Last night and this morning I saw two new music videos that made an impression. By chance, both bands are from Russia — Impact Fuze and Welicoruss. Though the videos could hardly be more different from each other, both musically and visually, joining them together here just struck me as the right thing to do (and I haven’t even been hitting the vodka) — two sides of a Russian coin: the urban and the rural, the new and the old, a forest of skyscrapers and a forest of pines, the bustle of mechanization and a clash of swords.
TheMadIsraeli sent me a link to this band’s video for a song called “Moscow”. Impact Fuze consists of three extremely talented musicians — guitarist Fedor Dosumov, bass-player Anton Davidyants, and a French drummer named Damien Schmitt. “Moscow” isn’t really metal. The musical style is closer to jazz/rock fusion, but the performances are so extraordinary that I couldn’t resist this video.
Dosumov’s guitar playing reaches jaw-dropping levels of dexterity and creativity, reminding me of great ones like Pat Metheny, Allan Holdsworth, and Alex Skolnick (when he’s performing with his Trio). Schmitt is equally amazing, especially when he’s on his feet, hitting the skins while spinning like a top. And Davidyants is a match for them on the bass, bounding but tight as a drumhead.
The black-and-white video for the song is also an amazing achievement. It was produced and directed by Vladimir “voff” Youdanov, Tamara Cengic, and a team from a company called Voffilms. The imagery moves as fast as the performers, with time-lapse film of modern Moscow on the move interspersed with a visual kaleidoscope of the band performing the song. It’s an inspired union of music and film, one of the best videos I’ve seen all year.
This explanation for the video, which appears as a description with the YouTube clip, is worth reading before you watch:
“‘Great things are better seen from a distance’ — can you say that about the town you were born and grew up in? The daily routine hides the character like a green net hides a never-ending construction work. What building lies beneath the net? You were walking by it for years and yet never even thought about it. Damien Schmitt: a French man, in Moscow for the first time. A shock for an expatriate is an inspiration for a musician. The architecture and rhythms of the city set a tone to a tune, giving a name to a full album and music video. By watching Damien we began to understand Moscow all over again. What does the city look like from another angle? What is covered up, what is revealed? Where does it take you by spinning in its circles and roundabouts? The result of this vision is a music video, both tight and sincere.”
Impact Fuze has recently released a debut album, also called Moscow. They have a Soundcloud page with three songs from the album, including the title track. You can find them on Facebook here, where there’s info about how to get the album. And if you’re into this kind of music, there’s a compilation available for free download on Bandcamp (here) that features “some of the most famous and promising names in Russian and Ukrainian jazz today.” The comp is called Flight and it includes yet another song from Impact Fuze.
Now, let’s flip over to the other side of the coin.
Welicoruss is from a large city in Russia called Novosibirsk, which is located in Siberia. Founded in 2002, they’ve released two albums to date — Wintermoon Symphony (2008) and Apeiron (2009). They’ve been at work on a third album for a while, and although it doesn’t appear that a release date has yet been set, about two weeks ago the band decided to release an EP called Kharnha. It includes five tracks, two of which are instrumental arrangements, and the band has made it available for free download at these locations:
I haven’t yet listened to the whole EP, but I’ve now seen and heard the music video for the EP’s title track. The song is a rousing combination of metal styles. I guess you could call it blackened symphonic pagan folk metal, with both clean vocals and harsh ones. It tells the story (which is depicted in the video) of a warrior who loses his life in battle but is brought back to his world by spirits or deities of some sort (quite beautiful ones) to wreck havoc on his enemies. On many levels, it’s a sharp contrast with the first video in this post.
This style of metal isn’t what I usually gravitate toward, but I got into this song and I had fun watching the video. Maybe you will, too:
To get more info about Welicoruss, here are their web pages: