Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New 2017 Year!

An year has passed since I wrote this, and not much has changed. I'll try to keep this blog alive in the coming year (in particular, I plan to post several albums from the local metal scene in the next few days); however, I don't think it's worth putting too much effort into something that very few people are interested in.

Either way, I wish all the best in the next year to everyone who reads and appreciates my blog (even if there aren't many).

Thursday, December 22, 2016

V/A - "Heliophagia 06" [2006]

Artist: (various)
Title: Heliophagia 06
Genre: Dark Ambient, Drone/Doom Metal
Country: Russia
Release date: 2006

Track List:
  1. Nojda - Lyšt Pudt Olmevudt
  2. Panacea Enterpainment - Hymnus Hibernus
  3. System Morgue - Reactor #4 / Fenrir Awakening
This 3-way split, released 10 years ago on the day of winter solstice, eventually became the first one in a long series of annual compilations. Initially there was an idea to release 6 compilations named "Heliophagia" dedicated to the winter solstice, numbered in a descending order (from 06 to 01). However, there already are 10 such compilations released so far, and several other similar seriers (Isorropia, Xypnima, Heliolatria etc.) were established later. All of them are released on a net label named after the Heliophagia series (it was initially named Anthropocide Productions, but this name has gone to a recording studio in 2008).

The concept of the Heliophagia series was conceived by Najnas, the founding member of Nojda and a collaborator in several other projects (a lyricist in Panacea Enterpainment, and a founder of a joke oi! band which I won't name here). If memory serves me right - he, being partially of Eastern Sami ancestry, has named himself "Najnas" after a god of northern lights from the Sami mythology. Nojda is his ritual ambient / "shamanic metal" project inspired by Skepticism, Ajattara, Gods Tower, Lycia, Troum, northern nature and Sami folklore. Unfortunately, Nojda has never released a proper album, only 4 or 5 track in total which appeared on various compilations in the Heliophagia series. That's a shame, because Nojda was undoubtedly one of the best projects to appear on these compilations.

The rest of "Heliophagia 06" isn't as interesting as the opening track by Nojda. "Hymnus Hibernus" by Panacea Enterpainment is rather mediocre doom metal/ambient, and the ambient/PE track by System Morgue is good but nothing special. Those who followed my blog through the last 5 years (if there are such people at all) should already be familiar with this project and its mastermind, who goes under the name "Peter LX". Back in the days when this split was just released, I kept a regular contact with him, Najnas and some other artists that appeared on their compilations (Paracore, Reido etc.). Now, 10 years later, I'm sitting at home alone waiting for my next birthday (which will come in just 3 days) and thinking what to make of all that useless knowledge of underground bands which next to no one listens to...

Staruha Mha - "Rusali" [2003]

Artist: Staruha Mha
Title: Rusali
Genre: Dark Ambient, Drone
Country: Russia
Release date: 2003

Track List:
  1. Wheel Of The Year / Колесо Года
  2. Grasses / Травы
  3. On Branches / На Ветвях
  4. Blue Rivers Of The Sky / Синие Реки Небес
  5. Deformation / Kруг Железного Предначертания
  6. ...And The Trees Woke Up / Iikkooorrr
  7. Over Quiet Water / Над Тихой Водой
  8. Bark / Кора
  9. Bonfires On A Hill / Костры На Холме
  10. Ear Of The Night / Ухо Ночи
  11. Through The Woods / Через Леса
  12. Paporotnik / Папоротник
Staruha Mha was started by Roman Sidorov, a member of several post-punk and industrial projects (Der Golem, Sedativ, Fatal), in 2000. The project has released two demo albums on CD-R before Sidorov hanged himself on 20th September 2003. After his suicide, both albums were released on CD with the tracks names crudely translated to English. While the author was intending to keep his music strictly underground, his works have reached a cult status on the post-Soviet industrial scene nevertheless. I personally wouldn't call myself a #1 fan of his music, but this album is definitely a classic without which my blog won't be complete.

"Rusali" is nearly 80 minutes long, featuring 12 tracks of drone ambient, field recordings, and some elements of industrial noise (although it's inspired by nature, not industrial landscapes). Main sources of influence: Rapoon, Coil, Apoptose ("Nordland", 2000), Troum, Bad Sector, Iszoloscope, Lustmord.

Псы Байаная - "Муус" [2016]

Artist: Псы Байаная
Title: Муус
Genre: Folk Metal, Melodic Death Metal
Country: Russia (Yakutia a/k/a Sakha Republic)
Release date: 2016

Track List:
  1. Хоту хайалара (Mountains of the North)
  2. Дьол кута (Lost Happiness)
  3. Тымныы оҕуһа (The Great Bull of Cold)
The only Yakut folk metal band I know of, Hounds of Bayanay were formed in Yakutsk a couple of years ago. The material presented on their debut EP, which was released just a couple of months ago, is fairly good, although the mix could be better (the vocals frequently get "buried" by the music). It's folk metal, but with significant MDM influences which I'm not a big fan of, but the uniqueness of its "folk" side is the reason enough to check out this EP. As for it's cover, it's quite beautiful, but that pseudo-runic font is a bit too overused by now. Overall, if you liked the debut album of Aq Bure (HoB's friends from Tatarstan) and want to hear more ethno-metal in the same vein, with predominately femal vocals, check out this.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Чолбон - "Проклятый камень" [1992]

Artist: Чолбон
Title: Проклятый камень
Genre: Folk-Rock, Progressive Rock
Country: Russia (Yakutia a/k/a Sakha Republic)
Release date: 1992

