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:
There are, of course, traditional metal instruments used in this music. Based on what I hear, the music also includes folk instruments such as flute, balalaika, accordion, bagpipes, and frenzied fiddling (courtesy of guest musician Misha JetLaim Talanov). I think there’s a harpsichord in here, too, as well as bits of electronica and a bass drop or two.
As for the always-exuberant music, it combines dervish-like folk dances and ball-rupturing breakdowns, stuttering djent-like grooves and grindcore rampages, lurching stomps and bursts of blackened barbarism. There’s even a hip-hop version of one of the earlier tracks that closes the album, as well as a Russian cover of “Can You Feel My Heart” by Bring Me the Horizon that turns it into something more like a pop dance track than a metal song — a damned catchy one that includes angelic choral voices as well as baritone intonations and abrasive rasps.
Through it all, and never far away, there are traditional, folk-influenced melodies and rhythms that tie everything together, even though the music often seems like its going to burst its bonds and go careening off into the forest with its hair on fire.
Not surprisingly, the vocals are also all over the place — and the vocals are also one of the album’s strengths. With lyrics in Russian, the voices include abrasive howls, growls, roars, and shrieks; throaty, vodka-soaked yells; and clean vocals, too (some of them the uber-macho variety, but even some female vocals by guest artist Alexandra Sidorova (Sky Too High, ex-Rarog, Imperial Age).
There’s clearly a lot of inventive talent on display here. The last I knew, the band included three members of one of our favorite Russian groups, Kartikeya, but I’m no longer positive who is involved with this album. It sounds like an army at work, but only three members are identified, by the names Mityai, Kudeyar, and Potapych. And Kartikeya’s Roman Arsafes (who is also a member of many other musical projects we’ve covered at NCS) handled the recording, mixing, and mastering of the album. Predictably, the sound is first class.
And with that, I’ll leave you to the music. A few shots of vodka before listening wouldn’t hurt.
To buy the album, go here (you’ll see that there’s an instrumental version of the album available at the second link):
And below you’ll find the full stream on two players.
ZMEY GORYNICH on Facebook: