Dies Irae

Vyachoslav Ruhklov (git), Alessander Larionov (git), German Smirnov (bs), Alexei Saveliev (keys), Musical leader: Alexander Bobrov

format: LP Side A:
  1. Work!
  2. We Exist Without Feeling Our Land Underneath
  3. Introduction And Aria After B. Marcello

Side B:

  1. Eleonora
  2. Memorandum
  3. Nostalgia
  4. Keep The Fire

year: 1989
country: Russia
label: Melodiya
#: C90 28449 003
insert: no
edition: red label 6500, black 6500, white 25000
rarity: 5/10


A fairly known and highly regarded album, this one, but I've yet to see anyone do a proper review of it, so here we go.

Even before putting on this record you can tell this is going to be quite a different experience. The sparse yet gloomy layout, with Josef Stalin gazing through an hourglass full of skulls, tells you this isn't exactly going to be a trip down happy happy Helloween-lane. True, they do construct many of their songs in a similar way, like the opener "Work!" for instance. Fast double bass-drums, wailing harmony solos and what not, but thankfully without the contrived smiley-face so often found on a western band. After almost 8 minutes of very disciplined, highbrow Power Metal comes the descent into Hades! The incredibly titled "We Exist Without Feeling Our Land Underneath" is yet another example of the kind of pitch-black dementia you'll only ever find on an old Soviet-Metal record. At first I thought of "Nothingface"-era VOIVOD, but then I realized it was actually their PINK FLOYD-covers that echoed in my head. Yes, this extremely dark and twisted piece merges perfectly the sounds of Epic Doom Metal and V D G GENERATOR/early PINK FLOYD-style dark 70's prog. A very special piece that must be heard by all.
.And from there they then cover this classical piece (*cough* filler! *cough*.) that may interest the most degenerate fringe of the guitar-fondler's guild, but personally I'll just pretend the song isn't there at all and turn the album over. Side B isn't as schizophrenic as side A, which feels like quite a relief and consequently saves the album from becoming too much of a crossover-mish-mash affair. "Eleonora" is another exercise in Russian gloom by way of double bass drums and guitar harmonies with a superb, very melancholic chorus. Perhaps the best song on the album together with "We Exist..". "Memorandum" is Power Metal meets RnR - once again with classical music influences. A refreshing cocktail which works out quite well, really! Semi-ballad "Nostalgia" barely deserves a mention, but on "Keep The Fire" MAGNIT are back at their finest: Epic, hymn-like, melancholic Power/Speed Metal with tons of classical leads. Despite their ambitions to make grandiose, epic music they never really get too catchy. It's like their pretentious attitude prevents them from getting too friendly with the listener and in some weird way this ultimately works to their advantage. They may not be overly accessible, but at least they're not shallow.

Although not the most common of the 'Russian Classics', I wouldn't call "Dies Irae" a particularly hard-to-find record. Traders/dealers who deal with East-euro Metal usually has copies in stock and I wouldn't recommend paying more than 15-25 Euro for it. Like most Melodiya-releases this album came in several different pressings. I've seen black, white and red vinyl labels, each with some very minor differences in the credits layout on the back. The red label pressing comes in a glossy sleeve, the black and white ones in matt sleeves. Their exceptional follow-up album under the name CREDO is a whole lot rarer though. More on that gem soon...

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