Track List:
  1. Когда-нибудь [Sometimes]
  2. Скажи Мне [Tell Me]
  3. Растоптанный Цветок [The Crushed Flower]
  4. Неспетая Песня [The Unsung Song]
  5. Услышать Бы [If I Could Hear]
  6. Проклятый Камень [The Damned Stone]
  7. Поле Боя [Battlefield]
  8. Закат [Sunset]
  9. Под Моим Небом [Under My Sky]
  10. Другу [To A Friend]
  11. Разве Я Виноват [Am I To Blame?]
The first known Yakut folk-rock band, Cholbon (which means "Morning Star") was formed in a small Eastern Siberian village in 1986 (according to some sources, the band was already around in some form as early as in 1982). Their early style could be described as a mix of Pink Floyd-inspired progressive rock and Yakut folk music. The earliest recordings were made in 1987. This 1992 LP is their best known release, containing mostly the material they've recorded during the 1980s. The quality of recording is varied from track to track, but generally it's good or at least listenable. The album's name, "The Damned Stone", is a reference to diamonds (the diamond mining industry has severely damaged the ecosystem of the band's home region). As of now, the band still exists (although two of its original members have died in 2000s) and gives concerts occasionally, but doesn't record any new albums.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Yat-Kha - "Yenisei-Punk" [1995]

Artist: Yat-Kha
Title: Yenisei-Punk
Genre: Folk-Rock
Country: Russia
Release date: 1995

Track List:
  1. Solun Chaagai Sovet Churtum
  2. Karangailyg Kara Hovaa (Dyngyldai)
  3. Kaa-Khem
  4. Kuu-La Khashtyn Baaryndan
  5. Kamgalanyr Kuzhu-Daa Bar
  6. Irik Chuduk
  7. Chashpy-Khem
  8. Kadarchy
  9. Chok-La Kizhi Yry
  10. Een Kurug Kagban-Na Men
  11. Toorugtug Taiga
  12. Kargyram
  13. Kozhamyk (1996 re-issue bonus)
  14. Doshpuluurum (1996 re-issue bonus)
Yat-Kha is one of the earliest attempts to mix rock music with the Tuvan throat singing, formed in 1992 in Moscow by Ivan Sokolovsky (Ночной Проспект) and Albert Kuvezin. Their early works featured an electronic sound reminiscent of such early EBM bands as Front 242, while the later ones (without Sokolovsky in the line-up) are more traditional folk-rock. This particular album, despite its name, is quite far from punk (and from electro-industrial as well), being more similar to their later albums in terms of sound. However, I liked this one better than their more "industrial" releases of the same time (to be honest, Uran Bator did it better). I also have seen Albert Kuvezin performing live this summer (solo), and his throat singing style was really impressive (although some fans of this style say that his skills are far from being the best; I personally am not knowledgeable enough to make a judgement).

S.N.Bibikov - a lecture on the Paleolithic era music [1980]

Here's a rather unusual recording that isn't easily comparable with anything I've posted on here before, even if I've posted a lot of quite weird noise and ethno stuff. This is an attempt to reconstruct the sound of the prehistoric percussion musical instruments made of mammoth bone, found at a roughly 20,000 years old Upper Paleolithic site in Mezin. There are two tracks, the first one demonstrating the sound of each instrument separately, and the second containing the musical reconstruction itself. Of course, it's an educated guess at the very best, and we obviosly would never know how the Paleolithic music exactly sounded like, unless a time machine eventually would be invented - but as an experiment, it's fairly unique and interesting.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Kurgan - "Caucasian" [2006]

Artist: ყორღანი (Kurgan)
Title: კავკასიონი (Caucasian)
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Country: Georgia
Release date: 2006

Track List: 
  1. Fortress in the Fog
  2. Lykos
  3. Ghost
  4. Fearless
  5. Crystal
There's next to no information about this band, except they are (were?) a duo from Georgia which released a 5-track CD-R in 2006 and nothing else. The music on this CD-R is objectively average in terms of composition and the quality of production (could certainly be worse, though), yet they've got the right atmosphere - and that's what makes this album worth listening to:

Thursday, December 15, 2016

V/A - "Georgian Post-Punk Compilation" [2010]

Artist: V/A
Title: Georgian Post-Punk Compilation
Genre: Post-Punk
Country: Georgia
Release date: 2010 (recorded during 90s)

Track List: 
  1. Afternoon Version - Champagne Gold
  2. Cerili (Amorali) - Shishveli Xeebi (Naked Trees)
  3. Children's Medicine - Shedikhar Tkheshi (Entering the Forest)
  4. Genetic Code - Artificial Love
  5. Kumle - Televizori
  6. Mother on Mondays - House Of Love
  7. PLAKQSA - Sonia
  8. Qisho Da Inteligencia - Cheshmariteba (Truth)
  9. Spandera Da Kompratia - Datom Ramtove Zemze
  10. Taqsi - Chemi Saxli Jojoxets Hgavs (My House Looks Like Hell)
  11. Vietnam Radio - Ann's Room
  12. Marlene Dietrich - Do Vstrechi
Not many people know that Georgia (of course I'm talking not about the US state, but a country in the Caucasus) had a thriving post-punk / new wave scene during the late 80s and early 90s. However, this community has recently ran a great series of posts that helped to unearth quite a few forgotten gems from that era. That's where I found this compilation as well. Unfortunately, it looks like its author has deceased, but I don't know for sure what has happened to him. Either way, his blog was great, certainly recommended to everyone who's interested in discovering Georgian underground electronic music.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Hateful Abandon - "Liars/Bastards" [2014]

Artist: Hateful Abandon
Title: Liars/Bastards
Genre: Post-Punk, Coldwave
Country: UK
Release date: 2014

Track List: 
  1. Maze of Bastards
  2. Culprit
  3. High Rise
  4. The Test
  5. The Walker
  6. There Will Never Be Peace
  7. December
"Hateful Abandon is a band playing a unique blend of music ranging from Post-Punk, the Industrial pioneers, Black Metal & Anarcho Punk with a wide variety of other influences. The band was formed in Bristol, UK in 2004" (

While their previous album "Move" (2011) featured a quite impressive mix of black metal and post-punk, they got rid of almost all their metal influences on this one (although it didn't make their music any less dark and scary). My personal favourite of theirs is still "Move", but all their works are great, including this one, and anyone who's seeking for a more modern interpretation of the classic 80s' British post-punk and the late 80s-early 90s' darkwave should definitely check it out.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Khonsu - "The Xun Protectorate" [2016]

