Wednesday, May 22, 2019

DBS - "Orthodox Imperialist" [2018]

Artist: DBS (Deutsche Berittene Spetsnaz)
Title: Orthodox Imperialist
Genre: EBM, Aggro-Industrial
Country: Russia
Year: 2018

Track List:
  1. Rasputin
  2. Tanzen
  3. Orthodox Imperialist
  4. Viva Las Vegas
  5. Donald
  6. KFZ
  7. Alaska
  8. Body Roots
  9. Golden Panzer
  10. Texas Overdrive
Even if the public interest in gothic and industrial scenes is on the sharp decline during the 2010s (at least here), DBS continue to actively perform live, and their new album is perhaps the best in their discography. Of course their trademark humour is very much present on there. On "Orthodox Imperialist", Herr Major is coming to America and even manages to solve the mystery of Donald Trump's ancestry. The parody of Sepultura's "Roots Bloody Roots" is also remarkable (and it's not the first time DBS are doing something like that: they have released a cover EP of black metal classics in 2008). And if you don't want to pay €5 to Bandcamp, the whole album is officially available as a free download here

DBS - "Suprematismus" [2010]

Artist: DBS
Title: Suprematismus
Genre: EBM, Aggro-Industrial
Country: Russia
Year: 2010

Track List:
  1. Intro. God save the Tsar
  2. Der Jäger
  3. Die Heldentat
  4. Tchapaev
  5. Kokainetka
  6. Die Bären
  7. Roten Partisanen
  8. Das Morphium
  9. Boss
  10. Outro. Surovie Godi
DBS stands for "Deutsche Berittene Spetsnaz" or "German Mounted Special Forces", and from the name alone you can guess that they doesn't take themselves too seriously. I'd call them a Russian answer to Hanzel & Gretyl if not for the fact that their music is much more influenced by old school EBM rather than NDH. Actually, DBS along with their side project Strong Product are among the very few projects that have played old school EBM in ex-USSR. DBS themselves prefer to call their style "bodybilly", since they mix the sound of Electronic Body Music with the punk attitude and the aesthetics of rockabilly and psychobilly.

Most releases of DBS are conceptual works telling the story of "Herr Major", a fictional character that's the mascot of DBS (much like Eddie is the mascot of Iron Maiden, for example). This particular album tells us about the adventures of Herr Major during the years of Russian Revolution/Civil War and the New Economic Policy. Malevich's Suprematism, 20's cabaret and operetta, cocaine and morphine - "Suprematismus" mentions everything about the culture of early XX century that later influenced the early industrial scene. The militaristic attitude typical for early EBM is also on there, but presented in a rather comical way.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Veprisuicida - s/t [1996]

Artist: Veprisuicida
Title: Veprisuicida (Веприсуицида)
Genre: Noise
Country: Russia
Year: 1996

Track List:
  1. Травматизм
  2. Центрифуга
  3. Фанатизм
  4. Сто миллионов погибают славной смертью
  5. Монголия
  6. Травматизм-2
Veprisuicida is another moniker of Alexander Lebedev-Frontov, the very first industrial musician in USSR/Russia, better known for Linija Mass. All Lebedev-Frontov's projects are aimed to be industrial music in its pure form, deeply rooted in the avant-garde art of of the early XX century (Italian and Russian futurism, Swiss and French dadaism and "musique concrete", and early Soviet avant-garde music like A. Avraamov's "Symphony of Factory Sirens"). I completely agree that the history and aesthetics of the first half of XX century were a massive source of inspiration for many industrial / noise projects, and while this album (or anything else by Lebedev-Frontov) isn't something to listen to on a regular basis, it wasn't supposed to be an easy or pleasant listen anyway:

The project was named after an avant-garde short movie made in 1988. The author defined its genre as "necrorealism" and claimed it to be a critique of militarism (although I'm sure it was just an attempt to make it more acceptable to the Soviet establishment of the time). It's only 4 minutes long, so you may just watch it and decide by yourself if its plot makes any sense:

It should be also noted that the same name was used for a fake band that was claimed to be the first to play heavy metal in the USSR (as early as in 1976). In fact, both "their" music and the photos (apparently chosen for the funny looks of the musicians) belonged to a late 80s obscure metal band from the Belorussian SSR:

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Прокатный Стан - "Нюрнберг" [2010]

Artist: Прокатный Стан
Title: Нюрнберг
Genre: Rhythmic Noise, Dark Ambient
Country: Russia
Release date: 2010

This album, consisting of 4 untitled tracks, was apparently created with a purpose to demonstrate that Soviet military marches mix quite well with martial industrial and rhythmic noise. Nothing is known about the band member(s), so there's not much to say, yet for some reason I'm sure they aren't newcomers to the genre. The music itself ranges from dark ambient to pretty harsh rhythmic noise, with a lot of samples from WWII speeches and marches. This album is comparable to Pyongyang Hardcore Resistance's "Corea" in both sound and aesthetics, and the mystery surrounding the project. Won't recommend it to anyone who isn't a big fan of rhythmic noise, but if you're searching for something in the vein of PHC and TPROE, but with more focus on the WWII era Soviet art and propaganda, check it out.

