Friday, February 8, 2008

Album Review: Родосвет - "Бойня Словена"

Rodosvet - Áîéíÿ Ñëîâåíà (Slavonic Butchery)

Band: Родосвет [Rodosvet] (Russia)
Album Title: Бойня Словена (Slavonic Butchery)
Label: Stellar Winter (Russia)
Released: 2007

In the realm of pagan metal, there exist a number of bands that push controversial politics yet have a significant number of fans who are not affiliated with those politics (and, in many cases, vehemently disagree with them). The most well-known examples of bands with this kind of crossover success are the infamous Temnozor (Темнозорь), Graveland, and Nokturnal Mortum. From the great Russian label Stellar Winter comes Moscow-based Rodosvet, a band which may become another one to add to that list.

I don't know much of anything about Rodosvet, except that some members of the band were formerly in a pagan metal band called Elfsword. At some point Rodosvet was formed, and in 2007 they released their debut album, Slavonic Butchery, through Stellar Winter. There does not seem to be any band information in the packaging itself, which is all in Russian. There are no credits, and no band photos (except for a photo of a guy with a wolf's head photoshopped onto his shoulders).

The album starts with a pleasant synth intro. That should come as no surprise to seasoned fans of the genre. In fact, it is almost expected for a pagan metal band to start each album with a short instrumental. The second track begins with a speech sample (a film sample?), and then the metal starts. The vocals at first are in a death metal style, but then turn into a more high-pitched black metal style. Then there are some nice folky melodies played on keyboard before the death metal growls start again. At this point, I was reminded of the Ukrainian band Dub Buk, a reference that I would come back to several times over the course of this album. It has that same "black thrash" type of sound, though this band seems to be too restless to settle for one particular sound throughout the album.

Not only is there variety in the music, but the vocals alternate among different styles, including the aforementioned death metal growls and black metal shrieks, as well as gravelly shouts that remind me of Rusich (Ukraine) and proud clean vocals reminiscent of Temnozor. This variety is nice, and keeps things interesting. There are a lot of time changes within the songs as well, as well as some acoustic and folk passages. It's all very pleasing to my ears and quite entertaining, though (as usual) I have no idea what is being said in the lyrics. The vocals sound both very proud and very angry. The album ends with a sad a capella song that reminds me of the Ukrainian folk songs that served as intros on Hate Forest's Battlefields and the track that ends Dub Buk's Rus Ponad Vse! I don't know if the track is composed of samples or if it's the members of the band singing, but it sounds mournful and probably an appropriate way to end an album called Slavonic Butchery.

I've never read a review on this album, nor have I seen many people discussing it. Personally, I think it's a really good CD and a pretty safe bet for fans of the bands I mentioned over the course of this review. The easiest comparison to make is Temnozor, but Rodosvet seems to have more creative energy and certainly better production (while lacking the flute that is such a big part of Temnozor's sound). Hopefully Rodosvet will continue to release albums and will be able to better differentiate themselves from other bands in the genre. Regardless, Slavonic Butchery is a very strong debut from a promising young band.

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