Friday, November 22, 2019

Shexna - s/t [2013]

Artist: Shexna
Title: Shexna
Genre: Folk/Doom Metal (with Industrial Metal overtones)
Country: Russia
Release date: 2013

Track List:
  1. Плач (intro)
  2. Братья
  3. Дождь
  4. Горе
  5. Снегопад (instrumental)
  6. Кумушки
  7. Печаль
  8. Мертвец Говорит
  9. Расставание
Shexna, named after one of the most important rivers of the Russian North (and one of the most beautiful ones, so any band with such a name would catch my attention), is a side project of Ilya Morok (Bog~Morok) which is a continuation of his earlier band Во Скорбях that played a very unorthodox mix of funeral doom metal and folk metal. While the style of Shexna can be described as folk/doom metal as well, it has a very distinct math/industrial metal riffing, and noticeably better production. The vocal style is unusual and not for everyone's liking; quite a few people have even compared it to Egor Letov's vocal style (especially on the second track and the more punk-ish parts of the 8th track).

All the songs on this album, except for the third one, are metal interpretations of the traditional folk songs that deal with the topics of death, afterlife and relationship between the living and the dead (worth nothing that the band had put a lot of work in collecting such songs). However, it's not a pagan metal album (even if it looks like so at a first glance), and there's nothing specifically "pagan" in the lyrics. Despite Morok's love for electronic elements in his music, none of the folk instruments on this album are synthesized (although they sometimes sound this way, especially on the third track). Overall, it's definitely an unique work that stands out among more "standard" /cliched folk metal albums, for better or for worse. Unfortunately, compared to the only album by Во Скорбях, it went largely unnoticed, especially outside Russia. Don't think I can name any other band that sounds like that (the closest would be Risha or Second to Sun, but neither are based in doom metal).

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Bog-Morok - "Azoic" [2003]

Artist: Bog[~]Morok
Title: Azoic
Genre: Death/Doom Metal (with Industrial Metal overtones)
Country: Russia
Release date: 2003

Track List:
  1. Penitento
  2. Ignis Fatuus
  3. Flagrant
  4. Azoic
  5. Verve
  6. Athwart
  7. Exegesis
  8. Alas
  9. Defragmentized
Getting back on the track of posting good but overlooked metal albums from Eastern Europe, here's the debut full-length album by Bog Morok. Its style is fairly representative of the kind of doom/death metal which was popular at the time it was released, although you can already hear some industrial influences there (listen to the whole album, and you'll see how it's become more and more electronic towards to the end). If I find some free time in the next couple of weeks, I'll also review some other projects of Ilya Morok, so stay tuned.

Everyday is Halloween

Even if Halloween is not widely celebrated here in Eastern Europe (and the more conservative part of society generally views its celebration as a sign of cultural colonization), it seems to be a kind of a professional holiday for all the metal musicians on my social media feeds. Unfortunately I was too busy with other stuff to post anything on this blog during the last few weeks, yet don't think I'm late with posting this - since, as it was put by Ministry, the Halloween is everyday for us:

"Well i live with snakes and lizards
and other things that go bump in the night
cos to me everyday is halloween
i have given up hiding and started to fight
i have started to fight

Well any time, any place, anywhere that i go
all the people seem to stop and stare
they say 'why are you dressed like it's halloween?
you look so absurd, you look so obscene'"

If Wikipedia is to be believed, the music writer Dave Thompson described "(Everyday Is) Halloween" as having been "adopted as the anthem of America's disenfranchised Gothic community". It's definitely one of the best songs from the early Ministry's synthpop period, although my personal top favourite is "We Believe":

For me it's firmly on par with the best of their later industrial rock/metal stuff (although it honestly would be better if Al Jourgensen had finally put the band to rest in 2008). And now ir's time to post some Halloween photos from my Instagram feed. Let's start with Justine Daae of Elyose...

...continue with Natalia Zolotova of Cold Sight (yes, I like girls wearing hats, and seems like many of my favourite female vocalists love to wear them too)...

... and finish with this awesome black'n'white photo of Daria Zaritskaya:

It's not exactly a Halloween photo (although it was posted on Halloween), but I just love to see long-legged Daria wearing those boots (especially with the 12cm high heels), and judging from her replies on Instagram, she loves this style even more than I do. Quite similar to the style of Elena (ex-Xalynar), who also got both musical talent and beautiful legs, and loved to wear short dresses with knee-high boots on stage :3