Saturday, March 17, 2018

Gods Tower - "The Turns" [1997]

Artist: Gods Tower
Title: The Turns
Genre: Pagan Doom Metal
Country: Belarus
Release date: 1997

Track List:
  1. Intro / The Turns
  2. I Am the Raven
  3. Seven Rains of Fire
  4. Twilight Sun
  5. An Eye for an Eye
  6. Rising Arrows
  7. Blood
  8. Mysterious
  9. Iprit (bonus)
  10. Eversleepside (bonus)
  11. Inis Afalon (bonus)
The importance of this band for the history of metal scene in Belarus is hard to overestimate. It can be said for sure that they were the first doom metal there, as well as the first pagan metal band (and, quite likely, one of the first pagan metal bands in the whole ex-USSR).

They were formed initially as a thrash metal band in 1989 by Alexander Urakov and his friend best known under the moniker "Lesley Knife". Initially they took the name "Ranger", but changed it to "Chemical Warfare" shortly thereafter. After releasing a demo tape in 1992, they finally switched their style to doom metal and took their current name "Gods Tower".

After several lineup changes mid-1990, they have released several demos, and finally, in 1997 - two full-length albums named "The Turns" and "The Eerie". By that time, they already were a quite well-known and actively touring bands, but unfortunately, their lifestyle was the embodiment of all negative stereotypes of post-Soviet rock/metal scene during the 1990s and early 2000s - most importantly of all, excessive drinking, which caused the band to split up in 2001. Alexander Urakov died in late 2003 due to liver failure caused by alcoholism, and their second guitarist Alexander Eristov died an year after from the same cause. In 2010, Lesley Knife decided to bring the band back together.

I personally found out about Gods Tower when I was a teenager, shortly after A. Urakov has died. Back then, i was reading a Minsk-based zine Legion, the only metal magazine I had access to at that time. "The Turns" still remains my favourite work out of all their 3 full-length albums. Its quiality of production is of course far from perfect, and the lyrics can seem quite naive at times, but they managed to produce an unique kind of doom metal with "ritualistic" pagan atmosphere and psychedelic folk melodies, largely thanks to A. Urakov's guitar skills. Listen to the track "Seven Rains of Fire" to get a good example of what I'm talking about. My personal favourites on this album, however, are "Rising Arrows" and especially "An Eye for an Eye":

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Ashes You Leave - "The Passage Back to Life" [1998]

Artist: Ashes You Leave
Title: The Passage Back To Life
Genre: Death/Doom Metal
Country: Croatia
Release date: 1998

Track List:
  1. Salva Me (Intro)
  2. The Passage Back to Life
  3. Thorn of the Dead Flower
  4. Drowning in My Dreams
  5. Lay Down Alone
  6. White Chains
  7. Tears
Debut album of one of the lesser known death/doom metal bands from the 90s, which impressed me a lot back during my university years. Just like in case with many other such bands, they took on a more "soft" gothic metal style later on, but these attempts turn out to be rather boring (which may be one of the reasons why they remained relatively unknown outside of Eastern Europe). As for their early period, literally every review I've read compares them to MDB, and while this album is indeed very similar to "Turn Loose the Swans" by MDB, it certainly has its own atmosphere - not in the least due to the use of female vocals (sometimes in the "folk" manner), flute, and gypsy violin. Thanks to for the link:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

neNasty - "Когда уходят тени" [2006]

Artist: neNasty
Title: Когда уходят тени
Genre: Industrial Death/Doom Metal
Country: Russia
Release date: 2006

Track List:
  1. Холод (intro)
  2. Тишина
  3. Легенда осени
  4. Воспарив
  5. В морозную ночь
  6. Не жалея об ошибках
  7. Куда уходят тени
  8. Не видишь
  9. Призрачная грусть
Since it's 8th of March, I'm going to post something with female vocals as usual, and this time it's going to be one of the early projects by Senmuth, started in 2003 as a collaboration with the vocalist Anastasia Turenkova. Like in case with many other Senmuth's side projects, they never saw each other in person, yet they managed to record two full-length albums over the Internet during 2003-2007. Here's the second (and unfortunately the last) one, which is significanly better produced than their debut.

Musically, it's quite similar to the "metal" part of Senmuth's solo discography, being death-doom metal with lots of electronic/industrial elements. What, however, makes this album very different is Anastasia's vocal work. Her voice is awesome, even if her singing manner may seem a bit unprofessional at times. The lyrics unfortunately are very stereotypical by today's measure, but still fine for mid-2000s gothic metal. Overall, this album is surely not perfect, yet it's a very interesting artifact of its time which makes me nostalgic of the period when I was listening to a lot of death/doom metal (a largely forgotten genre by now, it was quite big from the mid-90s to the mid-2000s).