Artist: Khonsu
Title: The Xun Protectorate
Genre: Industrial Black Metal
Country: Norway
Year: 2016

Track List:
  1. Desolation City (prologue)
  2. A Jhator Ascension
  3. The Observatory
  4. Liberator
  5. Death of the Timekeeper
  6. The Tragedy of the Awakened One
  7. Visions of Nehaya
  8. A Dream of Earth
  9. Toward the Devouring Light
  10. The Unremembered (epilogue) 
The "unorthodox" black metal scene of Norway seems to be alive and well nowadays, and that's definitely great. Just a couple of days ago I've posted a new full-length album of Black Hole Generator, and here's another Bergen-based band which has released a new album this November. While I wasn't as impressed by this one as by BHG's "A Requiem For Terra", it's definitely very good (what else to expect from a band that has been compared to Thy Catafalque and Progenie Terrestre Pura) and apparently tells a sci-fi story of some sort in its lyrics. Recommended to everyone who loves electronic, sci-fi themed black metal (which is, admittedly, a not so common thing) as much as I do.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I Left The Planet - s/t [2011]

Artist: I Left The Planet
Title: I Left The Planet
Genre: Avant-Garde Black Metal, Jazz-Rock
Country: Norway
Year: 2011

Track List:
  1. Diamond. Hazard
  2. Dark. Blue
  3. Soft. Mad
"One from the vaults, this unique piece of avant-garde metal history, never before leaked or released, features some of the authorities of the genre including members from Fleurety and Ved Buens Ende. Recorded on analogue 16-track tape in March 1996, I Left the Planet is a one-off project featuring members from Fleurety, Ved Buens Ende and Virus; all bands hailed as originators of the style that has lately come to be known as avant-garde metal. Lyrics and voice are courtesy of acclaimed Norwegian author and novelist Bjørn Esben Almaas, overlaying three separate pieces of music written by Alexander Nordgaren, also handling guitars on the recording. Combined with Ayna Beate Johansen's distinctive voice, Czral's legendary drums and percussion style, Per Amund Solberg's contrapuntal bass melodies and Mari Solberg's jazzy saxophones the result is different from any other band of the era; Dark Poetry. Dark Metal. Dark Jazz. The recording plays across and between Adversum's label profile key words; disharmony, imagination, individualism, courage, entertainment and darkness, and is its first release on vinyl"

As you might know, I love this avant-garde side of the Norwegian black metal scene, so a side project of Fleurety & Ved Buens Ende just couldn't fail to catch my attention. It's indeed very experimental, closer to jazz-rock than to any kind of metal. The project name itself is quite fitting, as they apparently wanted to create something "out of this planet". Apart from the unusual mix of jazz and black metal (something akin to "A Conflict Scenario" by Virulence, although they were mixing jazz with death/grind), this EP has some "industrial" feel to it, due to the extensive use of samples (I even heard a short Russian-language sound clip close to the end of the last track). If you want to download it, go to, but I think it'd be easier to check out all these tracks on Youtube:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Black Hole Generator - "A Requiem For Terra" [2016]

Artist: Black Hole Generator
Title: A Requiem For Terra
Genre: Black Metal (with Doom & Industrial overtones)
Country: Norway
Year: 2016

Track List:
  1. A Requiem for Terra
  2. Titan
  3. Moloch
  4. Beneath a Chemical Sky
  5. Emerging Pantheon
  6. Earth Eater
  7. Spiritual Blight
Until recently, this Bergen-based duo was known only for their 2006 EP "Black Karma", which was a quite enjoyable piece of "slightly industrial black metal" (as one of the reviewers on has put it), comparable to the best releases of Aborym and Anaal Nathrakh. This full-length album, released after 10 years of waiting, is still black metal (with some industrial overtones) in its core, but has noticeable doom/stoner elements which their debut EP didn't have. A really powerful work:

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Second To Sun - "Blackbound" [2016]

Artist: Second To Sun
Title: Blackbound
Genre: Instrumental Black/Groove Metal
Country: Russia
Year: 2016

Track List:
  1. Vasilisa
  2. Chokk Kapper
  3. Region 13
  4. The Yoke
  5. Ladoga Master
  6. The Fool
  7. Mrakobesie
  8. Idemevs (Bonus Track)
  9. Spirituality (Bonus Track)
"Blackbound" is a long-awaited new full-length release from Second To Sun. Over the year that has passed since the release of their previous album ("The First Chapter"), the band has relocated to St.Petersburg and gained the status of one of the best-known instrumental metal projects from Russia (along with Senmuth - but not all albums in his vast discography are purely instrumental, and not all of them are metal). The S2S members themselves explain the motto "Fuck Your Vocals" by their desire to make their music sounding like a horror movie soundtrack, with the detailed backstories for each track being available in the release notes. If I understand them correctly, they think the presence of vocals would ruin the atmosphere of their music, and wouldn't help with conveying the story behind the music (since the vocals in extreme music are mostly unintelligible anyway). Okay, instrumental metal remains a very interesting and quite unexplored field up to this day, so let's see what S2S have to offer on this album.

"Blackbound", as its name suggests, is much darker and black metal-oriented than their previous releases. The album may seem to be too monotonous and too overloaded with tremolos and blast beats at times, yet the atmosphere and melodies make it an interesting listen. Not to mention it's quite well produced (the band's leader owns his professional recording studio by now). Just like in case with their previous album, most (but not all) tracks on "Blackbound" take inspiration from the folklore and history of the minor Finno-Ugric peoples of the Russian North (a subject that's quite interesting for me personally as well, and that's the primary reason why S2S got my attention), which sets Second To Sun apart from numerous metal bands inspired by the Slavic and Scandinavian mythologies. A more detailed info on each track can be found on the album's Bandcamp page under the "lyrics" link.

