Mar 282012

Kartikeya are a Russian melodic death metal band we’ve written about frequently at this site (use the search box on this page and you’ll see what I mean). The leader of Kartikeya is a very talented dude named Roman “Arsafes” Iskorostenskiy. We’ve previously explored a few of his other musical projects besides Kartikeya — a Russian pagan-metal band called Nevid (Невидь) and Arsafes’ own solo effort, with a 2010 EP called A New Way of Creation. But there’s still more:

Arsafes and a Serbian singer named Aleksandra Radosavljevic have collaborated to create a project called Above the Earth. Together they’ve recorded a demo of music described as “Atmospheric/Ambient/Progressive Metal”. The first piece of music I heard was an excerpt from a song called “All Our Dreams”, which they posted on YouTube as a preview of the demo. The first thought that popped into my head as the music began was, “this sounds like Devin Townsend!”

And then today, they posted the first full song, and guess what? It’s a cover of “Supercrush” from DT’s Addicted album. Now, you know we don’t include much clean singing on this site, because it’s mainly my site and I don’t have much patience for clean singing in metal. But there are exceptions, to be sure, and Devin Townsend is one of them — and “Supercrush” happens to be one of my favorite DT songs.

So, I approached this cover with both excitement and fear — excitement, because I know Arsafes is one immensely talented guy, and fear, because how can a cover of a song like “Supercrush” do anything but pale in comparison to the original? Well, it turns out that my fears were groundless, because Above the Earth nail that fucking song. Continue reading »

Jan 212012

This is so massively cool I just had to share. That pic up there is Arsafes (on the left) and Anton of the most excellent Kartikeya sporting the NCS “Fucking Good Pancake” tour shirt in Moscow. How did this come to pass? Therein lies a story . . .

The story begins with RXYZYXR, a band we’ve featured multiple times at NCS, most recently here. They started out as an instrumental band whose members were based somewhere in Russia. But then they later decided to add vocals, and hooked up with Florida-based Thomas Wills. His mix of clean and harsh vocals has been a positive addition to what was already some pretty fuckin’ amazing music.

Fearless dude that he is, Thomas was an early requester of the now-infamous “Fucking Good Pancake” tour shirt that we gave away starting back in August of last year. For latecomers to NCS, the Fucking Good Pancake tour was total fiction and featured bands who don’t exist but should exist — bands such as Massive Wall of Penis, Thor’s Uterus, and Trollcock Fetish. Also, Cephalopodic Sperm Packets. (These names were created by NCS readers in a series of demented comments that kind of took on a life of their own.) But the shirt — created free of charge by the awesome Dan Arena — is completely real.

Thomas went to Russia not long ago to do RXYZYXR-related things, including performing live shows in St. Petersburg and Moscow on January 18 and 19 with none other than Sweden’s  Vildhjarta [thall]. Guess what Thomas took with him, somehow smuggling it past the vigilant Russian security apparatus, which has been on a state of high alert to prevent this shirt from infecting Russian culture? Continue reading »

Dec 182011

Kartikeya is a Russian band we’ve mentioned quite often at this site (use the search box on this page and you’ll see what I mean). They’re very popular among those of us on the NCS staff, and they seem to be popular among our readers and other contributors, too (e.g., see Trollfiend’s list of the year’s best albums posted earlier today). They play an unusual (and unusually appealing) style of heavy-grooved melodic death metal that incorporates elements of traditional Indian music.

The leader of Kartikeya is a dude named Roman “Arsafes” Iskorostenskiy. Quite by accident, while doing some webernet research on Kartikeya for a forthcoming post, I learned that Arsafes is involved in other musical projects besides Kartikeya, and this morning I quickly checked them out.

One is a Russian pagan-metal band called Nevid (Невидь). Nevid have produced four full-length albums, the most of recent of which is 2011’s Agarta, and it appears that Arsafes has been the composer and guitarist for that band over the course of the last two albums. I’ve only listened to a couple of tracks from Agarta, but man is it good. There are some traditional pagan/folk instruments in the mix, but also some of those Meshuggah-esque, Kartikeya-style riffs and really catchy melodies. Nice, harsh, growly vocals, too.

Arsafes has also created a solo EP called A New Way of Creation that appeared in 2010. It includes an instrumental at the start, five original songs, and a cover of “Relentless” by Strapping Young Lad. I haven’t listened to the entire EP either, but what I’ve heard so far is also . . . aces. It’s a blast-furnace combo of progressive death metal with industrial overtones, sweeping melodies and Meshuggah-style hammering, and a mix of bestial death-metal roars and clean vocals. Reminiscent of SYL, Fear Factory, and the afore-mentioned Meshuggah, among other influences. There are some free download links to be found at this forum.

After the jump I’ve got sample songs from each of these two releases, both of which are quite different from each other — and different from Kartikeya, too.  Continue reading »