We’ve been following the creative pursuits of Moscow-based artist and sound engineer Roman Arsafes for almost as long as this site has been in existence. We first learned of him through the excellent releases of his band Kartikeya, and since then have followed his work through many other earlier and later projects in which he has either been a member of a group or a solo artist, including Nevid, Above the Earth, Zmey Gorynich, and of course Arsafes. Today it’s our pleasure to bring you the premiere of a new Arsafes single named “Ziggurat“, which is being released today via Bandcamp.
Roman composed the song, produced it, and performs all the instruments and vocals, with orchestral arrangements by William Graney. The single on Bandcamp comes not only with the full new song but also with an instrumental-only version of the track, plus stems for drums, guitar, bass, keyboards, and vocals.
To borrow from Monty Python, “And Now For Something Completely Different“.
The album we’re about to premiere is perhaps the most unclassifiable record I’ve heard this year. It’s a wild, boisterous, constantly shifting collage of sounds and styles that, when described in mere words, sounds like it shouldn’t work at all — but trust me, this is as much fun as dancing with a drunk Russian bear (and only somewhat less likely to put you in the trauma ward).
And now for my attempt to sum up what you’re about to hear on Malafya, the debut album by Moscow’s Zmey Gorynich:
(TheMadIsraeli returns with another round-up of music from yesteryear that’s been keeping him company lately. Volume 1 can be found here. As will become obvious, the post’s title is tongue-in-cheek.)
Here we are with this again. I’m feeling this idea a lot, I have to admit. Getting right to it…
Exodus – Tempo Of The Damned
I honestly believe at the end of the day this is Exodus’ best Souza-era record. It has punch, attitude, mean-as-fuck riffs, and it feels like there’s a higher degree of precision here. I know people enjoyed the wild, free-spirited nature of their earlier albums, but I do feel like the band mastered their craft here.
It also stands as a pretty solid reminder that out of all the more popular American thrash bands, Exodus are the absolute KINGS of the mid-paced stomp. “Sealed with a Fist” is the epitomizing example, raunchy and in your face while being infectious and full of that piss and vinegar thrash captures so well.
(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by the Russian artist Arsafes, whose work with Kartikeya and other projects we’ve covered frequently at NCS)
I WAS going to review the new Crowbar, but something much more exciting to me (no insult to Crowbar, it’s fucking good) landed on my proverbial desk. It would be accurate to say that Arsafes and I are friends to some extent. We talk a good deal, we share music with each other, and I’m constantly nagging him about when Kartikeya’s gonna release Samudra. But right now, what matters is that he’s decided to revisit the idea of solo material.
There is one previous EP under the Arsafes moniker (discussed here), a blistering EP of industrial death metal with some Meshuggah-isms that was really impressive. Now he’s decided to revisit this idea and do a ful- length album. Not only has he decided to redo all the songs from the mentioned EP, he’s gotten quite a bit of new material together as well.
This is one of those days when the old fuckin’ day job is going to wipe out my blog time. So this will likely be our last post of this Friday. What I’ve done — hurriedly — is to feature a handful of things I heard last night that I think you should hear, too.
Burial Ground — the new album by the long-running French band Loudblast — is one I’ve been anxiously awaiting. In late March I featured the album’s first advance track, “Ascending Straight In Circles”, and yesterday DECIBEL premiered an official video for the same song. As I’ve written before, the music is part thrash, part death, part doom — and as catchy as it is decimating (with thoroughly ravaging vocals).
It appears the album will now be released on June 10, by Listenable Records. It can be pre-ordered here. Check out the video next.
In this post I’ve paired a new video by an interesting director for “A Mon Âme” by the French band Amenra, and a brand new song named “Dog Eat God” by Russian multi-instrumentalist Arsafes. They’re a study in contrasts.
What happens when a fashion photographer whose work has adorned ad campaigns by the likes of Christian Dior, Jil Sander, and Raf Simons turns his hand to a metal video? You’re about to find out.
Belgian photographer Willy Vanderperre says he was inspired to approach the sludge/doom band Amenra (who are also Belgian) after seeing them play live in Paris. Vanderperre explains: “Growing up in the same area of Belgium as the band members—no one captures the vibe and the spirit of South West Flanders in music as they do. The sound transports me back there instantly…. For the video, I wanted to be almost on their skin, very close in a hypnotic way.”
(Today we are proud to premiere the new song and video from an NCS favorite, Russia’s Kartikeya. TheMadIsraeli provides this introduction.)
I’m sure all of you are now frothing at the mouth as much as I was when I found out we’d be debuting “Tunnels of Naraka”. I’m especially excited and honored because it’s Kartikeya’s first-ever music video (which is done quite excellently I might add) and because the song we’re debuting is quite possibly one of their most brutal to date.
