Svobody Zahoteli?

Rautkin O. (voc), Bogaev S. (git), Lyskovskij N. (key), Lukin A. (bs), Korablev YU. (dr)

format: LP Side A:
  1. Tajinyi Chlen
  2. Ne Sovalasx-by Ty, Devochka, V Politiku
  3. I Na Samogo Krutogo Parnya Najdetsya Pulya
  4. Othodnaya
  5. Vpechatleniya Ot Poseshcheniya Pamyatnika Ideyam Chuch
  6. Russkaya Narodnaya

Side B:

  1. Svobody Zahoteli?
  2. Devushka I Vampir
  3. Podnimajsya Narod Na Boj S Idolishchem Poganym!
  4. Vozvrashchnie Kazakov Iz Dalxnego Pohoda
year: 1990
country: Russia
label: Melodia
#: C60 31439 003
insert: no
edition: ?
rarity: 6/10


Now there's a cover you most likely would have passed by if it wasn't for yours truly once again laying down the truth about the world's most obscure Metal gems. When I first heard about Eastern European Metal, I had a very "romantic" notion about how it would sound. Unfortunately only a few bands managed to live up to my exotic expectations, and OBLACHNYJ KRAJ (CLOUDY LAND) did it more and better than any other band I've heard so far. I would definitely rate this my favourite "Exotic Metal"-item together with THE CRISIS and PARABELLUM! This Russian guy wrote me about how he didn't consider them Metal since their lyrics are more of the political/satirical kind. Ha! What the hell do I care if they sing about brave, dying warriors on the battlefield or Fluffy The Pink Bunnyrabbit and his jolly teaparty - I don't speak one word of russian! Ignorance is bliss and O.K. is Metal. They were just not US Metal, or NWOBHM, or German Speed Metal. They were Russian Metal, unlike many of their more famous countrymen who prefered to copycat their western idols. There are traces of folk in their music - not in a conventional and calculated SKYCLAD-manner, but simply because that's where they come from. Their northern Russian roots is about as far from an image or concept as you'll get and the "Volga Boatmen"-feel is ever present. At first the mix leaves some to be desired. The keyes are a bit loud, but rautkin's vocals impress instantly and wins you over to their side of the arctic circle. They are raw, hoarse and in the lower register but still carry the tunes perfectly. It's hard to really pic any musical references. They are highly original without being too "progressive" (like that dreadful LEGION LP!). They are simply excellent songwriters who conjure up one magnificent riff or harmony after another. Basically all songs rule, even the one or 2 not-so-metallic ones. "Russkaya Narodnaya" may be a 'pure' folk rock-song, but at the same time no less metallic than let's say "The Crown And The Ring" by MANOWAR ...and it's a bloody awsome song to boost. Anyone who likes their Metal full of epic sing-a-long choruses, but find the jolly prancings of happy-go-lucky-Future-World-HELLOWEEN and the likes a bit too mellow should have a taste of some Eastern Block Metal-melancholy.

I haven't exactly been swamped by info on this band, but here's what little I've gathered so far: they were formed in the city of Arkangelsk in Karelia, the northern part of Russia in the early 80's, and were practically the only real rock band from this part of the country. In the beginning they had to build their own instruments, including guitareffects and keyboards (!), and judging from the CD-reissue of their 1st tape from '82 they did a really good job! In the early days they mixed PURPLE/RAINBOW-style heavy with psyche/prog/kraut-like parts and russian folk. This is their only vinyl and it's very hard to find in Russia. Even if few Melodia-releases were pressed in less than 100 000 copies, many of them were manufactured in remote eras in the Soviet union and often thousands of records were destroyed when they didn't sell. Several CD reissues have been made of their early tape albums from the mid-80's, as well as this LP, but they are even more rare than the vinyl. I've seen the LP on a few odd tradelists though, so keep your eyes (and minds!) open.

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