Title translation: The Rolling Mill - Nürnberg (Nuremberg). Discogs say it was released on under Creative Commons license, but I can't find it anywhere on (if you can, please tell me). However, you can listen to it here or on YouTube.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Theodor Bastard - "Vetvi" [2015]

Artist: Theodor Bastard
Title: Vetvi
Genre: Darkwave, Ethnic Electronica, New Age, Trip-Hop
Country: Russia
Release date: 2015

Track List:
  1. Umbraya Erze
  2. Vetvi
  3. Salameika
  4. Kukushka
  5. Aion
  6. Niti
  7. Veter (feat. Namgar)
  8. Yaard
  9. Beliy Gorod
  10. Kolodec
The best known Russian ethnic electronica band which most likely was a major source of inspiration for projects like Lovozero. Theodor Bastard started in the second half of 90s inititally as an experimental industrial/noise project in the vein of Coil and Nurse With Wound, and the later album "BossaNova_Trip" (2001) at times sounds surprisingly similar to much later works by Access To Arasaka. By 2004, Theodor Bastard became a full band and radically changed their sound in favour of darkwave and neofolk, which brought them worldwide recognition. During the second half of 2000s, they actively toured Europe and have shared the scene with such high profile bands as Nine Inch Nails, Spiritual Front and Von Thronstahl.

"Vetvi" is their latest up to date LP, strongly inspired by the atmosphere of Russian North, especially Karelia. The album name is a reference to the branches of the mythological World Tree (Arbor mundi). Another prominent lyrical topic on "Vetvi" is the theme of death (especially of the loved ones). Musically, it's ethereal/darkwave kind of world music, strongly inspired by Dead Can Dance and early Massive Attack, but rooted in the folk tradition of Russian North. The members of Theodor Bastard travel extensively, and draw the inspiration from various folk traditions from Russian North (which is my favourite travel destination as well) to Middle East.

The best song on "Vetvi", in my opinion, is the opening one "Umbraya Erze". It sounds very beautiful, although I have no idea about the language of the lyrics (someone has said they're in Old Norse, but I'm not sure about it at all):

Some more music videos off this album:

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Tikhie Kamni - "Zemli" [2015]

Artist: Tikhie Kamni
Title: Zemli
Genre: Ambient, Folktronica
Country: Russia
Release date: 2015

Track List:
  1. Rukava
  2. Zemli / Crimea
  3. Khibiny
  4. Vethii
  5. Sokolgora
  6. Yarkii
  7. Tam Dojd’
  8. Podlesok
Tikhie Kamni ("Silent Stones", taken from a line from the song "Khibiny") is a collaboration between members of Lovozero and Moa Pillar. Compared to Lovozero, the sound is more minimalistic and ambient-oriented. The tracks are mostly instrumental or with lyrics that fit into a single line. Overall, it isn't as interesting as Lovozero's solo works, but certainly enjoyable, especially because I feel close to the theme of this album:
"A duo of Anastasia Tolchneva (Lovozero) and Fedor Pereverzev (Moa Pillar) have recorded "Zemli" ("Lands") hiking, making field recordings and improvising while on the road – and what a soulful ambient record it is!

No status, no background, no ego, no bullshit. Heartfelt folk vistas make way for ethereal Cocteau Twins-style cuts, deep drones, aural accidents and minimalist piano. These songs are sonic diaries of young people exploring Russia's valleys and hills, rivers and lakes. Not intended for a release, the personal recordings possess that strange magic lots of "psychedelic collage" records lack.

Anastasia and Fedor are no strangers to audio-production, though. Pereverzev's Moa Pillar project is one of the Russian scene's best-kept secrets – he makes that kind of eerie bass music that's rooted in song and dipped in power ambient. Tolchneva's solo act Lovozero is a different beast whatsoever: think beats with digital sheen and Russian folk song.

