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Monday, July 20, 2015

ALBUM REVIEW: What the hell is Polka Metal - Russkaja bop along with 'Peace, Love and Russian Roll'

THERE are times when you receive details of an album to review and it is just impossible not to click the link; no matter how much we love classic metal, all forms of extreme metal et cetera when you see a band described as 'polka metal' in the blurb there is no way that the link can go unclicked...

Thus, with a certain amount of glee we downloaded the link to Russkaja and their latest album Peace, Love and Russian Roll' beginning a journey through a weird and eclectic mish mash of polka, punk, ska and only the occasional metal reference point.

Is it any good? Well, if you are stuck in loving only one genre and have had your sense of humour gland removed stay away. Otherwise, forget about the tag given to Russkaja by the label ("kings of turbo polka metal") and sit back with some 'wodka' and prepare to party.

There is something distinctly engaging about tracks such as 'Hometown Polka' -  it's not metal in any shape or form but it will bring a smile to any jaded hack or bored metalhead in need of a lift.

Georgij Makazaria's vocal style is somewhere between a balladeer and the gruff clean growls of a classic metaller.

That's not to pretend that every track on this shows off his voice to its best extent. Even though 'El Pueblo Unido' has a nice metallish (in the loosest sense) breakdown, his best style is at times lost.

Now, there's no point in pretending that these Viennese rabscallions are in any familiar to us previously, though we had heard murmurs about their output (this will be their fourth album release).

Not only is this genre hopping - 'Lovergod' crosses between ska and Russian disco - but it does have the sense of a mad party where metallers, punks, a brass band and a violinist have all had too much wodka.

There's poignant tracks - well smoochie tracks that sound like Mediterranean Euro-pop - such as 'Parachute' - that sit uncomfortably with some of the rest of the contents, but as still enjoyable in a specifically non-metal way.

And, despite what the label may claim this is in no way a metal album, polka or not. Sure, there are metal sounding tracks such as the punk-ish rampage of 'You Are The Revolution', but that's the exception rather than the rule.

But, there should be no barriers to listening to genre busting bands. One can envisage stumbling upon Russkaja at a festival and polkaing across some muddy field with a shit-eating grin on your face...

And, 'Radio Song' is just fucking outstandingly daft -  a love song that defies convention and in his devotion Georgij promises that the "toilet seat is now down, not up".

But is the album closer and title track that sums up the whole feel. 'Peace, Love and Russian Roll' rolls along like a party and a distinctly classic rock/metal chorus.

We're away off to the off licence for some wodka and put this album on repeat - to paraphrase McCoy from Star Trek, "It's metal, Jim, but not as we know it!"

'Peace, Love and Russian Roll' is out on 24th July on Napalm Records

Review by Jonny

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