Chromium
  4. Zone Of Twilight
  5. Zöln
  6. Attack Of The Giant Squid
A very strange album released on Random Radar Records (which, if I'm not mistaken, was a precursor to Cuneiform Records, which every avant-prog & RIO fan knows about). Some backstory on it can be found here. The author compares Mars Everywhere to Gong and Hawkwind on one side, and to Tangerine Dream or Conrad Schnitzler (and the Berlin school of electronic music in general) on the other. As for me, it sounds suprisingly alike some Yuri Morozov's early electronic works, especially considering that he was using pretty much the same sort of sci-fi/dystopian aesthetics.

It's certainly not for everyone's liking, but if you like both the avant-garde prog rock of the late 70s and early 80s, and the early industrial scene of the same time, give it a listen. Found it at the Ezhevika Fields blog (which has nothing to do with Ezhevika the lead vocalist of Oyme, yet it's still great):

Venetian Snares - "Rossz Csillag Alatt Született" [2005]

Artist: Venetian Snares
Title: Rossz Csillag Alatt Született
Genre: Breakcore
Country: Canada
Release date: 2005

Track List:
  1. Sikertelenség
  2. Szerencsétlen
  3. Öngyilkos Vasárnap
  4. Felbomlasztott Mentökocsi
  5. Hajnal
  6. Galamb Egyedúl
  7. Második Galamb
  8. Szamár Madár
  9. Hiszékeny
  10. Kétsarkú Mozgalom 
  11. Senki Dala 
This is my favourite album in the whole Aaron Funk's large discography, and not only because it features a very interesting and unique mix of breakcore and classical music (see Wikipedia to find out what pieces of classical music were used on there). Most important of all, it's based on the urban legend of the "Hungarian suicide song" ("Szomorú Vasárnap" by Rezső Seress), which greatly impressed me at the time and became one of the most important reasons for me to became interested in the culture of Finno-Ugric peoples. As for Funk, he became interested in this story when he was on his European tour, after imagining himself turning into a pigeon on Budapest's Royal Palace, and he decided to record this album when he came back home to his cats in Winnipeg:

An extremely detailed musicological analysis of "Rossz Csillag Alatt Született" can be found here. Too technical for you? Check out this review then. It's a very interesting read (probably much better than anything that I could ever write on this subject), and I can relate to its author's feelings very well. Just like him, I have never self-harmed and have never attempted suicide, yet I'm diagnosed with depression (F32.1), and the late 2016-early 2017 period was especially horrible for me (thankfully it slowly gets better now).

Monday, November 20, 2017

Access To Arasaka / Erode / Dirk Geiger - "Reports From The Abyss" [2017]

Artist: Access To Arasaka / Erode / Dirk Geiger
Title: Reports From The Abyss
Genre: Industrial, Ambient, IDM
Country: USA
Release date: 2017

Track List:
  1. Reports From The Abyss
  2. Walking With Ghosts
  3. Reset
  4. Fallen Empires
  5. Null Moon
  6. No Place Called Home
  7. Reports From The Abyss [by Anklebiter]
  8. Walking With Ghosts by [Lights Out Asia]
  9. Reset [by Formalin]
  10. Fallen Empires [by Haujobb]
  11. Null Moon [by Displacer]
  12. No Place Called Home [by Dryft]
From Bandcamp: "A very unique collection of songs and different sub-genres that have been fused into something very Industrial, but so new and interesting". A very accurate description of this album, which contains 6 tracks recorded by Access To Arasaka & collaborators around 2012, with alternative versions of each track as a bonus. The whole thing sounds quite different from ATA's solo works, mainly because these tracks are songs rather than soundscapes. Unfortunately, Rob Lioy, the man behind the ATA moniker, is too busy with his family life now to record any new music (at least that's what I've heard), which is a pity because his albums are one of the best examples of the cyberpunk-themed music.

"As early as in the year of 2012 electronic solo artists Access To Arasaka, Erode and Dirk Geiger started reflecting about combining their powers and working like a real band. Their main objective was to write more song-orientated music instead of flowing soundscapes. After months of fruitful collaboration, they held three songs in their hands and felt very happy about the outcome. In quick succession another three promising tracks were finished.