Tikhie Kamni is a true gem – quiet, intimate and easy to miss. Music made for no one that can be enjoyed by anyone"

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

UUTAi - "Live Jew's Harp" [2013]

Artist: UUTAi
Title: Live Jew's Harp
Genre: Folk, New Age
Country: Russia (Yakutia)
Release date: 2013

Track List:
  1. Silence Breath
  2. Sky Songs
  3. Races
  4. Water Games
  5. The Lunar Shaman
  6. Legend About Ancient Fights
  7. Races (Strana 03 rmx)
After posting Lovozero on here, I thought it'd wouldn't hurt to post Uutai too. Uutai plays Yakutian khomus, an instrument which for some unknown reason is commonly called "Jew's harp" in English, although it doesn't have anything to do with Jews and traditional Jewish music. There's some confusion about her real name: according to the cover art of this album, it's Olga Podluzhnaya; however, Uutai refers to herself as Olena (an Ukrainian name, although Uutai says she doesn't have Ukrainian roots and doesn't know the language). Anyway, she's a very talented musician whose music certainly should be recorded to anyone who's into Siberian shamanic folk (like the solo works of Veronika Oshulik).

Uutai became widely known after the video of one of her performances ("Siberian shaman lady") went viral on Youtube, and it's well deserved - her performance was amazing, and her vocal abilites (including the ability to imitate animal sounds) are great. Funny enough, a lot of people in the comments say that she has very beautiful armpits - that'd be one of the most original compliments I've heard of :)

After the success of this video, she performed at a lot of shows in various countries, but in come cases her music wasn't met well (understandable, because her style is too weird and exotic for an unexperienced listener). However, her performance on Britain's Got Talent apparently was quite successful:

Kageraw - s/t [2013]

Artist: Kageraw
Title: Kageraw
Genre: Ambient, Musique Concrete
Country: Russia
Release date: 2013

Track List:
  1. Когда приходит весна, я знаю мы будем счастливы
  2. loodust imetlema
  3. аrmastuseavaldus
  4. hingerahu
  5. viik
  6. one year old
  7. военная добыча
  8. loodust imetlema (vocal version)
A quite unusual album consisting mostly of piano melodies mixed with the sounds of nature and whispering spoken word vocals. More than half of the track names are in Estonian (no idea why). The later releases from Kageraw gravitate towards pure piano sound and meditation/yoga music, and the earlier stuff (including this debut album) is more experimental and therefore more in the spirit of my blog. Out of what was posted on here before, I'd compare it to "Slower Structures" by Tamás Kátai - it's just as atmospheric, minimalistic, melancholic and piano-driven, albeit noticeably more lo-fi.  According to the release notes, it was recorded at home in Zhukovsky (Moscow region) during the 2012-2013, and finished on the first days of May, 2013 - so, exactly 6 years ago.

Kageraw's real name is Yulia, and she was playing in several punk and metal bands at the time this album was released. Aside from music, she's apparently very interested in photography and visual art in general (judging from her Instagram and other social media), and just like many other female musicians, she's a bit of an amateur model herself. In particular, I really liked this photo of her:

The scenery and composition is amazing, as well as the post-processing. And as a bonus to that, Yulia has quite beautiful legs ;) But let's go back to her music:

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Lovozero - "Zagovory" [2015]

Artist: Lovozero
Title: Zagovory
Genre: Ambient, Folktronica
Country: Russia
Release date: 2015

Track List:
  1. Raspevy
  2. Travy
  3. Oberegy
  4. Zagovory
  5. Domoi
This project caught my attention because it's named after one of the biggest lakes in the European part of Russian Arctic and the centre of Kildin Sami culture in Russia.  With such a name, it just don't have the right to be bad, and this EP indeed turned out to be pretty interesting.

Lovozero is an alias of Anastasia Tolchneva, who mixes the authentic folk music of the Russian North (the ethnocultural region that I absolutely love) with the ambient/new age electronica - basically, the Northern Russian folk tradition adapted for the modern hipster's taste. According to Anastasia: "It is not about cultural codes. These compositions are my intuitive responses to chaotic life scenarios". The "Zagovory" EP, described as "spells and electrical roundelays", is her most accessible release (at least compared to the subsequient full-length album "Moroka", which is much more experimental). Very beautiful music, just like the nature of the region where that folk tradition comes from. Enjoy:

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Oyme - "Horol Ebel" (music video)

Oyme is one of the few bands whose news I follow very closely. They're an unique all-female project whose mission is to collect the authentic folk music of Finno-Ugric minorities of Russia (the cultures unfourtunately very few people care about), and to make its modern interpretations. However, this new song and music video is based on the pre-Islamic folklore of the Nakh-Dagestani (more precisely, Avar) people:

The leading voice of Oyme, Ezhevika Spirkina, is a professional ethnomusicologist that's very happy to answer any question about the cultures she studies. Last year she spent quite a lot of time and efforts to gather the obscure musical folklore of rural parts of Dagestan (she met with the members of Inoe, among others), and the first results you can see in the video above. The name of the song and video translates to "Mother of Wind", which is a reference to a pre-Islamic Avar deity.