We’ve heard two songs from Samudra so far, those being “Durga Puja” and “Horrors of Home”. One displayed Kartikeya exploring their groove side a bit more, while the latter saw the band deliver a more evolved version of a solid standard Kartikeya track, full of heavy riffs, suffocating atmosphere, convincing mood, and an abundance of surprises. “Tunnels of Naraka” is both the third and perhaps the final song we’ll hear before this album is released, and what a high note to do so on.
Kartikeya are in my mind a quintessential example of what metal needs right now: Music that is brutal, epic, bombastic, and chaotic, while achieving proggy undertones and melodic reprieves at the same time.
Moscow-based Roman “Arsafes” Iskorostenskiy is one of those uncommon musicians whose creative impulses are multifaceted and who has the talent to follow them with remarkable success, despite how divergent they are.
We first became aware of him through the striking music of his Indian-influenced melodic death metal band Kartikeya, about which much has been written here at NCS. Later, we discovered his involvement with a Russian pagan-metal band called Nevid (Невидь), which has produced four full-length albums, the most of recent of which is 2011′s Agarta, (discussed here). Most recently, he has also collaborated with singer Aleksandra Radosavljevic (ex-Destiny Potato) to create an “Atmospheric/Ambient/Progressive Metal” project named Above the Earth, who we featured here and whose debut EP is coming soon.
But in addition to all that, Roman also has an ongoing solo project named Arsafes. The first work of the Arsafes project was a solo EP called A New Way of Creation that appeared in 2010. We wrote about that here and in that same post provided a link for a free download of the EP.
Now, the Arsafes project has a new album in the works, which with luck will be ready before the end of the year — and today we are giving you the exclusive premiere of its first single, “.onslaught.čoček.”, which is now available on Bandcamp. It features performances not only by Arsafes, but also by drummer extraordinaire Dirk Verbeuren (Soilwork, The Devin Townsend Project, etc.), David Maxim Micic (guitar) and Bojan Kvocka (bass) of Destiny Potato, and Fedor Vetrov (viola) (Veter Vodi, Nevid), as well as a cameo appearence by the above-mentioned Ms. Radosavljevic.
And if you’ve heard the first Arsafes EP, what you are about to hear is something very different, and it’s very, very good.
I’m thinking about having the words “Kartikeya Pimp” tattooed on my forehead. I’d have to convince my wife that Kartikeya is the name of a Russian metal band instead of a middle school cheerleader with a budding crack habit, but other than that it should be clear sailing, don’t you think?
I’m just trying to be honest, because we do write about this band a lot at NCS, and for good reason. They put the BAD in badass and the ASS in ass-kicking. Their latest release is the Durga Puja EP, which emerged last fall. It included two rewritten songs from the band’s debut album, two outstanding covers, and one new original song — the EP’s title track.
Yesterday, TheMadIsraeli tipped me to the fact that the band’s main man Arsafes had uploaded a video of himself performing a guitar playthrough of “Durga Puja”. It’s a reminder of how great that song is, and it’s just fun to watch Arsafes extract such beastly rhythms in the flesh.
The video is after the jump. It will tide us over until June 22, when Kartikeya has promised delivery of their next single (“Vayu”), which we presume (though we’re not sure) will appear on their next album, Samudra, and which will include guest appearances by NCS favorite Keith Merrow and Serbian vocalist Aleksandra Radosavljevic.
While I’m on the subject of Kartikeya, I want to mention that the band has now made all of their releases available for streaming and download on Bandcamp, which you can find via this link.
And while I’m on the subject of Arsafes, I also want to provide an update about one of his other bands — Above the Earth, which last week released their first single, “Trapeze”.
Kartikeya are a Russian melodic death metal band we’ve written about frequently at this site (use the search box on this page and you’ll see what I mean). The leader of Kartikeya is a very talented dude named Roman “Arsafes” Iskorostenskiy. We’ve previously explored a few of his other musical projects besides Kartikeya — a Russian pagan-metal band called Nevid (Невидь) and Arsafes’ own solo effort, with a 2010 EP called A New Way of Creation. But there’s still more:
Arsafes and a Serbian singer named Aleksandra Radosavljevic have collaborated to create a project called Above the Earth. Together they’ve recorded a demo of music described as “Atmospheric/Ambient/Progressive Metal”. The first piece of music I heard was an excerpt from a song called “All Our Dreams”, which they posted on YouTube as a preview of the demo. The first thought that popped into my head as the music began was, “this sounds like Devin Townsend!”
And then today, they posted the first full song, and guess what? It’s a cover of “Supercrush” from DT’s Addicted album. Now, you know we don’t include much clean singing on this site, because it’s mainly my site and I don’t have much patience for clean singing in metal. But there are exceptions, to be sure, and Devin Townsend is one of them — and “Supercrush” happens to be one of my favorite DT songs.
So, I approached this cover with both excitement and fear — excitement, because I know Arsafes is one immensely talented guy, and fear, because how can a cover of a song like “Supercrush” do anything but pale in comparison to the original? Well, it turns out that my fears were groundless, because Above the Earth nail that fucking song.