Already during these sessions the idea of engaging other artists for alternative versions of these songs came up. Only artists that were influential and inspirational to the three actors were chosen. The good news is that all of the favored few were on board and did striking versions of said songs.

When everything was recorded and ready for mixing (mixing-session was scheduled literally for the next day!), Erode´s car was broken into and all harddrives plus backup hard drives were gone...
With nothing left and with a heavy heart the three decided to put the project to sleep. Frustrated but grateful for the experiences and the new made friends everybody went back to his business.

In 2016 Erode discovered some old backups in his studio and found fragments of Reports from the Abyss. First there were just some unorganized tracks, but step by step more and more material was brought to light. Within a few months they managed recovering all files. So Erode and Dirk Geiger plucked up courage to walk the extra mile and put everything together for a second time..." 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Time To Meet The Devil - "Inside the Monolith" [2016]

Artist: Time To Meet The Devil
Title: Inside The Monolith
Genre: Dark Ambient, Neoclassical
Country: Russia
Release date: 2016

Track List:
  1. Pure Delirium
  2. Thanatron
  3. Before The Haze
  4. Melting Core
  5. Deadlock
One member of TTMTDis from Volgograd and another one is from Novosibirsk, and this duo is considered to be one of the most interesting new projects on the Russian (post-)industrial scene. The "Inside the Monolith" EP is an attempt in creating futuristic/cyberpunk-themed music mostly inspired by the OSTs by Trent Reznor ("The Girl With Dragon Tattoo" and "Gone Girl), using FL Studio 4:

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Shadow Reichenstein - "Werewolf Order" [2005]

Artist: Shadow Reichenstein
Title: Werewolf Order
Genre: Gothic Rock, Horror Punk
Country: USA
Release date: 2005

Track List:
  1. Borgo Pass
  2. Dracula
  3. Werewolf Order
  4. It's Halloween
  5. Wakin' The Dead
  6. Tombstone... Call From The Grave
  7. Be My Victim
  8. It's Too Late
  9. Bela Was A Junkie
  10. In Search Of Loose Dirt 
  11. Concrete Shoes
At a first glance at the band name and the track titles, one would expect the music to be as stereotypical horror punk as possible. However, Shadow Reichenstein actually are (or were? there's no new material from them for a long time, and their site is defunct...) much better than many Misfits clones. "Werewolf Order" was one of the first horror punk albums I heard (along with early albums by Cancerslug and Nim Vind), and it remains one of my favourites even a decade later. The music on this album, while still can be securely defined as "horror punk", has a lot of gothic rock/metal influences, which is definitely a good thing too. My personal favourites are tracks #4, #6 and #8.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Rad Machine - "Taiga" [2015]

Artist: Rad Machine
Title: Taiga
Genre: Ambient, Techno, IDM
Country: Russia
Release date: 2015

Track List:
  1. Taiga
  2. Dirty Point
  3. Dansugosuto
The debut EP by Rad Machine, released a couple of years ago. Maybe it's slightly less mature than "Itkul Afterglow" in terms of sound, but it's still an interesting release recommended to any fan of obscure electronic music.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Rad Machine - "Itkul Afterglow" [2017]

Artist: Rad Machine
Title: Itkul Afterglow
Genre: Ambient, Techno, IDM
Country: Russia
Release date: 2017

Track List:
  1. High Tide
  2. Outskirt Sound 5
  3. Coluber
  4. Leaves
Rad Machine is an one-man electronic project by Valery Melekhin from Ekaterinburg, started as an ambient project but incorporated more techno and breakbeat elements into his music later on. Not much else is known about him, but his music is pretty good, even I normally don't listen much to the electronic music of this kind. This 12'' was presented on the Urals Industrial Biennale, and some people on there even thought they were listening to some previously unreleased EP by Aphex Twin :) Release notes:

"Itkul Afterglow will follow Melekhin's appearance on an Opal Tapes compilation of Russian music, titled USSR, with a set of cuts that run the gamut from deep, reverb-drenched outings to raw machine-driven funk.

