After a two-year absence on our site, the Parisian Soviet post-metal combine Dragunov return to us with a new release. Two years ago we were lauding their debut EP 637, and this time we have a song from their first full-length record, Korolev, which will be released on April 17th. The name of the track is “Kosmonavt“.
I think most of us can acknowledge the challenges confronting metal bands who choose (as Dragunov have) to do their work without a vocalist, and in this case the band’s line-up is even more spare since it consists of only two men — a guitarist (Seb) and a drummer (Tristan). Yet these two have developed a vision for their music that works extremely well despite their lean and mean configuration, one that combines a dark and distinctive atmosphere with the kind of punch that has a near-physical effect on the head.
In place of vocals, Dragunov use scratchy vocal samples in the introduction of this new song (as they do elsewhere on the album). They begin with simplicity, combining a lilting clean guitar harmony and a compulsive drum pattern, and then build the intensity and heaviness of the song by gradually adding musical layers, including lead guitar manifestations that appear like shimmering streams of fire in a dark, threatening sky. And the song as a whole has a threatening atmosphere, one that brings to mind visions of a dystopian future.
Yet as attractive as “Kosmonavt” is, it might be unfair to Dragunov to form an impression of Korolev based on this single song… as it might be to form an impression based on any single song from the album. Just as “Kosmonavt” is formed through the accretion of layers, so too the album as a whole creates a strong mental and emotional impression through the impact of immersion, by listening to all the songs together.
You’ll be able to do that on April 17, but at least for now we have two previously released tracks for you, in addition to this new one — “46°34′N 141°17′E” and “Semïorka“, the former revealing even more overtly ominous, spectral, and apocalyptic atmospherics combined with physically jolting drumwork, the latter a brain-twisting, hallucinatory bit of bleak and battering madness.
Korolev comes our way through Blue Wave Recording, with artwork by Hades Design and photos by M. et Mme Shoes. To order, go here:
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