It's tempting to tag "Blackbound" as a progressive metal album, but Vladimir Klimov-Lehtinen (the band's leader) fiercely rejects any attempts to label his music as anything else but "(post-)black metal" or "groove metal. I can see where he's coming from - because, as of now, "progressive metal" is mostly used to describe trendy djent/math metal bands like Periphery or Animals As Leaders, which S2S don't want to associate themselves with. S2S also don't play live shows, don't dress and look like stereotypical metalheads, and don't take too many photos of themselves because of the same desire to dissociate themselves with the current trendy metal scene (successfully or not).

For the most part, their reputation of a "djent" or "progressive deathcore" band comes from their album "Based On A True Story", which they now consider their biggest mistake. They also don't want to be associated with the folk or pagan metal scenes, since they draw their inspiration from living (if moribund), not dead traditions (read more in this interview). This is also understandable, because the majority of modern self-proclaimed neo-pagans indeed are complete clowns, especially the Slavic ones. However, Vladimir's constant rants about the people who tag his albums "prog-metal" or "djent" still sound too ridiculously over the top to me, even if he's just joking. As he himself puts it: "I'm trying to be as much of an arrogant dick as possible to get you guys all worked up for a nice little flame war in the comments". Well, I guess he'd fit right in the so-called "elite black metal" scene with such an attitude, but I don't think it's something to be proud of. As a conclusion: the music, whatever you label it, is interesting and controversial, but I'd appreciate it more if its author would be a little less full of himself.

Thy Catafalque - "Meta" [2016]

Artist: Thy Catafalque
Title: Meta
Genre: Avant-garde Black Metal, Post-Metal
Country: Hungary/UK
Year: 2016

Track List:
  1. Uránia
  2. Sirály
  3. 10^(-20) Ångström
  4. Ixión Düün
  5. Ősszel otthon
  6. Malmok járnak
  7. Vonatút az éjszakában
  8. Mezolit
  9. Fehérvasárnap
Tamás Kátai is back with a new album, which is considerably heavier and darker than his previous work "Sgùrr". Just like the majority of his works, "Meta" is quite an avant-garde release which resists any attempts to fit it into a single genre, but would be safe to say it's rooted in (post-)black metal more than in anything else. Surely, it's hard to make an opinion on such a complex and unorthodox music piece after a single listening, but I already can point out the best track on "Meta", which is "Mezolit". It's easily one of the best things to come from Thy Catafalque in the late few years, and it strongly reminds me of "Dreaming Neon Black" by Nevermore (one of my all-time progressive metal favourites), especially when it comes to the vocal work and the overall atmosphere. If I'm not mistaken, it features Gyula Vasvári of Perihelion on vocals, which is awesome too (I really liked his clean vocals on "Nap Fele Néz").

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Кобь - "Давьныѣ Покровы Рипѣискыихъ Дрѣвочащь" [2006]

Artist: Кобь
Title: Давьныѣ Покровы Рипѣискыихъ Дрѣвочащь
Genre: Black Metal
Country: Russia
Year: 2006

Track List:
  1. Дрѣвочащь покровъ / Shroud Of Woods / Покрывало лесов
  2. Мордогляди езеръ / Mirrorlakes / Озёрозеркалие
  3. На вѣтра крылахъ / On The Wind's Wings / На крыльях ветра
  4. Мьгланыи одръ / The Hazy Cradle / Туманная колыбель
  5. Въноутре камениевъ / Within The Heart Of Rocks / Во чреве скал
  6. Давьныи Рипѣи / The Eldest Ural / Старший Урал
This band was formed in 1999 in Ekaterinburg by two musicians who never disclosed their identities but apparently weren't newcomers to the metal scene. On their only full-length album released ten years ago on Serpent's Lair Productions, three more musicians were involved, including Satt aka 121 (Velehentor, Valhalla, Nuclear Winter, Closing the Eternity) on khomus, tamborine and keyboards (except for the tracks #1 and #5). Later on, he considered this album to be the paragon of the Urals black metal.

While it's a very quality work beyond any doubt, I was slightly disappointed by it being pretty straightforward black metal with less "exotic" elements than I initially expected (same as with Melechesh or Vör). The khomus parts can be heard clearly, but the other "unorthodox" instruments - not so much. The use of programmed drums may also be off-putting for some listeners (not for me, though). Other than that, it's a very solid atmospheric black metal release heavily inspired by the nature and mysticism of the Ural Mountains (the band members seem to identify it with the legendary Riphean Mountains of Greco-Roman mythology, although that's quite questionable). The track names and at least some of the lyrics are in a language ostensibly similar to the Old Slavonic language, although I doubt its authenticity. Either way, the album name translates to "The Ancient Shroud of Primeval Ural Woods".

Thursday, October 27, 2016

H-Ural - "Дорога шамана" [2013]

Artist: H-Ural
Title: Дорога шамана
Genre: Industrial Rock, Folk-Rock
Country: Russia
Year: 2013

Track List:
  1. Миш ар
  2. Салы урнэ ойка эрыг
  3. Осхул арые
  4. Ханшан лук эвие
  5. Ай куль
  6. Дорога шамана
  7. Акем ар
  8. Шануш пох
H-Ural, formed in early 2007 in Ekaterinburg, are probably the only band to play a fusion of industrial rock and the traditional music of the eastern Ugric peoples (Khanty & Mansi). The band members also do a lot of ethnographic work, and have participated in many Uralic/Finno-Ugric culture festivals.

Their early recordings have interesting musical ideas but, unfortunately, a quite "cheap" sound (reminds me of early Nord'N'Commander, but with an "Uralic" touch). This is their second album, released in late 2013 (or, according to other sources, in early 2014), which is significantly more mature. The lyrics are mostly in Khanty, with a couple of songs in Russian. Interestingly enough, the language doesn't sound much alike its western Finnic relatives, or the Hungarian language; reminds me rather of the Tungusic languages. The music ranges from industrial/electro-rock to more traditional folk-rock inspired by the shamanic practices and ritual music of the Yugra people, with a prominent use of instruments like khomus (also known as the mouth harp). It's also influenced by the Amerindian (Sioux & Iroquois) shamanic musical traditions, which were extensively studied by one of the H-Ural's founding members, Sergey Yalunin.