The EP will drop digitally, on 12", and cassette, which will also feature four bonus tracks not on the digital and vinyl releases. The cover art for the release was sourced from an old postcard of Lake Itkul, a highly inspiring travel destination for Melekhin over the years"

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ragnar Grippe - "Sand" [1977]

Artist: Ragnar Grippe
Title: Sand
Genre: Ambient, Experimental Electronic, Musique Concrete
Country: Sweden
Release date: 1977

This highly minimalistic album, containing two long untitled tracks composed mostly of heavily reverberated analog synth sounds, is poorly known nowadays, but it made a significant influence on early industrial music scene. Not long ago it was re-released by Dais Records along with many other early industrial and experimental electronic classics. A little backstory on this album can be found here.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Юрий Морозов - "Погубить человечество" [1979]

Artist: Юрий Морозов
Title: Погубить человечество
Genre: Ambient, Experimental Electronic, Musique Concrete
Country: USSR
Release date: 1979

Track List:
  1. Ария демона
  2. Катастрофы
  3. Фиолетовая вибрация
  4. Летающие тарелки
  5. Мистерия эроса
  6. Битва бронтозавров
  7. Пляски машин
  8. Сигналы помощи
  9. Агония
The most experimental album by Yuri Morozov I've heard so far, even more so than his previous one. To be honest I have discovered the electronic/experimental part of his discography only not long ago, and so far I like it much more than his blues rock albums.

Of course, like in case with his other album I've posted about a week ago, you shouldn't expect much from a tape album which was never intended to be published widely - it was just an experiment by a guy who had access to a pretty advanced synthesizer for that time, and wanted to create something that sounds as scary and "alien" as possible. And I must admit that the result indeed reflects the atmosphere of the "dark" sci-fi of the 1960-80s quite well. It's far from being a masterpiece like "Martian Chronicles" by Solaris, but it's fascinating to know that music like this existed in the USSR as early as in late 1970s, and I'd recommend to anyone who would appreciate the atmosphere of apocalyptic sci-fi, the UFO craze and the nuclear war scare of that time.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Юрий Морозов - "Неизъяснимое" [1978]

Artist: Юрий Морозов
Title: Неизъяснимое
Genre: Ambient, Musique Concrete
Country: USSR
Release date: 1978

Unsurprisingly, I find the experimental electronic part of Yuri Morozov's vast discography much more interesting than his blues rock albums that he was primarily famous for (and not only because it's much "darker" in terms of atmosphere it creates). This album, recorded in the second part of 1970s, consists of 5 untitled instrumental tracks of synthesizer improvisation with some psychedelic rock elements mixed in.

Unsurprisingly again, this album is/was unpopular in the mainstram rock community, but it seems to be highly valued among the fans of more experimnetal stuff. I even have seem it being compared to Throbbing Gristle by industrial fans, and to Henry Cow and Aksak Maboul by RIO fans. Of course I won't go that far - after all, it was recorded just for personal satisfaction by a guy who managed to get his hands on a synthesizer and professtional recording equipment. I highly doubt he could know about any of the aforementioned bands at the time, but nevertheless, I have to agree that the material on this album strangely resemble a lot of much better known experimental music from the mid-1970s.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Юрий Морозов - "Свадьба кретинов" [1976]

Artist: Юрий Морозов
Title: Свадьба кретинов
Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Proto-Punk
Country: USSR
Release date: 1976

Track List:
  1. Конформист 
  2. Кретин 
  3. Не знаю, за что 
  4. Дай крылья мне, Бог 
  5. А мне и так конец 
  6. Свадьба кретинов (Бродяга пес) 
  7. Сон 
  8. Черный пес
Yuri Morozov's name is largely unknown to modern Russian rock fans, but he was a cult figure during the 1970s, mainly because he was one of the first to record several proper rock albums in the USSR. He started his first band in late 1969 when he lived in North Ossetia, but his early works were far from rock music - it was mostly acoustic singer-songwriter stuff usual for the 1960s Soviet independent music scene. Three years later, he started to work at a Melodia studio in Leningrad as a sound engineer. So, he was lucky to have access to the professional recording equipment, which enabled him to record several albums in good quality (if you really want to know how awful most amateur recordings from that time were, check out this or this).

In the early 1980s he became increasingly religious and quite reclusive in his lifestyle. During the late 1980s Russian rock boom he formed a new band which wasn't particularly successful. Until his death in 2006, he worked mostly as a sound engineer and a writer, yet he's now remembered mostly as a multi-instrumentalist and a pioneer of Soviet rock.

