Friday, October 29, 2010

Moscow Death Brigade + other political/conscious hip-hop from Russia

About a week ago, I was asked to post some more tracks by Moscow Death Brigade. Well, it's certainly not the kind of music I usually post here, and I'm absolutely not sure if my readers wouldn't be turned off by hip-hop and rap, but I'll post it anyway. At least they have very good political message, and very heavy and aggressive sound.

Considering it wouldn't be easy for you to find any other political hip-hop acts from the former USSR (if you're interested in that kind of music), I decided to make a compilation of the best political rap stuff I've ever came across. It took a lot of time and efforts, but finally I made this sampler of 20 best socially conscious hip-hop projects from Russia (and some from Ukraine and Belarus):
  • 2K
  • (A)political Scum
  • Blitzkrik
  • Диета!
  • Ебаланс / Ebalance
  • entexnau
  • Face Of Violence
  • Красный Смех
  • Культура Апокалипсиса / Apocalypse Culture
  • La Vida Cuesta Libertades (ex-L.C.L.)
  • L.C.L. (ft. Brule BLS, XJihadX, 2K)
  • missis Garrison
  • Мордой в пол!
  • Московский Освободительный Оркестр (МАО) / Moscow Liberation Orchestra
  • Moscow Death Brigade
  • Nuclear Winter
  • One Shoot
  • Sheridan
  • T.OST (feat. Slaughter 2017)
  • x Jeffrey Goines x

(upd.: unfortunately I've lost the track list for this compilation, so I couldn't reupload it even if I really wanted to. Sorry)

Almost all of this stuff can be found on gnwp.ru in the "hip-hop & rap" section. It sould be noted that these rappers are very different in terms of ideology: there are anarcho-communists (L.C.L.), traditional marxists (Ebalance) and even anarcho-primitivists (Apocalypse Culture) and self-proclaimed "satanic hip-hop" (Entexnau)... or satirical projects (missis Garrison), and just people without any particular ideology, but still holding progressive views towards society (MDB, 2K, NW). The sound is very different from track to track as well; there's a lot of Necro-inspired hardcore hip-hop (MDB, FoV) and rapcore (Blitzkrik), but also some less aggressive stuff, and even female-fronted trip-hop (Sheridan). Hope you'll enjoy at least some of these projects.

Hip-hop is actually very good as a political genre, since it's very popular now, very lyrics-oriented, and relatively easy to make. You don't need to form a full band of 4-5 members to become a rapper, and you can achieve a fairly good quality of production even if you make your recordings at home. Of course, there's a lot of really amateur and poorly produced stuff... but it's D.I.Y., you know; and it's only the beginning. Only a few years ago there wasn't any openly leftist hip-hop in Russia at all, except for Blitzkrik and xEdge Jihadx (and they both were not very good). So it's good to see more and more people listening to not some gangsta shit about lots of money, whores, drugs and big cars, but to really conscious/revolutionary hip-hop.
And here are some photos:
Moscow Death Brigade

missis Garrison
This archive includes all the tracks by Moscow Death Brigade I could find. They don't release much stuff, because they prefer quality over quantity. I recommend to start listening this compilation precisely from their tracks - because they're the best. MDB are one of the few bands to speak openly about a lot of social problems, consumerism, police brutality, street violence and the rise of chauvinistic tendencies in the post-Soviet countries. In the late 20 years Russia became a not very nice place to live (to say the least), and they're not afraid to tell the truth about it in their lyrics, along with hope for a positive social change.

"Stay true for youself and your deed,
In the world full of chaos, go ahead bravely,
There's no option except to stand up 'til the end,
Moscow Death Brigade fuels the flame in hearts"
(from the track "'Till the End", sorry for such a rough translation)

And I also need to say that there's a specific problem in the ex-USSR, called "nazi rap". No, I'm not kidding. There really are people who are trying to make "rap only for whites" and simular shit, and unfortunately it's becoming more and more popular. First I thought it was just a joke, but now there are thousands of NS hip-hop fans... If it's a joke, then it's a very bad joke. At least anti-racist hip-hop is still prevalent here, and here's a video of a live performance of MDB on an anti-nazi rally in Moscow (one year ago):

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Revolted Masses - "Seeds of Revolt" (2010)


Year: 2010
Genre: Progressive Death/Thrash Metal
Country: Greece

Track List: 
  1. At the Crack of Dawn (intro)
  2. We Are One
  3. Mass Media's Whore
  4. Machines
  5. Avdei Far'oh
  6. Reason of Unreason
  7. Terra Infernal
  8. Ace of Spades (Motorhead cover)

Well, it isn't BM too, but it's really good stuff (especially for a demo release). Revolted Masses are a political death/thrash metal act from Athens (Greece), and their demo "Seeds of Revolt" is free to distribute (archive includes not only music, but also lyrics and artwork).

Intially, this demo was posted on our Russian-language blog, but I decided to post it here too. By the way, now I have a lot of work on that blog, in cooperation with a few other activists. Fortunately almost all the work is done now, and I'll present you the blog in the next few days.

Hellstorm - demo (2009)


Year: 2009
Genre: Stenchcore
Country: Greece

Track List: 
  1. Going To An End
  2. Human Plague
  3. Our Power Is Rising
  4. State Of Lethargy

Okay, today I'm not in the mood for posting black metal (frankly speaking, I'm not in the mood for posting anything, but I ought to keep the blog alive), so I'll post a very fine crust/stenchcore demo. "This is D-Beat crust at its finest: The familiar crust landscapes of blackened skies, radiation clouds, innocent victims of war and darkening future are here created by the crust assault of four tracks along with the lyrical Armageddon..." (c). Or maybe I'd rather call it just "Punk Metal"? Anyway, good to see more and more band willing to revive the style of Amebix and Hellbastard. Even Darkthrone have such kind of sound nowadays... Up the heavy metal-fueled crust punx!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A little research on African metal scene... and some blog news!