Overall, the album makes for a nice listen, even if the vocal work seem to be weak at times. I'm currently listening to it while reading the works of Vladimir Napolskikh, the most competent Uralic ethnohistorian I know so far. If you liked this album and are interested in their earlier releases, all of them are freely available on the band's official site. Here's a couple of their early tracks, recorded around 2010:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Vocal group "July" (Komi Republic)

To continue with the Komi theme, here's a folk/pop vocal group from Ust-Kulom (Kulomdin) - a small town in remote southeast Komi Republic, which is one of the few places where the original Komi-Zyrian culture is still more or less alive and well. As far as I can understand, they mostly sing about their homeland and its beauty. The female vocals are predominant, yet they two male backing vocalists as well. If you liked the Komi folk I've posted here before (Lydia Loginova, Victoria Pystina), you probably would enjoy this band too.

Don't know if they have released any proper albums (I think they do have a CD, but couldn't find any detailed info about it), so I just have compiled all their songs I could find (which wasn't easy, as their name "Июль" / "July" surely isn't search-friendly). Enjoy:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Vazhes - "Deep Komis" [2010]

Artist: Vazhes
Title: Deep Komis
Genre: Ambient, Dub, Ethno-Industrial
Country: Russia
Year: 2010

Track List:
  1. Pu Baraban
  2. Chudskoy Otir
  3. Chereshlan
  4. Deep Komis
  5. Pasture Dub
  6. Oshkar (ft. Rapoon)
  7. Vazh Otir (ft. Fanum)
  8. A Dream Within A Dream (ft. Northaunt)
Vazhes is one of the monikers used by Sergey Gabbasov, an ethnologist from Moscow who also makes music. This album is dedicated to the Komi-Permyak people living near the northwestern slope of the Urals. "Vazhes" itself is a traditional Komi name for the "old people" of unknown origins who lived in these places before Komis came there, and the name of the album is apparently a homage to Deep Forest. The other albums released by Vazhes (at least the ones I've listened to) are mostly dedicated to the various Central Asian cultures, and appear to be more influenced by Muslimgauze (with some rhythmic noise elements).

Thursday, October 20, 2016

From The Forest - demo [2016]

Artist: From the Forest
Title: demo
Genre: Post-Rock
Country: Russia
Year: 2016

Track List:
  1. Road to Sanda-Gora
  2. You Are Here!
  3. Sharya
  4. Three Angels Are Sent To Kologriv
Nothing is known about this band, except they're from Kostroma and they're playing instrumental post-rock inspired by the nature of their home region and its Meryan heritage. The Merya were an ethnic group inhabiting the territory between modern-day Moscow and Kostroma about a millenium ago. Next to nothing is known about them or their language, except for the fact of their existence, yet they're generally assumed to be Volga Finno-Ugric people, probably related to the Mari people.

The area formerly inhabited by the Merya is well known for having a lot of apparently non-Slavic toponyms with no clear meaning and etymology, which most likely come from some unidentified non-Indo-European languages. Quite a lot of these place names (especially those ending with -ma, -ksha, -khta) appear to come from a single language whose word structure and phonetics are surprisingly similar to what's reconstructed for the hypothetical Proto-Uralic language. Some people assume it to be the Meryan language, although it's highly dubious. This demo is fully instrumental anyway, so the knowledge of Meryan isn't required to enjoy it :)

From what I could gather, the band was planning to release a 5-track EP titled "A Morbid Tale", but there were no news from them since May 2016, so I don't even know if they still play together. Anyway, these 4 tracks are good (especially the last two ones), and I'm definitely going to listen them in my future trips to Kostroma, Sharya, or elsewhere in that region :3

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Goblin - "Suspiria" [1977]

Artist: Goblin
Title: Suspiria
Genre: Avant-Prog, Jazz-Rock
Country: Italy
Year: 1977

Track List:
  1. Suspiria
  2. Witch
  3. Opening To The Sighs
  4. Sighs
  5. Markos
  6. Black Forest
  7. Blind Concert
  8. Death Valzer
  9. Suspiria (Narration)
  10. Markos (Alternate Version)
  11. Suspiria (Intro)
  12. Suspiria (Daemonia Version)
There are several progressive rock/RIO releases from 80s and late 70s which were claimed to be "some of the scariest music ever recorded", i.e. "Heresie" by Univers Zero and "Les Morts Vont Vite" by Shub-Niggurath. Although Goblin never were a part of the RIO movement, many of their works deserve to be on that list too - especially this particular album, which is a soundtrack for Dario Argento's 1977 movie "Suspiria". Without the soundtrack and the unusual color scheme, "Suspiria" would be just an ordinary horror movie like many other, but the combination of vibrant colors and blaring music created a very intense atmosphere (because of which, "Suspiria" is often considered to be one of the scariest horror films of all time).

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Luigi Russolo - "Die Kunst der Geräusche" [2000]

Artist: Luigi Russolo
Title: Die Kunst der Geräusche
Genre: Noise, Avant-Garde Classical
Country: Italy
Year: 2000 (composed during 1910-20s)

Track List:
  1. Risveglio Di Una Città
  2. Crepitatore
  3. Ululatore
  4. Gracidatore
  5. Gorgogliatore
  6. Ronzatore
  7. Arco Enarmonico
  8. Antonio Russolo - Corale
  9. Antonio Russolo - Serenata
  10. Francesco Balilla Pratella - L'Aviatore Dro Op. 33: Fragmente 2. und 3. Akt für Klavier, Rombatore, Sibilatore, Scoppiatore, Ululatore und Stimmen
  11. Giacomo Balla - Macchina Tipografica
  12. Fortunato Depero - Canzone Rumorista
  13. Riccardo Santoboni / Rossana Maggia - Omaggio a Luigi Russolo für Stimme und digitale Intonarumori
Many people who are interested in noise and industrial music know the name of Italian futurist Luigi Russolo, whose 1913 manifesto "The Art Of Noises" laid the foundation for the noise music scene. However, not many actually have listened to his noise compositions, until the German label WERGO, specialized in avant-garde classical music, has released this book/CD set in 2000. I think it should be listened by everyone who's into avant-garde music, and it won't take too much time anyway (the whole album is less than 25 minutes long). It features 7 original compositions by Luigi Russolo (mostly quite short), and 6 tracks by other futurists which generally sound less noisy and more like conventional music than Russolo's ones.