His discography is quite vast, consisting of 50 or so albums, ranging from psychedelic rock and hard rock to electronic/ambient. This album is his best known work, recorded at his workplace in 1976 and released on tape in 1977. The vocals for a couple of songs, which had some "risky" lyrics, were recorded at home. Lines like "I'm a cretin and I love it!" would indeed fit into the lyrics of any early punk band quite well, but as a whole, this album is fairly typical psychedelic/hard rock of the early 1970s. It is also noticeably different in tone from his early recordings, which were more lighthearted, with fairly inoffensive lyrical topics of the "wine, women and songs" variety, while this one is much gloomier, with a prominent theme of death and suicide; the topics of spirituality and non-conformism are also present. Overall, this album might be nothing special by the measures of the Western rock scene of that time, but it was a breakthrough for the Soviet rock scene, and it certainly doesn't deserve to be forgotten. Enjoy:

Monday, September 11, 2017

Игорь Лень - "Здесь..." [1989]

Artist: Игорь Лень
Title: Здесь...
Genre: Ambient, New Age
Country: USSR
Release date: 1989

Track List:
  1. Голос
  2. Приговор
  3. Тебе...
  4. Срыв
  5. Блюз
  6. Здесь...
Here'sthe one and only solo album of Igor Len, a Moscow Conservatory-educated composer and sound producer who was an important member of Николай Коперник. His music can quite fairly be termed "dark ambient" with its depressive atmosphere unusual for most early Soviet electronic music. Anyway, he had a luxury of having his album released on vinyl by Melodia in 1989. It contains material from two his earlier demo tapes, dedicated to the works of Arseny & Andrey Tarkovsky. Download link for the MP3 rip shamelessly stolen from this blog (which I already have credited several times on here):

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Николай Коперник - "Родина" [1986]

Artist: Николай Коперник
Title: Родина
Genre: Post-Punk, New Wave, Art Rock
Country: USSR
Release date: 1986

Track List:
  1. Горцы
  2. В небесах лазурных
  3. Дымки
  4. Музы
  5. Юкагиры
  6. Конники
  7. Там, вдали
  8. Руда
  9. Родина
Named in honour of Nicholaus Copernicus, this band was formed in 1981 by Moscow-based composers Yuri Orlov and Igor Len. Their music has very little in common with what's usually called "Russian rock", and to be honest, that's a good thing. They released only one full-length album on tape in 1986, and one more 7'' officially released by Melodia in 1988-89, but these releases were good enough to earn them a cult status in the Moscow underground scene. The band reformed in 2005 and released a new album (which is very good as well) in 2012.

As far as I know, they had chances to work with such musicians was Peter Gabriel and Frank Zappa, but they never became a particularly well-known band - likely because their music was too experimental for an average Russian rock listener. This album isn't an exception, yet the level of songwriting on it is well above many much better known Soviet rock bands. Interestingly enough, there's even a song dedicated to one small tribe in the far Northeastern Siberia that not everyone knows about :)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Дурное Влияние - "Неподвижность" [1989]

Artist: Дурное Влияние
Title: Неподвижность
Genre: Post-Punk, Gothic Rock
Country: USSR
Release date: 1989

Track List:
  1. 24 часа
  2. Если я лгу
  3. Дай мне уйти
  4. Неподвижность
  5. Жизнь как болезнь
  6. Мёртвые смотрят вверх
  7. Сейчас
  8. Спать 
  9. 24 часа (видеомикс)
  1. Неподвижность (2012 version)
  2. Дай мне уйти (2012 version)
  3. Кто здесь? (Петля Нестерова cover)
"Дурное Влияние (Bad Influence) was a Russian coldwave band featuring members from earlier band projects Механический Балет and Монумент Страха. The band released their debut album Неподвижность (Immobility) in 1989" (

As far as I know, they were one of the most influental Soviet post-punk bands of that time, and they're widely credited as one of the first Russian gothic rock bands. The band existed from November 1987 to the summer of 1990 (according to other sources, 1991), and made a reunion during 2011-12. Their only full-length album was recorded in November 1989 at a home studio in Peterhof. The quality of production is unsurprisingly poor, but isn't it something to be expected from an obscure 80's post-punk band?..

