Sep 092012

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.

The first clue about the music comes from its title: According to The Font of All Human Knowledge, “Čoček” is “is a musical genre and dance that emerged in the Balkans during the early 19th century. In English, it is sometimes referred to as Gypsy brass.” But you won’t get that reference from the music at first.

At first, it’s a headlong onslaught of melodic death metal. But then something very interesting begins to happen at about the 1:20 mark. Different rhythms and melodies begin to emerge in the music, and Arsafes’ clean vocals begin to mix with his bestial roars. And before the song is over . . . well, you really ought to just hear this fascinating musical hybrid for yourself.


This should be a very interesting album. We hear that it will incorporate elements of traditional/folk music from many different countries and regions. World music goes metal? Hopefully, we will all get to find out before the new year.

To download “.onslaught.čoček.”, go to this location:

To follow progress on the Arsafes album, visit the Arsafes Facebook page here.



  5 Responses to “AN NCS PREMIERE: ARSAFES – “.onslaught.čoček.””


    *ahem* Thank you kindly good sir for making me aware of this development.

  2. That was real, real fucking tasty.

    Brass makes my jigglys feel all fuzzy and warm inside.

  3. This guy is brilliant, been following his stuff for a couple years now, someone really needs to give this man enough money to keep him in the studio and fund a North American tour.

  4. Pure awesome!

  5. He appears to be eating a trumpet of some kind… That might just explain this excellent blend of metal & folk music.

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