Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Free International Travel, Courtesy of Metal Inquisition (Part 1)

Foreign travel can be a satisfying experience. This year alone I've been lucky enough to spend time in five different countries, and have thus enjoyed varied cultures, types of public transportation and (perhaps more importantly) experienced five varying degrees of cleanliness among the populations of these countries. As great as this all sounds, I've also found myself cursing about the horrible state of bathrooms in five different countries, and I've also been let down by how terrible one thing or another is in specific places around the world. Andorra's bathrooms are okay, but have you tried to get a decent sandwich there? Why is it so hard to get a burrito in South America? It's for these reasons that today we are offering a free, transatlantic trip to all of our readers. Why pay for expensive airfare when you can enjoy other cultures from the comfort of your own home?

Today we are going to Russia (virtually, that is), and will learn about its culture and customs the only way we know how...by looking at some of its record covers. These were sent to us by one of our readers, who I will assume looks like Borat. I know what you're thinking, Borat is a fictitious character played by a Jewish guy from England, and it incorrectly portrays a Kazakh person, not a Russian, and the movie was partially shot in Romania. Oh well, Kazakhztan used to be a part of the Soviet Union...so for most of us, that's close enough.


For most western metal fans, their knowledge about Russia is limited to the following:

- The Scorpions had that song "Winds of Change" about the Berlin wall, which references "Gorky Park". I should tell you that Mr Gene Hoglan's Balls and I have sung (or is that "sang"?) this song in kareokee multiple times, and we always forget how hard it is to follow along. Like a lost puppy finding its way back home, however, we always manage to nail the "Gorky Park" line.

- There was a band called Gorky Park, and some of us saw a picture of them in Metal Hammer back in the 80s, but we can't remember what they looked like, much less what they sounded like.

- James Heatfield went to Russia to hunt, and talks about it in the Some Kind Of Monster movie, where he describes drinking vodka with the locals during this trip. Like most of you, I was hoping a mountain lion of some kind would have ripped the remaining part of his face that the acne didn't damage during this teenage years. Either that, or perhaps a bear could have eaten him whole. Sadly, the only thing that happened during the trip was that he became a full blown alcoholic, and subsequently made the band suck worse.

- Metallica and Pantera played that huge show there a long time ago, and the footage features soldiers that are either getting into the music, or beating people who are getting into the music...but can you blame them? If you had a stick, and the ability to beat Pantera fans in their face and neck area, wouldn't you? I know I would.

That's about all most westerners know. So although I'm sure that entire region of the world is now filled with black metal bands (what country isn't?), horrible R&B and Wu-Tang-like hip hop..we have chosen instead to take a step back and look at album covers from the heydey of Russian musical production. Since we do not have access to the actual records, or background information about the artists, but we want to review them anyway, I will make some educated guesses about their musical content and share them with you.





Having left the band he started and helped him rise to popularity, Kris Kelmi (real name Saul Rabinowitz) opted for a more pop-based approach to his first solo album. Titled "open your sesame", this amazing musical effort takes its name from a sexual slur that is commonly used around asian prostitutes in Moscow's red light district. Having sworn to never use keyboards on his records, Kris widened his musical spectrum in this release, much like an asian prostitute opening her "sesame". Critics have often said that the albums tone and musical direction was highly influenced the Page & Coverdale album, but they are wrong. Only his hair and silver sport coat were influenced by Coverdale...the music is so horrible, that it has no predesessors.





As one of the leading bands in the prog scene in Russia, these guys were true pioneers. Not content with simple musical structures, Aria (or Apur, or whatever that logo says) opted for complex time signatures derived from traditional Russian music. Like most other prog bands, Aria produced only concept albums. This album in particular deals with an giant robot overloard known as "Kzchecheuz", who rules the land and shoots down helicopters that are transporting illegal jeans from America. Kzchecheuz, the robot overloard, seeks to control all denim production, and will stop at nothing to control the making and distribution of low-grade and premium denim throughout the world. Highlights of the album include:

- All Denim Is My Denim
- Wait In Line For Jeans, This Will Be The Way

Shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Aria changed musical and lyrical directions. Four out of the six band members are now in a Boyz II Men tribute band.