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Der Golem - "Zmet" [1999]

Artist: Der Golem
Title: Zmet
Genre: Post-Punk, Noise Rock
Country: Russia
Release date: 1999

Track List:
  1. Нет
  2. Оригинальная мелодия
  3. Древние звёзды
  4. Bravo
  5. Солнце мёртвых
  6. Целуя твои корни
  7. Пан
  8. Птицы
  9. Исход 1
  10. Исход 2
Named after the best known work by Gustav Meyrink, Der Golem was a short-lived project formed by Roman Sidorov (Старуха Мха, Sedativ, Fatal) and Dmitry Zubov (Hypnoz, Zuboff Sex Shop) in a small town near Moscow. They have released two albums during 1999-2000, the first one (which is presented here) being mainly post-punk, while the second one is mostly industrial noise/drone.

Roman Sidorov committed suicide in September 2003, and Dmitry Zubov died in October 2011. Their legacy was mostly unknown beyond the most committed fans of underground music, until Der Golem was rediscovered by hipsters in early 2010s. Anyway, "Zmet" is very good (if not a masterpiece) and certainly doesn't deserve to be forgotten. The opening track, in particular, is one of the most depressive compositions I've heard in my life (and I've listened to quite a lot of depressive music)...

Миссия:Антициклон - "С миссией в Москве" [1990]

Artist: Миссия:Антициклон
Title: С миссией в Москве
Genre: Post-Punk, New Wave
Country: USSR
Release date: 1990

Track List:
  1. Вот и вся любовь
  2. Цветочки и ягодки
  3. В этом пальто
  4. Если это революция
  5. Будет время
  6. Что дальше?
  7. Дурацкий танец
  8. Эпитафия
This band was formed in 1986 in Magadan of all places. Even this very remote town in the Soviet Far East was experiencing a rock music "boom" at the time, and the local bands were known for their quite specific guitar sound. Initially, M:A were playing glam rock and something that was described by A.Kushnir as "some unknown sort of grunge", but this particular album sounds like typical post-punk/new wave from the 80s (not surprising, since the Magadan scene of that time was strongly influenced by such bands as Japan and Talking Heads).

The whole tape was recorded during 3 days in Moscow on a professional 24-channel tape recorder, and the quality of production is very good for a Soviet post-punk band. The best track on the whole album is undoubtedly #4, which would be a very fitting theme song for the late perestroika times. Interestingly, the band still exist in some form, although their Facebook page isn't very active.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Монумент Страха - "Весна" [1991]

Artist: Монумент Страха
Title: Весна
Genre: Post-Punk, Industrial Rock
Country: USSR
Release date: 1991

Track List:
  1. Ещё Есть Время
  2. Новогодняя Песня
  3. Jazz Как Ты
  4. Ино-о
  5. Я Скучаю
  6. О Дитя, Спи Спокойно
  7. Весна
  8. Эпилог
Here's a quite curious discovery I made just yesterday. I've never heard of this band before, but their sound is surprisingly close to that of the much better known industrial rock and no-wave bands of the 80s, to the point of being hard to believe it was recorded in Saint Petersburg (which was still called Leningrad back then).

According to Discogs, it was "recorded in February 1991 by Andrei 'Teacher' Nikolaev at Y.K.Home, Saint Petersburg. Edition of 30 copies". Apparently there were at least two more band members, one of which played such unconventional instruments as an electric saw and various metal objects. The end result is slow and repetitive post-punk/noise rock with distorted vocals. There's at least one more release from them, recorded in 1989-90, which I definitely will search for.

Мёртвые Уши - "Большое железо" [1978]

Artist: Мёртвые Уши
Title: Большое железо
Genre: Garage Rock, Proto-Punk
Country: USSR
Release date: 1978