If you want to know more about Italian futurist music of the early XX century, you may also want to check out the compilation "Musica Futurista: The Art Of Noises" which isn't hard to find on the net, but it mostly consists of more or less conventional piano music, with only Russolo (and maybe also Marinetti) being truly "avant-garde" artists. As for Russian futurist movement of the same time, it was mostly about poetry and (to a lesser extent) visual art, and its ideology differs significantly from that of Italian futurists; however,the early Soviet Union did produce several interesting avant-garde musical works, like this one:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ганс Зиверс - "Кровавый Навет" [1986]

Artist: Ганс Зиверс
Title: Кровавый Навет
Genre: Neofolk, singer-songwriter
Country: USSR
Year: 1986

Track List:
  1. Астарот
  2. Аннабель
  3. В советском подвале
  4. Пубертатная революция
  5. Les structures de la pensee alchemique... (Диссертация)
  6. На острове Лесбос
  7. Нарцисс
  8. В розовом стакане
  9. Эверс
  10. Кадиллак
  11. Агасфер
  12. Нога (Песня о матери)
  13. Гелиополис
  14. Палестина
  15. Танго СА
  16. Москва 1982
  17. Золушка
  18. Гарпия
  19. В садах Гесперид
  20. У маркиза де Сада
  21. Violette
Yet another rare artefact of the Soviet underground scene, whose significance would probably be hard to understand outside the cultural context within which it was created, but which I'll post here anyway just for the sake of completeness. It's 30 years since this album was released, and the person behind this project is an internationally famous (or rather infamous) and controversial politician now. I'll leave finding out his real name to you (in case if you're interested ofc.), and will rather focus on the music, which is possibly the only example of Soviet neofolk (good or not). As for the pseudonym under which this album was published - it's a portmanteau of "Hanns Ewers" and "Wolfram Sievers".

The songs on this album were written during 1981-84 and recorded in 1986 with a cheap tape recorder. In 2000, the album was released on CD by Ur-Realist Records. Of course you shouldn't expect much from it: when it comes to music, it's just typical "one man and his acoustic guitar" type of songs which was the most common type of independent music in 1960-80s USSR, and just like in case with most other singers-songwriters of this kind, there isn't much to listen to if you don't understand the lyrics.

The lyrical content of this album, however, is starkly different from almost everything released in USSR (no matter officially or unoficially) before. The lyrics are inspired mainly by XIX century Romanticism and gothic horror literature, as well as ancient mythos, medieval occult literature, and the 3rd Reich mysticism - basically, everything that projects like Death In June took their inspiration from (although I seriously doubt that anyone in the USSR knew about DI6 or Currect 93 in the early 80s). Ultumately, it's one of the most provocative and unusual releases in the Soviet underground scene before the late perestroika, and it deserves a place in history no matter if you love or hate it (or its author).

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Izakaron - "Chaoschrist" [2000]

Artist: Izakaron
Title: Chaoschrist
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
Country: Russia
Year: 2000

Track List:
  1. Hunting On Troyan Path
  2. Aphrodite Of Hatred
  3. Woods Of Thy Might
  4. Thou Art Incarnated Souls
  5. The Origin
  6. I Am Of The Serpent
  7. The Profound
  8. Cold Kingdom
  9. Benighted / At The 9th Gate
Surprisingly good symphonic black metal from the same era as the Valhalla album I'm posted here a couple of days ago. The band was formed in 1997 not so far from me - in Dzerzhinsk, a place that isn't very famous for its metal scene, and they were one of the first in my region to play black metal (along with Drauggard, which were formed in 2003, and whose early releases weren't nearly as good as this one). At least some of the band members were professional musicians (although I doubt if any of them still play any sort of music). Here's their only photo I could find, probably taken shortly after they have formed (later they've recruited some additional members, including a female keyboardist). It's so 90s :)

Fortunately, their music is much better than this photo, even if the quality of production isn't perfect (but fairly good for its time). "Chaoschrist" was one of the first black metal albums I've heard in early 2000s, and it left a strong impression on me at the time. Today, after I've listened to a myriad of metal albums, it doesn't impress me as much, but I still think it's a shame they haven't released anything beside this album (+ a couple of demos in late 90s)...

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Valhalla - "Winterbastard" [2000]

Artist: Valhalla
Title: Winterbastard
Genre: Black Metal, "Forest Metal"
Country: Russia
Year: 2000

Track List:
  1. Winterbastard
  2. Dreams of Apocalypse
  3. ...Fireshine of Lightnings
  4. Wintry Dreams
  5. Towards the Eternal Unlight ...on Black Wings of Death
  6. Ins Nama'v Great Fyr
  7. Requiem to the Welkin
  8. Starflaming Heart of Ural
  9. Eve of Winterdawn
There's a shitton of bands called Valhalla: alone lists 21 of them (counting the exact matches only). This particular one were pioneers of Urals black metal scene, along with Thy Repentance. I won't bother with writing their history down, because it's already done on their official site. It mentions a demo tape which should be released in winter 2001-2002, but apparently it never was, so this album and the earlier demo "The Wolfish Nocturne" remain Valhalla's only releases.