It should be noted, though, that this work got a lot of flak from both the radical nationalist elements among the Finno-Ugric peoples (which perceived an interest in a non-FU culture, especially a Muslim one, as a betrayal, although being interested in different cultures is a crucially important part of being a good ethnographer), and some strictly religious people in Dagestan which didn't take well the perceived pagan connotations of the video (even if Ezhevika explicitly stated that's now what the video is about). Some of them also didn't like her attire - which is surely un-Islamic, and doesn't need to be (needless to say she's also a model with a very beautiful figure, and she has every right to be proud of it).

The band themselves view the "Horol Ebel" video as a multi-layered work, which is, among other things, a social project that concerns the cultural heritage of humanity transcending the national/ethnic and religious boundaries. The video was filmed in Gamsutl, a historical village in the mountainous rural Dagestan, which is mostly abandoned and ruined by now. Oyme expresses hope for the minor languages to live on, and the heritage monuments like Gamsutl, or Notre-Dame de Paris, or the Dormition Church in Karelia, to be restored.

Feel free to share the video anywhere you want.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Closing The Eternity - "Kosmodrones" [2011]

Artist: Closing The Eternity
Title: Kosmodrones
Genre: Dark Ambient, Drone
Country: Russia
Release date: 2011 (recorded 1999-2002)

Track List:
  1. Только жёлтая заря
  2. Только звезды ледяные
  3. Только миллионы лет
It's time to post here something by the last major project of Anton Shafarostov aka 121 that wasn't featured on my blog yet. You might know 121 by such projects as Velehentor, Valhalla, Nuclear Winter, or Кобь, or if you can read Russian - by his Twilight Shadows webzine (which, unfortunately, seems to be defunct now). Under the CtE moniker, he released several space ambient/drone albums whose main theme is the insignificance of Earth and the human civilization on the cosmic scale:
"The sound of CLOSING THE ETERNITY is based upon drones, and developed with ambient and noise touches. The first and the second albums were written in very misanthropic and materially-minded way. Then 121 made a pause to conceive the essence of CLOSING THE ETERNITY as a ultimate abstraction from all human-related aspects… from everything that could be concerned with terrestrial civilisation"
Like the other projects of 121, CtE sounds quite professional when compared to most other underground music projects in 90's and early 2000s' Russia. Let's be honest: drone ambient is often considered to be quite low effort genre, but this can't be said about CtE, despite the minimalistic composition of the music. According to 121, he became interested in ambient music after he heard "Comala" by Jorge Reyes as a kid in 1986, but he started making his own music only in late 90s. 121 himself describes the sound of "Kosmodrones" as "deeply spatial dark drones with distant and haunting melodic lines". The track titles are taken from a short nihilist poem by Georgy Ivanov, which is one of my favourites too.

121 seems to have completely quit making his own music after the release of the "Ceremonial Death" EP by Velehentor, although he mixed and mastered albums for several black metal bands in the last few years. According to this article (which even mentions my blog, by the way), the maestro was also spotted at a 2013 convention of electronic music composers in California. And yes, he's now a high-ranked official, which isn't a big surprise - after all, prime ministers and even presidents that listen to metal aren't unheard of, and misanthropy is a trait that's certainly expected from a public official, but... Just watch this video. Does that man wearing glasses looks like a black metal musician? Yet he is (or, at least, was):

Friday, April 12, 2019

Bad Sector - "Kosmodrom" [2005]

Artist: Bad Sector
Title: Космодром
Genre: Dark Ambient, Industrial
Country: Italy
Release date: 2006 (2xCD reissue 2013)