Track List:
  1. Интро
  2. Амазонка
  3. Ковбой
  4. Дикий Jazz & Rock-n-Roll
  5. Solo 1
  6. Большое путешествие (фрагмент)
  7. Solo 2
  8. Большое путешествие
  9. Приезжайте к нам
  10. В дебрях
  11. Политинформация
  12. Верхом на осле
  13. Deutsches Lied
  14. Песня о неврастенике
  15. Дитя в раздумье
  16. Песня против нейтронной бомбы
  17. Бешеная овца
  18. Баллада о старом Джоне
  19. С одесского кичмана...
  20. Песня о пионерском галстуке
  21. Экспромт
  22. Всё!
Yes, that's a school band that would later (around 1981) become Облачный Край. It was recorded by S.Bogaev, O.Rautkin and the Lyskovski brothers when they all were in their teens. The only instruments they had back then were an acoustic guitar, a homemade 3-string bass, and a toy keyboard called "Mickey" (not counting various so-called "percussion" such as saucers and garbage cans). Strangely enough, the end result turned out to be much more listenable that you'd expect (at least listening to it isn't going to cause ear death, contrary to what the band's name would suggest). However, these tracks were never properly released until 2009, when this album (more like a collection of rehearsal demos) was included in the band's anthology.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Цыганята И Я С Ильича - "Гаубицы Лейтенанта Гурубы" [1989]

Artist: Цыганята И Я С Ильича
Title: Гаубицы Лейтенанта Гурубы
Genre: Noise Rock
Country: USSR
Release date: 1989

Track List:
  1. Гаубицы Лейтенанта Гурубы
  2. На Блаженном Острове Коммунизма
  3. Митрополит Ипполит
  4. Парики, Шиньоны, Косы
  5. Не Трожь!
  6. Импровизация На Тему Слов
  7. Песня Гвоздя
  8. Опоздавшая Молодёжь
  9. Хожу, Хожу
  10. Спать
  11. Русские
  12. Новый Год
  13. Ева, Адам
  14. Быстротечные Синьоры
  15. Письмо
  16. Гусар И Верка Зозуля
  17. Непобедимый
  18. На Острове Пасхи
  19. Кума
  20. Урбанизм-Детерминизм
  21. От Реальной Жизни К Мелодичному Мышлению
  22. Стачка Шахтеров В Кузбассе
This is a "supergroup" formed by some of the biggest figures in the Siberian punk scene (namely Egor Letov, Oleg "Manager" Sudakov and Konstantin "Kuzya UO" Ryabinin) in 1988. By that time, all kind of Russian rock already have broke into the mainstream, but Letov and his friends weren't happy about their sudden popularity at all. That was the main reason as to why their sound became more and more experimental by the end of 1980s, culminating in this project, which is considered by many people to be one of the first industrial rock bands in USSR/Russia.

They have recorded two albums in 1989 and 1990, the first of which has gained a cult status in the underground music circles. Well, here it is, and  it is definitely not the stuff for everyone. It's full of absurd lyrics sang in many different styles, from spoken word samples to aggressive schrieking, combined with the noisy wall of guitar sound. Truly something that only could be conceived and recorded in the atmosphere of late perestroika in the USSR. Not an easy listen for sure - but it wasn't intended to please the listener, after all.

БМ - "Конструкции Звуков" [1985]

Artist: БМ
Title: Конструкции Звуков
Genre: Minimal Electro, Synthpop, Experimental
Country: USSR
Release date: 1985 (2009 re-release)

Track List:
  1. В Машинный Мир
  2. Машинистка
  3. Постамент
  4. Деталь
  5. Завтра
  6. Автокоммутатор
  7. Звуковые Конструкции
БМ/BM was a moniker of Alexander Somov, the pioneer of Izhevsk electronic music scene (which was an unique cultural phenomenon, quite strong during the 1990s but unfortunately dead by now). He never received any sort of musical education, but it didn't stop him from recording 3 tape albums with the help of his friends at the discotheque he worked in. His traces were lost in the chaos of the post-Soviet 90s (there are rumors that he was murdered), but one of his tapes was unearthed and re-released on CD in 2009.

Musically, it strongly reminds me of some works by Kraftwerk, and I'd say that the title of this release is quite appropriate - it's indeed "sound design" or 'sound constructions" rather than music in the traditional meaning of this word. Of course you shouldn't expect much from a guy that was recording it at his home in 1985, using only two cheap tape recorders, yet it still is a very interesting artifact from the early days of Izhevsk scene.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

V/A - "Russische Hometapers (De Fabriek Records & Tapes)" [1985]

"Quite a curious compilation this one, released by De Fabriek on some trip to Russia in 1985. Not really indexed, so its hard to say who does what here..."
Yeah, that's the problem - it's very hard to say which parts of this (indeed very curious) tape were produced by Soviet experimental musicians, and which - by their Dutch colleagues. From what I could find on the net, those Soviet musicians seem to be S.L. Krutikov (an Ukrainian musician and avant-garde artist), G. Feigin (a well-known violinist now living in Tokyo) and A. Tselikovski (not much info on him). They porbably should be credited for all the samples of Soviet music and radio broadcasts, while the Dutch staff of De Fabriek is most likely responsible for the noise parts and the cut-up technique.

