Russian people, both inside and beyond the borders of their homeland, are paying a price for their fascist dictator’s unprovoked assault on Ukraine, even when they had nothing to do with that brutal invasion and even oppose it. In the case of artists whose work is known outside Russia, they’ve undoubtedly experienced a decline in support even after condemning the horrors that have been wrought in the name of their nation.
We’ve said it before, but it may be worth repeating: Here at NCS we won’t be part of that kind of blanket retribution, even though our hearts are with Ukraine. We’ll continue doing what we always have, supporting music we believe is worthy of your attention, including music made by Russian bands such as the one whose new video is the subject of this premiere.
For those who may care, this band Sieta (Сѣта) have publicly condemned the invasion of Ukraine, and one of the two labels that is reissuing the album which includes the song (Satanath Records) has left Russia because of the invasion.
We can’t always expect such action, because expressing disagreement with Putin in Russia is dangerous, and leaving to establish a new life elsewhere is very difficult for most Russians. And so neither kind of action should be a litmus test for Russian music or Russian labels. But of course it helps fortify the resolve not to punish Russian artists for the actions of one homicidal maniac who would be a modern tsar or the ruler of a resurrected USSR, and those who have bent their knee to him.
The video we’re presenting today is for a song named “Dream“, which was included on Sieta‘s June 2021 debut album Novgorod (“Новъгородъ”). Last week the album was reissued by the afore-mention Satanath Records and by the Japanese label Red Rivet Records. As the album title suggests, Novgorod is a concept record inspired by history, and in particular by the efforts of Vladimir I — the “Prince of Novgorod”, the “Grand Prince of Kiev” — to convert all of Russia from paganism to Christianity after his own conversion in the 10th century. And so, as the band and label explain:
“At the end of the 10th century, Novgorod was one of the most important cities, the main political, craft and trade center, a stronghold of the Slavic pagan religion. After the tragic defeat of Novgorod, pagan culture was destroyed, and Christianity spread further. Therefore, the concept of the album is the contrast between paganism and Christianity, which is shown with alternating folk metal and black metal, also ancient Russian and Old Church Slavonic languages”.
At first, “Dream” is a very melancholy song, with its mood established by the mandolin ring and the hurdy-gurdy whirl that open it, a mood deepened by grim, heavy chords and ravaging snarls which seamlessly convert to earnest singing.
Lovers of doom metal will likely become enthralled by the sorrowing music, and it would be difficult for anyone not to fall under the spell of of the old instruments, which eventually include a flute. But all those sublime and somber sounds turn out to be only one aspect of “Dream“. It also changes in a way that will get pulses pounding, hearts racing, and heads moving. The music becomes defiant and fights, whirls and soars, as a dream comes alive.
As you might expect, the narrative in the video connects to the themes of the song and the album, and also gives you a chance to see the band performing the song:
Sieta is the Slavic folk metal project by Aleksandr Mokin, the leader of the death metal band Skyglow, that consists of musicians from Skyglow and Critical Extravasation, plus guest performers on the domra, mandolin, and hurdy-gurdy. Novgorod was recorded in 2019-2020 and mixed by Holy Tube Studio, and it features artwork by Vsevolod Ivanov and logo design by Smerdulak.
The album reissue is now out, and so we’ve included a full album stream below, along with useful links.
There must be really incredible people working at Satanath to make such a bold, brave move, while putting out incredible albums like this.
I’ll share this statement by the label just a couple of days ago:
“We celebrated 10 years already! During this time, we have released 350 releases – 299 firm CDs, 50 positions of Pro CD-R format and 5 vinyls.
“A lot has happened in these 10 years, but the most important thing happened in March 2022: Satanath Records left Russia for Georgia, and our sub-label Symbol Of Domination moved from Belarus to Moldova. All sane people understand that we left to continue our activities in a relatively peaceful environment, and not to rot with monsters in an isolated sinking bathyscaphe. Also, all CD sales were frozen, as everything was left in abandoned warehouses, and our Ukrainian label partner GrimmDistribution is simply not able to ship orders yet, so it also suspended sales. We all hope for a peaceful sky above our heads and wait for the end of this hell. Our labels will continue to work! We will try to restore the previous functionality and become even stronger…”