Track List:
  1. Energiya
  2. Telemetry
  3. June 16, 1963
  4. Baikonur
  5. Extravehicular
  6. Vjezna
  7. Orbiter
  8. Beacon
  9. April 12, 1961
  10. Kosmos
Bonus CD:
  1. Oktober 4, 1957
  2. Extravehicular 2
  3. Cosmos 69
  4. Plesetsk
  5. Almaz
  6. Zvezdi
  7. Kapustin Yar
  8. Чайка
  9. Extravehicular 3
On Cosmonauts' Day, I'm posting this conceptual work by Massimo Magrini, dedicated to the works of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and their practical applications that ultimately led to the first human spaceflight on April 12, 1961 (the case where you can use the words "rocket science" unironically). Parts of it were recorded in Moscow and St. Petersburg using the old Soviet ANS synthesizers (those were already mentioned on my blog several times in connection to the history of Russian/Soviet synthpop). I'd bet that Massimo's music is better known here than at his home in Italy, partially because of this release too :)

When it comes to sound, "Kosmodrom" doesn't offer many surprises to the fans of Bad Sector. Like Massimo's other releases, it's better described as sound engineering (a field that Massimo possesses a scientific degree in) rather than music, and it's intended to be the modern (post-)industrial music in its pure form. However, you aren't going to hear any harsh noise on there; it's "nerdy" cosmic ambient for the most part, with some occasional elements of rhythmic noise. This 2xCD edition was released by Loki-Found, a German label specialized in dark/cosmic ambient, in 2013, and it's partially available as a free listen on Bandcamp. Of course, you also can download it from or elsewhere, especially considering that Massimo himself has nothing against musical piracy and admits being a pirate himself :3

Monday, April 1, 2019

Nambavan - "Last Night The DJ Shaved My Ass" [2006]

Artist: Nambavan
Title: Last Night The DJ Shaved My Ass
Genre: Experimental, Minimal Techno
Country: Russia
Release date: 2006

Track List:
  1. Last Night The DJ Shaved My Ass
  2. Shooting On The Gay-Party
  3. Sad Song
  4. Tunnel
  5. You Should Be Dancing Dub
Honestly, until today I never thought I'd ever post anything related to Nambavan on here. But today's the 1st of April, so why not? Moreover, this particular album suprisingly fits the spirit of my blog quite well, which can't be said about the rest of Nambavan discography.

Nambavan (pronounced as "number one" with a thick Russian accent) is a moniker of Linar Bilalov, who is also known as an owner of a now defunct site (which was pretty much the 2000s equivalent of Life of Boris). He has released several albums of trashy electronic music with offensive lyrics, which would be best described as "unintelligent dance music" (in fact, it sounds more like electroclash than anything else). While there's not much in the discography of Nambavan worth listening to, his cartoonishly anti-intellectual image has became a meme that's still remembered after almost a decade of inactivity. The biography of Nambavan is worth checking out too:
Using a broken $3 mic, an $80 guitar and an old Casio keyboard, Nambavan puts together dirty disco tracks that will pizdelovka you on the dance floor. Time and space traveler Nambavan brings you the nasty eighties punk pop that the USSR never had, coveting and cultivating dancefloor rhythms, analogue distortions and droll hip hop references.
At his home in Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, where few make their own music, Nambavan started out by enrolling in a music school to learn the guitar, but was expelled for not being able to remember songs. He moved on to the digital world, bought his first PC in 2000 and started composing.
This album, however, is very different. With its name being an obvious pun on "Last Night The DJ Saved My Life" (and no, "Shooting On The Gay Party" obviously isn't a reference to the Orlando massacre which happened a decade after this track was recorded, although cynical references of this kind are very much in the habit of Nambavan), it's the only entirely instrumental album of Nambavan which offers a pretty interesting mixture of noises, clicks and other experimental sounds. Headphone listening is recommended:
Nambavan’s first album without vocal and electronic melodies, written down after two weeks of experiments with analog noise, clicks, delays, highpass house filters and broken groove rhythms.
You will feel how music collapses in your head.
All in all, I haven't expected anything like this from Nambavan, and if you're a fancier of obscure experimental electronic music, it will be a very interesting find for you... or maybe not. But seriously, what would you expect from an album that's literally titled "Last Night The DJ Shaved My Ass"?..

Monday, March 25, 2019

V/A - "Xypnima II" [2011]

Artist: (various)
Title: Xypnima II
Genre: Dark Ambient, Post-Industrial, Trip-Hop
Country: Russia
Release date: 2011

Track List:
  1. The Most eeElusive Orchestra - Kookla
  2. Dome Reflector - Dextera Domini
  3. MRKB - Edentification
  4. Āv Ux - Īŋŋjoadtmušš
  5. Радиосознания - Красные Тракты Весны (Vernal Red Traces)
One of the compilations by Heliophagia net label dedicated to the day of spring equinox, released in March 2011 (8 years already have passed since then... oh shi--). Like the other early compilations by Heliophagia, it mostly features bedroom dark ambient/drone project, although the last track stands out not only this compilation, but anything released on Heliolatria in general. It's performed by a self-described "badtrip-hop" duo led by Najnas, and this compilation deserves to be posted on here for this track alone. If you like an atmospheric mix of hip-hop and industrial/dark ambient in the vein of Dälek, this one is highly recommended for you. Sadly, just like the other projects of Najnas, they had a lot of potential but never released a proper album...

Heli Keinonen ‎- "Ajettih Da Tšiganaiset" [1966]

Artist: Heli Keinonen
Title: Ajettih Da Tšiganaiset 7''
Genre: Folk, Singer-Songwriter
Country: Finland
Release date: 1966

Track List:
  1. Ajettih Da Tšiganaiset
  2. Ruskie Neitšyt, Valgie Neitšyt
I found out about Heli Keinonen because of Kriminaaliset Metsänhaltijat,who sampled one of her songs on their album "Valkoinen Terrori". There's next to no information about her in English, but I managed to find some info in Finnish and Russian - not much anyway, but enough to conclude that she was and still is an outstanding and controversial person.

So, Heli Keinonen was born April 5th, 1943 in Joensuu, Finland, and became famous in mid-1960s as a singer of traditional Karelian songs. In particular, the second song off this 7'' vinyl became a big hit that's still performed by many folk singers in Finland. She released a few more 7'' singles during the second half of 1960s, but they weren't as successful as this one. Later in 1970s, she became involved in radical politics (if I understood the Finnish sources correctly, it happened after she married some well-known undergrond writer and activist) and started to sing political songs, the best known of which is "Kuolemaantuomitun Hyvästijättö" - the one that was used by KM on "Valkoinen Terrori". During the 1980s, she worked in Sudan where she eventually decided to convert to Islam, although sources say that she never followed the Islamic dress code and generally didn't take it too seriously. As of late 2009, she was teaching Arabic language in Finland, although she's most likely retired by now.

Regardless of some questionable life choices, this 7'' shows that she certainly was a good singer. Here's one more Karelian folk song (according to the description, it's about a girl and a boy meeting at well) performed by Heli live on YLE TV in 1967. The melody reminds me of some Russian and ukrainian folk songs, and the language sounds like Finnish with slightly different phonetics and some random Russian words thrown in:

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Marja Üldine - "Own My Fears" [2019]

Artist: Marja Üldine
Title: Own My Fears
Genre: Gothic Rock/Metal, Doom Metal
Country: Russia
Release date: 2019

Track List:
  1. My own fears
  2. Dontcryever
  3. Live under the bridge
  4. Waking up
  5. Remember this day
  6. Knock-knock
  7. Sirens
  8. Cosmic weed (bonus track)
Marja Üldine is a Vepsian folk singer, but if you expect her debut album "Own My Fears" to be a typical Finno-Ugric folk album, you're in for a big surprise (if not disappointment). All the lyrics on "Own My Fears" are in English, and the music has little to do with traditional folk or even folk metal. The singer herself described it as "hard rock", but it isn't telling much (because, at least here, "hard rock" is pretty much an old-fashioned term for anything heavier than The Beatles).

As for me, "Own My Fears" sounds more like mid-90s The Gathering and other gothic/doom metal bands of the same era, rather than anything else. The whole album leaves an impression as it was recorded some time during early-mid 2000s, with the appropriate cover artwork (a very stereotypical one for an early 2000s gothic metal album) and quality of production. It certainly evokes a lot of nostalgia for these times, so I wasn't disappointed by this album, but as for future releases from Marja Üldine -I'd like to hear more Vepsian folk (a much rarer thing than gothic/doom metal, that's for sure) with lyrics in her native language.

Friday, March 8, 2019

La Torture des Ténèbres - "IV - Memoirs of a Machine Girl" [2017]

Artist: La Torture des Ténèbres
Title: IV - Memoirs of a Machine Girl
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal, Noise
Country: Canada
Release date: 2017