The material on this 40 minutes long tape is quite diverse, ranging from the samples of classical music and military marches (often very martial industrial-like) to the samples of radio & TV broadcasts in various languages, harsh noise, and minimal synth parts. The download link is available in a blog linked above (which is a great resourse for every fan of obscure early industrial music, I must say).

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Linija Mass - "1987" [2007]

Artist: Linija Mass
Title: 1987
Genre: Percussion Industrial, Noise
Country: Russia
Release date: 2007

Linija Mass is one of the earliest Soviet industrial/noise projects that already was mentioned on my blog several times. This 3'' CD, released in 2007 as a part of the Linija Mass boxset, contains two untitled tracks slightly less than 5 minutes in total length. If I understand correctly, these are the earliest known recordings by LM from 1987, which would make them one of the earliest examples of Soviet industrial, along with the early demos by StereoZoldat and ZGA. Just like all other releases by LM, this one consists mostly of percussion noise inspired mostly by the history and aesthetics of the Soviet industrialization era (1920-30s).

Alexander Lebedev-Frontov, the mastermind of LM, claims to become interested in such music as early as in 1973, when he bought a bootleg 7'' expecting to hear a new song by The Beatles, and getting several minutes of pure noise instead. Later on, he found out about the "musique concrete" movement and the Italian futurism, and started his own musical experiments in 1979. No recordings survived from these times, however.

Malhavoc - "The Release" [1990]

Artist: Malhavoc
Title: The Release
Genre: Thrash Metal, Industrial Metal
Country: Canada
Release date: 1990

Track List:
  1. Release
  2. S.C.E.X.
  3. Second Image
  4. Cruciform
  5. A Portrait Of (William Wilson)
  6. Age of Desire
  7. Released
  8. S.C.E.X. (XXX-Rated)
One of the earliest industrial metal bands, Malhavoc started in 1983 as a thrash metal project, but switched to more electronic/industrial kind of sound on their debut full-length album, named simply "The Release". Prior to that I've heard only their 1986 demo "Age of the Dark Renaissance" which I disliked, but this album is quite good (maybe not 100 points out of 100, as it was rated on, but still good).

Thunder Rider - "Tales of Darkness and Light" [1989]

Artist: Thunder Rider
Title: Tales of Darkness and Light
Genre: Epic Heavy Metal
Country: Canada
Release date: 1989

Track List:
  1. Death To Death
  2. Electric Chair
  3. Executioner
  4. For Christ's Sake
  5. Rain Dance
  6. Blackwing
  7. Galaxy
  8. Preacher
This is a fairly unique release from the late 80s' Canadian metal scene which I discovered thanks to the Vibrations of Doom archive of classic albums. A pretty detailed description of this album is given here, and I fully agree that it's quite strange to say the least. Most people indeed associate the term "epic heavy metal" with Manilla Road or Manowar -inspired stuff, but that's definitely not the case here. Perhaps the "atmospheric heavy metal" label would fit it much better, although I haven't seen it being used by anyone else. Anyway, it's a weird but great and undeservedly forgotten album. Enjoy!

Solar Eagle - s/t [1988]

Artist: Solar Eagle
Title: Solar Eagle
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Country: Canada
Release date: 1988

Track List:
  1. See
  2. Dimensional Charter
  3. Tree Of Snakes
  4. Lost Season
This very obscure Canadian band released only one 12'' EP and one more cassette demo in the late 1980s. Two of their members later went on to form a band called Candle Opera, which likewise didn't get much publicity. Pretty much everything else that's known about Solar Eagle (not very much) can be found on this page.

What can be said about this release? Simplistic but nice cover art with a pleasant color scheme, well played music in the typical 80s' USPM style. Recommended to everyone who's into obscure early speed/power metal: