Ангел-Хранитель - Тайная глава - (6/10)
Published on March 17, 2016
I should probably start by pointing out that my purchase of this album was completely based on a random whim of curiosity and little else. I had no knowledge of the members of the band, and to be honest I don’t really know very much about Russian heavy metal at all besides a few bands from the eighties and nineties. So seeing a new Russian release was something I saw as merely an opportunity to learn about something. I say all that to point out that I have no knowledge of how this album compares to other Russian heavy metal albums, and if this review comes across as written by somebody who is ignorant of the scene at large, you now know the reason for this ignorance.
Now I don’t speak Russian, but this album is sung (and spoken) entirely in the band’s native tongue so I have no idea what they are singing about, but there appears to be some sort of storyline to the album evinced by several spoken word sections scattered throughout the record. Each one is about a minute long or so, and they don’t really affect the listening experience, though I imagine I would appreciate it more if I could understand them.
From a musical standpoint, this album is very straightforward. There is not a track on here that couldn’t be classified as a very basic composition. By basic, I mean that the song structures are simple and you can hear the I-IV-V chords and the various typical substitutions that are commonly used by songwriters. The vocal melodies and harmonies are pretty much entirely diatonic and the whole thing never strays very far from anybody’s comfort zone. What that means is not that the album is bad, but rather that it is for better or for worse, it is immediately accessible. There just isn’t anything challenging going on here.
Having said that, it’s accessibility also results in a lot of really catchy choruses, with melodies that are fun to listen to and I imagine that if you speak Russian you might even enjoy singing along to them. But what makes it weird is that singing along to these songs is more like singing Irish drinking songs instead of metal songs because of their campy and folky vibe. In fact, this album doesn’t really come across much like a metal album at all. Take away the fiery lead sections and you basically have a hard rock album. This is because other than a few tracks at the beginning and end of the album, this album is completely chord-driven as opposed to riff-driven. Songs like “Приметы гнома”, “Книга лешего”, and “Дух ветров” have great riffs, but other than that you have a bunch of rock songs. Oh yeah, you also have probably at least that number in power ballads if not more and that’s not even an exaggeration. I have never minded a ballad on a metal album, but having three or four on an really album starts to push it. To be fair, the ballads are done well and as ballads, they stand on their own. But the end result is an album that I would hesitate to call metal at all when taken as a whole.
If you like catchy melodies, singable choruses, slow ballads, and good old-fashioned drinking songs you couldn’t possibly go wrong with this album. But if you want heavy metal, this album isn’t likely to do much for you.