With influences ranging from Slayer to Manowar, Abivct (or whatever that says) were a groundbreaking act in the Ukranian metal scene. Before the Soviet collapse, the band members recided and worked in the greater Chernovyl area, and as a result all of them emit a soft reddish glow that is only captured in photographic film. As a result of their exposure to severe amounts of radiation, the band's singer also sprouted a sword made of light which he uses as a stage prop. While this makes for great theatrics, sleeping with it permanently attached to his palms has turned out to be a bit of a pain. Similarly, his clothes and drapes have been torn to shreds. See the bottom of his shirt/smock? It's not cut up for fashion's sake, that fucking sword will cut any fabric like a hot knife through butter. When this guy says "wimps and posers leave the hall!" you better leave, or else he will kill you with his radioactice supersword!






South Florida's Nocturnus were a pioneering act in the world of death metal, primeraly due to their use of keyboards. Althoug you'd think that merely using an already existing instrument in poorly written music, and burrying it in the mix would be rather par for the course, the guys from Nocturnus congratulated themselves for this stroke of genius for the better part of a decade. Why do I mention this? Because the effects of Nocturnus and their innovative use of a horrid instrument are still being felt behind the no-longer existing iron curtain. Inspired by the Florida death unit known as Nocturnus, this Russian dude (whose name I can't decipher) has chosen to use the very latest technology available in Russia (which is basically an Apple IIe) and blended it with lyrics inspired by the pages of Keyboard Magazine. And why does he do all this? Is it for the sake of musical exploration? Well, yes...but it's also to seduce Saturday Night Live alumni Victoria Jackson, who has apparently ended up living in Russia and working in his makeshift recording studio.






More to come in Part 2.

30 comments:

  1. pantera fans suck so hard
    SUCH AN OVERRATED BAND!
    there i said it, and it feels damn good!

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  2. one of my favourite bands hieronymus bosch (or however you spell it) comes from russia. i think there's a new zealand act of the same name, but they're very different.

    i wish album covers were still as good as those. i love ed repka, but where are the super light swords on his covers?

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  3. Having been to Russia, I can attest to the fact that some of the people do indeed look like Borat.

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  4. I love this update and can't wait for more. This is topical, so I will say that I visit this site once or twice a week and love it:

    http://englishrussia.com/

    Because Russia is super awesome.

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  5. Minor correction: Victoria Jackson is an alumna, not an alumni.

    P.S, please tell us more about bathrooms around the world and what metal is like in Europe. Also, are there Juggalos in Europe? Scene girls in Russia? Sounds like an assignment for the Sarge.

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  6. in all seriousness, i LOVE Alkonost. Probably my fave metal record (Heart Stone's Blood) of 2008.

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  7. I can't believe that in the "things we know about Russia" you didn't include the Moscow Peace Festival. By the way, Gorky Park was there.

    http://loquemedicenlasvoces.blogspot.com/

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  8. I've also wondered if Europe had juggalos. Doesn't seem likely because people in Europe are more intelligent and have better things to do than put on clown ma....uh whoops...I mean I lived in Germany for 7 years and don't think I saw any, but who knows?

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  9. I'm sorry to report this, but in the U.K. we do have Juggalos, but they are mocked mercilessly.

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  10. Scene girls in Russia? Sounds like an assignment for the Sarge.

    Good question! I know there are a lot in Germany, or so it seems from all the Youtube videos that German scene girls put up. Not sure about Russia, but I hope so- I love Russian girls so that would be a great combo!

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  11. gorky park had some video for a song called "bang"... the word BANG was the only word i could understand in the entire song, and i'm pretty sure there was a sound effect of an anvil being struck on every beat, in time with the hi-hat....unless they kept it real by actually playing a fucking anvil in the studio...god they sucked.

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  12. Well, Anon, let me refresh your memory...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fmVkWdiVfM

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  13. Bang,
    say da da da da!
    Tell me yes
    and let's feed the fire!


    I'm not sure when the Crab Walk was invented, but Gorky Park turned it from an infuriating maneuver into something that fills you with a bit of pity....Regardless, douche chills are still deeply experienced.

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  14. Although I love, and want, a radioactive supersword,the best part of the Abivct cover is the fact that the guy on the right( who may or may not be dry humping the anus of the feather haired dude in front of him) seems to be looking away from the camera in shame.

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  15. i have that arvict (?) record. its been a while, but from what i remember its power metal (who would have guessed) and its not that bad.

    all my stuff is currently in storage, but i kinda want to go dig that out now.

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  16. Russia doesn't have juggalos yet, wait 10 years. I think they just found out about Limp Bizkit over there.

    Aria FuKeN RuLeZ, but i didn't know ripping off iron maiden was progressive.

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  17. Check some REALLY sucked russian album covers:

    http://alekspop.4bb.ru/viewtopic.php?id=385

    Some sucked Gorky Park photos:

    http://alekspop.4bb.ru/viewtopic.php?id=321

    And some "glam-wannabees" from former Soviet Union...

    http://alekspop.4bb.ru/viewtopic.php?id=329

    And some funny pics from 1970-1980s

    http://alekspop.4bb.ru/viewtopic.php?id=416

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  18. Manolo, I remember the Russian Peace Festival. I think Bon Jovi's manager set it up as part of plea bargaining deal for when he got caught with a shitload of coke though I don't know how putting together a concert in Russia featuring a bunch of American hair bands equals time served. Hell, that douchelord should have gotten life imprisonment just for inflicting Bon Jovi and Skid Row upon us.

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  19. It was actually called the "Moscow Music and Peace Festival". I remember being stoked to see Motley Crue and then they sucked.

    It is almost as if Gorky Park was fabricated specifically for this very fest. That song "Bang" is totally hilarious. Terrible!

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  20. On a six week coast to coast drive across the US, myself and some mates stopped off in a bar somewhere in California. They were doing a Karaoke night and my mate Fred got up and did Winds of Change. The thing is, he sings in a mock Hair Metal band Snakes of Desire:

    http://www.snakesofdesire.com/

    They do Winds of Change as a cover, so he knew the entire song, without prompts. Including the whistling parts. Man, he had that place on fire, especially when he revealed he was wearing a blond wig at the climax of the song. Great days.

    PS I fucking hate Pantera as well.

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  21. Alex, that sounds priceless. we sucked at singing it...but we have done a few choice Kiss songs at which we excel. I'm also very fond of doing the Ozzy/Lita duet with any lady that will take me up on it.

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  22. At a works Christmas party myslf and an equally drunk colleague did Highway to Hell as a Death/Black metal duet:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bi0KHUMnMr8

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  23. Alternate:
    - All your Denim are belong to us.

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  24. Sweet jams, my friend. Those last guys look like the russian chris and cosey.

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  25. I visited Moscow in 1989 and had the fortune to buy some prime Soviet-era metal. On vinyl of course - none of yer decadent capitalist cassettes or compact discs.

    Black Coffee's album Step Over The Threshold - http://media.englishrussia.com/soviet_discs/1_068.jpg - is actually rather good; the cover and title suggest death metal but it's actually regular Euro-metal. But they did an English-language album a few years later called Golden Lady, with the Statue of Liberty on the cover. I found it in a bargain bin in London for 1 pound, which is at least 5 pounds more than it's actually worth.

    Cruise 1 on the other hand - http://media.englishrussia.com/soviet_discs/1_077.jpg - despite the Motley-look (5 years after Shout At The Devil) played thrash. Badly. So badly, that the record cover has to tell you that they are a "rock group". With marketing like that, is it any wonder that the Soviet Union collapsed?

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  26. Does anyone remember the Russian band Metal Corrosion? I remember they got in trouble for some Satanic acts but can't remember what.

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  27. Most of the comments here don't have a clue about Russian Metal. Among dozens of 80's Hair-"Metal", 90's Folk-Metal and Euro-Metal clones, there are some excellent bands here. ARIA is a top-class bands, and, despite its SCORPIONS and IRON MAIDEN influences, they reach the level of these two aforementioned bands in the best respective eras.

    The maniacs can go at the Corroseum, Metalrus, among other websites, and even YouTube, to find information and music, the other are just the pigs whom we give jam. And jam is lacking today.

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  28. Aria and Avgust are pretty good but during the 80's and early 90's there were lots of better bands in Russia and the USSR too, lots of thrash and death metal bands like:

    Shah
    Master (every country has one)
    Death Vomit
    Front
    Trashmachina
    Graveside
    Mortifer
    Holostoi Vystrel
    Mortem
    Great Sorrow
    Iron Stream

    I had a blog with a lot of this stuff here http://houseofsuffering.blogspot.com but all the d/l links are dead because it's old.

    Most if not all of these bands have metal-archives.com pages as well.

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  29. hold the fuck on, no one said anything about "hating pantera", or other disparaging comment of the like- a reference was made to the pleasure one would glean from hitting pantera fans with a billy club. pantera is unarguably badass; but still, most of my memories of "vulgar display of power" will forever include the weight room before football practice at snohomish high school- a traditional breeding ground of racist rednecks. i seem to remember the reddest of necks forever hitting rewind to play "walk" over and over- because "fucking hostile" was way too fast to pump iron to. i would've jumped at the chance to smash that dude or his minions with a club at almost any time during the six years i spent in school with those asshats.

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  30. Great article you have shared . Thank you so much this post .

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