Today, Valhalla is remembered mostly because Satt aka 121 was in their line-up since autumn 1997. Later he went on founding several other projects including Velehentor, as well as his own webzine where he mostly tears apart shitty obscure black metal releases from all over the world. On "Winterbastard", he mostly plays keyboards, but he also has performed vocals in 3 tracks which were recorded after Valhalla's original vocalist was fired from the band in early 2000.

Musically, it's definitely black metal inspired by Scandinavian bands of the 90s, but the band members themselves preferred to call it "Forest Metal". I can see where they were coming from: "Winterbastard" is too atmospheric and has too much keyboards to be counted as "trve" black metal by 90's standards. Thanks to Satt's keyboard work, at times it sound surprisingly similar to Rakoth's "Planeshift", which also was recorded in late 90s, and features lots of keyboards too. I have no complains about both of the vocalists (Schur and Satt) as neither of them sounds annoying to me (which is often the case with melodic/symphonic black metal, sadly), but my personal favourite on "Winterbastard" is the instrumental epic "Starflaming Heart of Ural". As for the album's name, it's a wordplay which unfortunately was lost in translation.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Velehentor ‎- "Boeing: There And Back Again" [2004]

Artist: Velehentor
Title: Boeing: There And Back Again
Genre: Dark Ambient, Power Electronics, Rhythmic Noise
Country: Russia
Year: 2004

Track List:
  1. Opening The Womb Of Enola Gay (Lullaby For The Empire Of Rising Sun)
  2. Eternity Of An Instance
  3. New Sun Is Setting Over The World
  4. Wargasm 911
  5. Flights Grounded
  6. 168:1
I already have posted a short overview of this project (which is one of the most professional and best known dark ambient / industrial / noise projects from Russia) a couple of years ago, but I think it'd be timely to post this particular release on this day. Its name is an obvious pun on "Hobbit: There And Back Again", and the track names suggest such sources of inspiration as the Hiroshima bombing (#1-3), the 9/11 attack (#4-5), and the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 (#6). Musically, it's quite diverse, ranging from pure dark ambient (#2) to rhythmic noise and power electronics, and generally fits the whole "anti-human electronic music" line of the whole Velehentor's discography - although the project is best known for releases like "Stonewells of Aeternity" and "Dyatlov's Pass", which are more or less pure dark ambient.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Xmal Deutschland - "Fetisch" [1983]

Artist: Xmal Deutschland
Title: Fetisch
Genre: Gothic Rock, Post-Punk
Country: Germany
Release date: 1983

Track List: 
  1. Qual
  2. Geheimnis
  3. Young Man
  4. In der Nacht
  5. Orient
  6. Hand in Hand
  7. Kämpfen
  8. Danthem
  9. Boomerang
  10. Stummes Kind
  11. Qual (12" remix)
  12. Zeit
  13. Sehnsucht
The debut full-length album by Xmal Deutschland, generally not as interesting as the subsequent two releases, but all the trademark elements of XmalD sound and atmosphere are already present on this one. "Hand in Hand" is an especially good track, albeit very minimalistic.

Xmal Deutschland - "Viva" [1987]

Artist: Xmal Deutschland
Title: Viva
Genre: Gothic Rock, Post-Punk
Country: Germany
Release date: 1987

Track List:
  1. Matador
  2. Eisengrau
  3. Sickle Moon
  4. If Only
  5. Feuerwerk (31·Dez)
  6. Illusion
  7. Morning (Will There Really Be)
  8. Manchmal
  9. Polarlicht
  10. Ozean
  11. Dogma I
  12. 4
"Viva" is the 3rd album by Xmal Deutschland, released 3 years after their best work "Tocsin". In terms of sound and atmosphere, it's somewhere between "Toscin" and XmalD's late 90's new wave works that had more to do with 80's pop than gothic rock. That said, "Viva" is 100% old style goth rock/post-punk, just a bit "lighter" than XmalD's first two releases, and with more English lyrics. If you follow my blog closely, you probably already are familiar with one of the best songs off this album, "Polarlicht" (which was covered by Coptic Rain on their "Discovery" EP). The two opening tracks are awesome too.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Xmal Deutschland - "Tocsin" [1984]

Artist: Xmal Deutschland
Title: Tocsin
Genre: Gothic Rock, Post-Punk
Country: Germany
Release date: 1984

Track List: 
  1. Mondlicht
  2. Eiland
  3. Reigen
  4. Tag für Tag
  5. Augenblick
  6. Begrab mein Herz
  7. Nachtschatten
  8. Xmas In Australia
  9. Derwisch
  10. Incubus Succubus II
  11. Vito
Xmal (or X Mal, X-mal) Deutschland were an important old-school gothic rock band from Hamburg, Western Germany. I already have mentioned them in connection with Coptic Rain, but this album (the best in their discography, in my opinion) deserves its own entry.

Xmal Deutschland started in 1980 as an all-girl band, and while this album had a different line-up, all vocals on there are female, performed by Anja Huwe with her unique "howling" style. XmalD are often compared to Siouxsie & The Banshees, but I think their music is much darker, more "gothic" than "(post-)punk" or "new wave" etc. In particular, this album sounds exactly how the classic gothic rock should sound IMO. I well remember showing it during mid-2000s to the people whose idea of "gothic rock" were HIM-like bands :) Too bad XmalD had to split up in early 1990s (just like many other interesting 80s' acts), and didn't receive the recognition they've deserved. Still, they managed to release this album on 4AD records, which gave them some international recognition (which wasn't that easy for a band singing primarily in German). The atmosphere on this album is just amazing, which might be the reason why it left a much stronger impression on me than many much better known releases by British goth rock bands from the same epoch.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Coptic Rain - "11:11" [1995]

Artist: Coptic Rain
Title: Eleven:Eleven
Genre: Aggro-Industrial, Industrial Metal
Country: Slovenia
Release date: 1995