Track List:
  1. Staring at the Stars to the Sound of Trucks Revving in the Distance
  2. Enigma of the Intergalactic Canyon
  3. Somewhere in Brockville, in a Restroom Stall
  4. Love Pumps Through My Veins as Quickly as You Kiss Me Goodbye
  5. Thank You for Holding My Hand Through Every Haunted House
  6. Lysol, Scrub Away Your Sanity
I discovered this one-woman project from Ottawa in a blog that specializes in martial industrial, which surprised me because the style was claimed as 'black metal". This album indeed turned out to be based in atmospheric black metal, but heavily mixed with dark ambient, noise, and martial industrial elements, creating a very oppressive post-apocalyptic horror atmosphere. Compared to other one-female black metal projects I've posted on here before, like Sylvaine or Lonely Star, this one is definitely much harder to get into. "IV - Memoirs of a Machine Girl" is easily one of the most "inhuman" releases I've listened to in the last couple of years (and I listen to a lot of black metal and noise). You may love or hate this album at the first listen, but it's unlikely to leave you indifferent. And, of course, it has a great retrofuturistic cover art (which is a painting by Hugh Ferriss, if I'm not mistaken), one look at which would be enough to understand what to expect from this album: the music from a dystopian world of gigantic structures and mechanisms.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Tidfall - "Nucleus" [2003]

Artist: Tidfall
Title: Nucleus
Genre: Industrial Black Metal
Country: Norway
Release date: 2003

Track List:
  1. Future Doom
  2. Nucleus
  3. Neo-Torment
  4. Mercury Mesh
  5. Soil of Tomorrow
  6. Psychotronica
  7. Zounds
  8. Exo-Skeleton
  9. Tech
On the two albums following Tidfall's debut "Circular Supremacy", Tidfall took a more industrial metal direction. In fact, they were one of the first (if not the very first) industrial black metal bands I've discovered during the times when I was just starting to get into metal. Surely, they aren't as well-known as their compatriots Thorns or Mysticum, and this album doesn't contain any particularly big hits, yet I think this album is highly overlooked. It's industrial black metal the way I expect it to be, and the appropriate lyrical themes along with the "mechanical"/futuristic atmosphere are in place:

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Tidfall - "Circular Supremacy" [2000]

Artist: Tidfall
Title: Circular Supremacy
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
Country: Norway
Release date: 2000

Track List:
  1. In the Eyes of Death
  2. A Hidden Realm
  3. Allured by Grief
  4. Black Psychotic Darkness
  5. Bloodact
  6. Shining Serpent
  7. In a Dark Dream
  8. Empty Silence
  9. Reflections
  10. Hymn to Fall
Tidfall is a rather obscure Norwegian black metal band formed in 1992, released a first demo in 1997, and put on an indefinite hiatus in 2005. Most reviewers describe them as a mediocre project that failed to bring anything new to the scene, but I do think such reputation is undeserved. Surely there are many Norwegian black metal bands from the same era that are far more famous, and when it comes to symphonic black metal in particular, Tidfall's "Circular Supremacy" doesn't get on the same level as such classics as "Nexus Polaris" by Covenant, yet I think it's still pretty powerful and certainly deserves a listen:

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Urarv - "Aurum" [2017]

Artist: Urarv
Title: Aurum
Genre: Progressive Black Metal
Country: Norway
Release date: 2017

Track List:
  1. Forvitringstid
  2. Ancient DNA
  3. The Retortion
  4. Broken Wand
  5. Guru
  6. Valens Tempel
  7. Fancy Daggers
  8. Red Circle
Urarv is an avant-garde black metal project of Aldrahn, who's mostly known as ex-vocalist of Zyklon-B and Dødheimsgard. Although it was founded in 2003, it released the first promo only in 2016 after becoming a full band consisting of three members. Here's their debut full-length album, entitled "Aurum". Judging from its sound, Urarv is not that "avant-garde" compared to some other Norwegian bands of this kind (i.e. I Left The Planet, or late Fleurety), but the balance between the avant-garde elements (i.e. black'n'roll riffs, and the unique vocals by Aldrahn) and the traditional Norwegian black metal of this album is nearly perfect. My personal favourite track is "Broken Wand", and while this album isn't something I'd listen to on daily basis, it certainly should be recommended to anyone who liked the later albums by DHG.

Speaking of other Urarv members, I can't tell much about their bassist Sturt because the names of his previous bands are completely unfamiliar to me (although I've checked out this one because they had a member of Red Harvest and Dunkel:heit for some time on guitar, and I must say that their lyrics are a prime example of what's called "so bad it's good").

