listen up, coz this is important: You all need to get your want list out
and make a MAJOR update!! The time of Lost Metal Masterpieces is NOT,
I repeat NOT over! You just need to glance above that 1989-horizon
and a total gem like The Mighty VARVAR will eventually appear. So it might
be a bloody nasty, fangfaced evil BITCH to find, but man is it
worth the hassle!
It's an annoying trend nowadays to apply the "Power Metal" moniker
to anything heavier than Cliff Richard (or any kind of throwaway Thrash
platter), especially if it's a crap album and you're trying to sell/trade
it. For that reason my expectations weren't all on top when waiting for
this LP to drop down my mailbox, despite the seller's promises of "dark",
"brutal" and "original" "Power Metal" hiding
within it's pristine grooves. Well hallelujah & shehamforash! Praise
the lord and pass the ammo'! - there IS some decency left in the world!
because this my friends is top-of-the-crop BRUTAL Power Metal! (now there's
2 expressions we haven't heard in one sentence for ages..) OK, so you
don't get high, clear, wailing vocals and overproduced, filtered-to-death
guitars like you may be used to, but this is Russian Power Metal
not US-metal, so you get something even better: Guitars like fuckin' bloodthirsty
chainsaws and hoarse but classy vocals actually sounding like a
guy for once - possibly with a surname like Kilmister or Araya.
And unless you're under the misconception that ALL metal-vocalists have
to sound like schlager-fags to be enjoyable, you will be impressed by
how Mr. Stepanov manage to be so tuneful yet so raw. But there's more
that makes this record special. I wasn't surprised to discover that "Zverinaja.."
is a concept album. With the epic music, the almost surreal cover art,
a title that translates The Bestial Abyss Will Kill You
and the way the songs are so dramatically put together and ordered, one
would almost have guessed that they're trying to tell you a story. After
thoroughly studying the graphix and getting some translations, I learned
what it's all about: The Book Of Revelations (ya know, 666, Babylon, the
end of the world 'n all that...) set in a Russian environment.
So how do you go about putting a soundtrack to something so complex and
profound? Well, if you ever in your life could imagine how the 'Ruskified'
bastard offspring of MOTÖRHEAD and ADRAMELCH would sound you're on
the right track, but that barely scratches the surface, because this is
truly dark and sinister material. If I got a penny for every "smrti!"
Anatolij screams out on this record with heartfelt sincerity I could...
Buy another copy! It all begins with some extremely distorted and melancholic,
almost PARABELLUM-like guitars before it explodes into this fast, intricate
Power Metal-epic with some really fantastic leads and grandiose
choirs in the chorus. Seriously, "Bezumny Prah.." will fuckin'
destroy you and it's the perfect opening for an album like this. A really
cool mid-paced song follows in the form of "Petla Sodoma..".
Very classic METAL combined with some ultra-heavy Thrash parts in-between.
Then it's gut-ripping Power Metal-time again and "Predannye Svoimi.."
Is not very far from the kind of class-A stuff that SLOUGH FEG is doing
nowadays - so many incredible leads upon leads it will take more than
a few listenings to take it all in. "V Lapah Zverja" opens with
one of the finest riffs on the album and continues in a more upbeat, almost
J PRIEST-like style until the utterly beautiful, melodic bridge and chorus
hits you straight through the heart and barely leaves you with enough
energy to flip the album over. On side B "Djavolskaja Modorra.."
slows down the tempo a bit, semi-aucustic style, though the second half
of the song is pure, evil heaviness. Then comes "Vozhdi Vavilona...",
with some pretty energetic, driving M FATE-like riffings leading up to
a killer melodic, almost ethnic chorus. "Vojna Za Ierusalim"
is a really curious song. The verse is typical mid-paced Thrash, then
suddenly comes another fantastic, woeful chorus sounding even more like
some ancient Russian folk song of war and misery, possibly the most beautiful
part of the whole record. Arriving at the end of the VARVAR-saga, "Zakljuchonny",
we are presented with more up-tempo classic Metal which once again just...
For fuck's sake! These guys must eat, shit & sleep those harmonies
of steel! The breaks in this song are just pure genius and it really wraps
it all up brilliantly. I think it's safe to say that OBLACHNYJ KRAJ's
has finally met its Russian match. Not a too far off reference btw, but
VARVAR scores some extra points for being more "True Metal",
something that will definitely widen the appeal of this record among Metal-fans
When I bought this album, it was listed as "BARBAR", but that's
a lazy and erroneous transcription. The correct band name is VARVAR. It
translates as BARBARIAN, so it's either this or that (although personally
I've always considered translated band names a bit vulgar, unless the
band chooses to do it themselves). According to the seller, this album
was just a first demo/promo-editon of a few hundred copies which for some
reason never got to its second, proper edition. Supposedly this made it
the rarest Metal vinyl in Russia, and as far as I know it could very well
be true, since there's absolutely nada to be found on this album on the
web or anywhere else I've looked or asked. (Once again I miss that Iron
Pages' East-Euro encyclopedia to check out, but perhaps someone could
do it for me?)
I'll say it again: Don't let the late year of release scare you off, because
the Mighty Metal of VARVAR is timeless and true and deserves a better
fate than being buried in obscurity forever. Oh, and by the way: If I
ever hear anyone calling this band "Bapp-Bapp"
I will bitch-slap him or her silly. Heavy Metal Pride & Honor and
all that you know....