Track List: 
  1. The Moment
  2. Unseen - Untold
  3. ?Sane?
  4. Double Edge
  5. Sweethome Under White Clouds (Virgin Prunes cover)
  6. Videodrome
  7. Yggdrasil
  8. Gallery
  9. First Wave
  10. Mind Cage
  11. Clarions End
  12. Ascension
  13. Implants
  14. The Moment (Cyberbass Mix)
  15. ?Sane? (No Greys Mix)
The second album by Coptic Rain, which is similar in many ways to their third (and the best) release "Clarion's End", but with harsher and more diverse sound. The "heavyness" of guitars on "Eleven:Eleven" is roughly the same than on "Clarion's End", but there's more distorted vocals, sirens, etc. There are also several interesting experimental tracks (def. more interesting than the noise interludes on the "Discovery" EP), including "Videodrome" - a homage to the eponymous cult movie by David Cronenberg. The only weak spot on this album is the cover of Virgin Prunes track (although those who like the debut album of CR, "Dies Irae", might like this track too).

Overall, "Eleven:Eleven" is a very good representation of mid-90s aggro-industrial, and the use of female vocals is definitely a plus too. Too bad Coptic Rain had to split up a decade and a half ago without getting much recognition. They surely have deserved more!

Coptic Rain - "Clarion's End" [1996]

Artist: Coptic Rain
Title: Clarion's End
Genre: Aggro-Industrial, Industrial Metal
Country: Slovenia
Release date: 1996

Track List:
  1. The Haunt
  2. Devil In Disguise (Elvis Presley cover)
  3. Into The Sun
  4. And All I Loved
  5. Rejoice
  6. Selvas
  7. Midgard
  8. Cortex Wave
  9. Scanner
  10. Slepnir
  11. Even Closer
Yes, this is that 1996 Coptic Rain album which I consider to be the best in their whole discography (and one of my all-time favourites in general). This album is dominated by cathy energetic songs like "The Haunt" or "Cortex Wave", which I'd rather call "industrial punk" than "industrial metal", although it's diverse enough to have even one acoustic ballad ("And All I Loved"). Katrin Radman's slightly distorted vocals sound cold and robotic, yet energetic and touching at the same time - a perfect kind of vocal work for such kind of music. The best song on the whole album, "Rejoice", makes up for its name as I become inexplicably happy each time I listen to it. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Coptic Rain - "Discovery" [1998]

Artist: Coptic Rain
Title: Discovery
Genre: Aggro-Industrial, Industrial Metal
Country: Slovenia
Release date: 1998

Track List: 
  1. Restricted
  2. People Are Strange (The Doors cover)
  3. Fantom
  4. The Pentagram
  5. Painted Bird (Siouxsie And The Banshees cover)
  6. Eclipse '99
  7. Bullet The Blue Sky (U2 cover)
  8. Forbidden
  9. Polarlicht (X-mal Deutschland cover)
  10. Painted Bird (DB-Mix)
  11. Where Are U Now
  12. Painted Bird (Slower Mix)
It isn't hard to tell what this EP is about, from its title: "DisCOVERy". All the covers on there sound better (or at least no worse) than the originals, except for "Bullet The Blue Sky" (the only song on this EP which I dislike). The X-Mal Deutschland's "Polarlicht" cover is especially good, although I love the original Anja Huwe's version of this song too. There are also several short noisy interludes (however, you won't lose much by skipping them).

Coptic Rain - "The Last World" [2000]

Artist: Coptic Rain
Title: The Last World
Genre: Industrial Metal
Country: Slovenia
Release date: 2000

Track List: 
  1. New Dawn
  2. After Hours
  3. Thought vs The Dragon
  4. Purple Song
  5. Fire Inbetween
  6. Pastplastik
  7. Cold Cut
  8. Rio
  9. Against Perfection
  10. Clandestine Clean
  11. The Day That Passed
Another Slovenian band that I wanted to post on here for the long time. I don't remember how exactly I've discovered Coptic Rain, but they were one of the first aggro-industrial bands (and definitely the first one with the female vocals) I've heard. That was in early 2000s, when the only their songs available to me were "After Hours" on the "old", and several songs from their 1996 album encoded in horrible bitrate (something like 16kbps - remember that it was almost 15 years ago when the internet was quite slow and the size of downloads mattered a lot).

In mid-2000s, I finally found their complete discography on a pirate MP3 compilation CD, and I have no words to describe how happy I was. After all these years, they still are among my favourite industrial metal bands (note that their idea of how "industrial metal" should sound was quite different from that of many modern bands). This is the last album in their discography, and definitely the most accessible to an average listener. I like the vocal work of Katrin Radman on there - here voice fits the music extremely well, and reminds me of such female-fronted gothic rock bands as X-Mal Deutschland.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Borghesia - "No Hope No Fear" [1987]

Artist: Borghesia
Title: No Hope No Fear
Genre: Old School EBM
Country: Slovenia
Release date: 1987

Track List: 
  1. Ni Upanja, Ni Strahu / No Hope No Fear
  2. Na Smrtno Kazen / Sentenced To Death
  3. 133
  4. Blato / Mud
  5. Lovci / Hunters
  6. Mi Smo Povsod / We Are Everywhere
Borghesia, formed in 1982 in Ljubljana, were among the first industrial projects from Slovenia, along with Laibach. Like Laibach, they have evolved from a contemporary art group ("Theatre FV-112/15"), and they also have flirted with various political imagery for shock value. However, they never got as internationally famous as Laibach, although they did have some successes (such as their appearance on Swedish national radio in 1988). The band split up in 1995, but re-united in 2009.

While early Borghesia recordings are said to be new wave/disco (not sure about that, because I haven't listened to their first two cassettes), this one is pure old school EBM in the vein of DAF and Front 242. The "totalitarian disco" label, which is often applied to many Laibach works, is quite applicable to late-80s' Borghesia too. I also like the pixel-style cover art which has a very old school and "cyberpunk"-ish feel to it (the earlier Borghesia albums featured mostly fetish/BDSM imagery on their covers).