What's new with my blog? First of all, I re-uploaded Katyusha's demo tracks in better quality. Second, thanks to 7inchcrust for uploading two first releases by Black Kronstadt in good quality and with all cover scans. I haven't yet contacted Media Tree Recs. for Aesahaettr demo, but I'll do it in the near future.

Now I have plans to work on a Russian-language blog for Red & Anarchist Metalheads. This idea is inspired by simular blogs from Colombia and Ecuador, and I already found some people who are willing to be the co-authors of the blog. So I probably would be much less active here... because it's time to build regional movements! As for this blog, maybe I'll write more posts about political and social issues, because my recent posts about politics gathered considerable attention. If all goes well, there's going to be an article about the current situation in Hungary (and maybe Poland). The recent events in Equador are of interest too, but you'd have to wait until I finally respond to all of my mail... answering such an amount of correspondence in English takes so much time :(

And finally: after my posts about oriental and caribbean metal I started wondering if there's any metal in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding the South African Republic. Yes, I already wrote about Ngos'a Bedimo from Cameroon, and there's a relatively well-known death metal band from Botswana called Crackdust (if not to take in account another death metal band - Infertile Surrogacy - who are said to be from Congo, but it's almost certainly a hoax)... but overall it seemed to be like the metal or punk scene is completely absent in Africa. It's disappointing but unsurprising, taking in account the extreme poverty and bad political condition in that region. Most of people there probably just don't have an opportunity to play any rock music, and these kinds of music are most likely out of the media there... you know what I mean.

So it was a big surprise for me to find a significant hard rock scene in Madagascar! Unfortunately their site has a lot of bugs, and it's all in French, but it was a very interesting find anyway. Yes, I know Madagascar has not many cultural relations to the mainland Africa - the Malagasy people are basically Indonesians who arrived there about 1500 years ago and later mixed with Bantu people. But anyway it's in the South African region.

The most well-known metal band in Madagascar is probably Sasamaso, a female-fronted thrash metal band formed in Antananarivo 8 years ago. They even have made one music video, which I can't embed here UPD: I've re-uploaded it to Youtube (but the quality is far from high, unfortunately):

For me their music is good, but I don't like the crosses they're wearing... it'd better be inverted ;)

There are also a couple of black metal acts in southern Africa - namely Rhanawa, a blackened thrash metal project from Malawi, and Darkest Place, a 7-piece(!) gothic/black metal band from Mozambique. I'm not sure if Rhanawa isn't a joke project, because the only image of him was actually stolen from Orisha Shakpana's myspace, and Malawi is a very unlikely place to find any metal fans there... but damn, the music is good! You can get Rhanawa's album "Heart of Mkango" here, for example.

As for Darkest Place, they're playing blackened gothic metal with male and female vocals. Looks like they have no proper releases, only some demo tracks. You can search on youtube for their stuff, if you wish.

P.S. A question to my Brazilian and Portuguese readers - can you tell me, what is this song about? It was recorded by a band named Neblina from Angola, the lyrics are in Portuguese and probably have some political references. But I'm not sure of what kind they are...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Conrad - "Oseaan Kroniek" (2010)

CONRAD "Oseaan Kroniek"

Year: 2010
Genre: Pagan/Folk Metal
Country: Barbados

Track List:
  1. Oseaan Kroniek (Introduction)
  2. Ocean Chronicle
  3. The Vehemance Of Neptune
  4. Queen Anne's Revenge (...And The Bonnet Militia)
  5. Oracles Of Olokun (Conclusion)

Conrad is the only metal project from Barbados, a relatively small island in the Caribbean. The band was started on August 5th 2009 in the Eastern Grasslands of St. Philip by then 17-year old Kadeem Ward (Veldt Soldaat/Emdeka). Members of such black metal bands as Fornost (Nicaragua) and Orisha Shakpana (Jamaica) have also contibuted to Conrad's releases.

As for the name - Conrad is said to be an irritable ghost from the Bajan mythology who possessed women and live in their stomaches. According to the project's mastermind, "With the goal to preserve and teach historical tales and ancestral myths, Conrad fuses the elements of Afro-Caribbean rhythms & sounds with epic orchestral ambience and highly distorted riffs influenced by the groundbreaking bands of the early Norwegian Black Metal scene. The project’s themes are highly focused on Barbadian folklore which either tells dark or mesmerizing tales about the island’s early inhabitants, nature, paranormal events and various mythical creatures. Other lyrical themes reflect on early African Tribes, Orishas and pirates of the Caribbean".

While the music of Conrad is definitely influenced by black metal, overall it's more of ambient folk/pagan metal with LOTS of synths. Or maybe even "pirate metal"?.. yaarrr!!! Anyway, it's much better than I expected, very melodic and atmospheric (but not very raw or brutal). The archive includes all the artwork and lyrics (some of which are even in Yoruba language!), along with mp3 files.

Today, Kadeem Ward is working on Conrad's next demo, "Conrad Within". Looks like the society of Barbados is very hostile to any forms of metal, and it's hard to him to find any like-minded people there, but he have already found a drummer. This future release will be far more darker and eerie in terms of the musical, lyrical and visual aspects entailed. Of course I'd upload it too, if he send it to me. It's cool to have readers even in Barbados!