Trish Kolsvart, their drummer, has a pretty lengthy list of black metal and punk bands she played in, and she was relatively popular on Myspace around 2010. Not hard to see why - there aren't many girls who play extreme metal (she can play guitar as well as drums), and are good looking in addition to that:

...Yes, the quality of the last photo isn't the best, but I like that she's got both musical talent and beautiful legs :) Check out "Aurum" here:

Friday, January 25, 2019

Dunkel:heit ‎- "Obey" [1995]

Artist: Dunkel:heit
Title: Obey
Genre: Industrial Metal
Country: Norway
Release date: 1995

Track List:
  1. Untitled
  2. Soulscape Fading
  3. Untitled
  4. Finding the Way
  5. Untitled
  6. Separate Ways
  7. LRB9-51
  8. Thrive
  9. Untitled
  10. Conformity Control
  11. Anarchaoz
  12. Untitled
  13. Solitary Survival
  14. On and On
  15. Untitled
  16. True Believers In False Prophets (Origami Replika)
  17. Technol
  18. Untitled
  19. Lozt Love (Origami Replika)
  20. Chorus of Contemplation
  21. Untitled
  22. Munchscape
  23. Untitled
Disregard the stupid cover art, this album is a very interesting historical artifact for anyone who loves Red Harvest and the associated projects. Pretty much all I know about Dunkel:heit can be found in this blog (which is quite fine and highly recommended to check out):
Dunkelheit (aka Dunkel:heit) started out in the summer of '92 as a part-time industrial-style project containing members from the industrial metal band Red Harvest.
After recording some songs, they decided to keep going and started recruiting more members.
Around a year later they recorded a demo on an 8-track recorder.
Instead of pushing their demo heavily around, they band started playing around with the idea of doing a compilation CD.
The CD, entitled "The Reincarnation Of The Sun", was released in February 1994 by Dunkel Prod. and contained (mostly) exclusive material from Red Harvest, Anstalt, Valhall, Dunkelheit, Remyl, Piledriver and Humid.
Shortly after this release, Suggestion Records got in touch with the band and offered a deal for a 7" EP.
"More Than Meets The Third Eye" was recorded with four new songs and released in the summer of '94.
Pleased with the result of this 7" EP, Suggestion offered a deal for a full-length CD.
The material was recorded in March '95, and the CD "Obey" was released in the end of the summer '95.
Since then the project was put on hold.
While this release (a quite lengthy one, by the way; the "Untitled" tracks are  mostly short spoken word interludes) is not exactly a masterpiece, it certainly has very nice moments (i.e. "Soulscape Fading" being one of the best industrial metal songs from the first half of 1990s I've heard so far), and it carries the same inhuman/mechanistic atmosphere that we love Red Harvest albums for. Fans of Fear Factory and other mid-90s industrial death metal shouldn't be dissapointed as well. You can check out "Obey" using the link above, or, alternatively, on Youtube:

Monday, January 7, 2019

Synaxaria - "Close And So Far" [2017]

Artist: Synaxaria
Title: Close And So Far
Genre: Symphonic Metal/Rock
Country: Belarus
Release date: 2017

Track List:
  1. Eternal Game
  2. Keep Your Soul Alive
  3. Light Of My Sorrow
  4. Silence
  5. Sleep Tight
This band, named after some obscure religious term, started in February 2010 initially as an industrial rock band. Their 2010 demo wasn't bad (for a demo, of course) albeit a bit "naive" sounding. They have "flirted" with politial and social topics in their lyrics on their later two EPs (which I couldn't find anywhere, though, but I guess they're similar to the first demo in terms of sound).

This EP, however, is your typical symphonic metal with dual male/female vocals. The quality of production (at least on this remastered 2018 version) is significantly better than on their 2010 demo or the 2015 full-length album (which is similar to this EP in terms of sound, but leaves an impression of an amateur cassette recording made sometime in the 90s). Despite the lack of originality and the rather weak male vocals,  "Close And So Far" is a pleasant listen, especially the 4th track (the only one featuring non-English lyrics). By the way, their vocalist/keyboardist Natalia had a birthday just couple of days ago, so I thought it'd be a good time to check out and review this EP:

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Omnimar - "Poison" [2017]

Artist: Omnimar
Title: Poison
Genre: Synthpop, Gothic Electro
Country: Russia
Release date: 2017

Track List:
  1. Poison
  2. I Go On On My Own
  3. Out Of My Life
  4. I Wanna Know Now
  5. Boom Boom
  6. 40 Steps
  7. Jimmy
  8. Sadizm (english version)
  9. Happy Ending
  10. Hungry
  11. Release Me
The sophomore album of the self-described "alternative pop" project from Moscow which is sometimes described as a female version of Faderhead (look here for the debut one). While their music is indeed more on the "pop" side of things compared to most other darkwave and dark electro projects that have appeared on my blog, I wish all modern pop music was more like this :) They also make pretty good video clips, one of which has gained more than 2M views on Youtube:

It's also a good time to post the new photos of their vocalist, the beautiful Maria Mar. Happy New Year!