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You could point to Коррозия Металла as the Russian counterpart to Venom. They both played a rough, ferocious speed metal, gradually shedding some of the primitiveness out of their sound quality after a couple albums. The singers of both bands have a gruff voice, kind of bridging the typical 80s thrash snarl and the proto-death style of Bulldözer's A.C. Wild. But most importantly, Коррозия Металла reflects Venom in the utter over-the-topness of their approach. Just don't all-out symbolic Satanism, not on this album anyway. These Russians' songs deal with cartoonish violence (see " Vampire Tanks" and "Eaten Alive") and other kitschy topics like pirates ("15 Men on a Dead Man's Chest") and alcohol ("Russian Vodka"). Then there's "K.K.K.", which seems to indicate the band's later shift to politicized grindcore, but at this point in their career I feel it's more of a simple shock value song.
To continue the Venom comparison, "Russian Vodka" is Коррозия's "At War with Satan", in terms of the advancement of production quality. It's here that they perfect the balance of raw, unbridled energy and professional mixing of instruments. Earlier albums, especially the live debut, were very vocal dominated. Here, Borov keeps his emphatic strength, while the band is also able to catch up and get their due attention. The guitars are more under control, which suits their improved technicality; though they still showcase that ideal 80s thrash destructive fun vibe. Make no mistake, this ain't no whitewashed "Black Album" pop-thrash, it's just less haphazard than Коррозия's first two outings . Drums also benefit from this album's more equal volume control; and that's welcome because "Russian Vodka" represents the pinnacle of Bondarenko's career. Pauk's bass also sounds a lot more like actual notes off a string instrument, rather than an indistinct cloud.
The most straightforward thrasher here is "Crazy house", though Borov's signature throaty rampage rescues it from being derivative. And the guitar section is fantastic. Not only is the lead solo wild, but the rhythm portion is almost just as much fun. Elsewhere the guitar tunes are more atypical, with a bunch of different influences on display. You'll get some jangly, irreverent - yet still catchy and talented - street punk on the title track. The pirate-themed "15 Men..." feature more speedy, less choppy riffs for a crunchier, more threatening take on Running Wild. On the other side, "Vampire Tanks" and "Eaten Alive" wouldn't feel out of place on a Possessed or early Morbid Angel record. So quite a diverse array of tunes, yet somehow strangely cohesive. The guitars will lead you in a few different directions but never feel scattered.
Band leader Pauk on bass and drummer Bondarenko unite for a very versatile rhythm section. Pauk is mostly, and solidly, plugging away at the low end of the guitar rhythms. But with so many different styles on this album, he can't feel bored and neither should you. His standout track is "15 Men on a Dead Man's Chest", where bass is most audible and at its quickest pace. Bondarenko meanwhile, proves he's comfortable backing up a mid-paced chuggy thrasher like "Crazy house", but he also wows us with ferocious speed bordering on blastbeats at times. And I was pleasantly surprised that he didn't allow the higher production value to mechanize his kit's sound. It's still a beastly, flailing attack that is tailor-made for proudly underground thrash. You can just feel that it's a man hitting these drums with real aggression, not a trigger soullessly clicking away on their stolid surfaces.
A couple fillers here, though one you can excuse because they know it's a filler. That would be the instrumental maelstrom called "Noise". Any rational listener can tell this is meant to be taken like Venom's "Aaaaaarrghh" - a totally non-serious bit of unharnessed savage fun. The band also re-records "зов теней" here, and while it's nice to hear this one again, I prefer its original live version from "Live in October". The passage where guitar and bass battle it out is so deliciously grimy, and should have stayed that way.
If you like wildly irreverent thrash, played by skilful but entirely pretenseless musicians, lookie here! This ultra-fun blast of ferocity will bang your head, or else you need your hinges oiled.
Fuck it. Let’s revisit the good old 1989 with Korrozia’s second proper album titled “Russian Vodka”. This is a real kick in the face and is actually an interesting album musically as it incorporates a few eastern folk melodies into the trash/death metal way before Nokturnal Mortum or Amorphis tried it with Black Metal. The album is basically a faithful followup to “Order Of Satan” from the year prior but with slightly better production, which on this disk is reaching for world-class. Whilst sounding a familiar mix of death and thrash metal, this band retains the few things that make it unique – all the texts are in Russian and the singer Borov’s roaring vocals. Overall it sounds like something of a cross between Slayer, Possessed and Venom with gruff, echoing vocals foreboding the coming second wave of Black Metal just that little bit to make one think – what if?
The versions on this disk are much faster than what I’ve heard elsewhere – such as “Vampire’s Tank” which (are you laughing at the name yet?) appears on “Debosh v Orlyonke” and on the live DVD on the compilation album titled the same as this one, as well as the opening track “Eat Alive” beginning with a fully-fledged blast beat (unfortunately no folk ensemble in this version – that would have ruled). There are a few uncommon numbers here, all a part of Korrozia repertoire from time to time, just uncommon in the live recordings the band has published – “Black Ship”, “K.K.K.” and the oddly titled “Fifteen People Over a Chest with a Corpse (in it)”. The album slows down here to the doomy, tenebrous tones akin to “Phantom” – the star track from the first album. This pace doesn’t do much good for a live favourite “Crazy House”, which sounds a bit boring at downtempo. Live and faster, it’s a great track. Oddly the disk ends with 2 instrumentals “Descent into the Maelstrom” (no relation to Radio Birdman) and “Noizz” which sound vaguely Scorpionesque and form a part of the band’s earlier repertoire. Overall the album is a fair slab of doomy speed metal with liberal dose of gallows humour. The ridiculous horror lyrics in Russian really contribute to the atmosphere, but if you’re into catchy thrash and beastly vocals, I think you’ll be able to get into this anyway. Your head will bang, I promise you that.
Originally published in Procession of Black Doom zine #4
Yes, this is probably their thrashiest album... more original material to be found here, even though some of the stuff appeared before on the live album. We've got more thrash metal riffs than speed here, as opposed to the previous album which had a huge Motorhead influence. It's still here, just not quite as huge. What we have here is a more New York thrash sound... think of Feel the Fire, especially with the general riff work and also some of the melodies.
Highlights... Russian Vodka is a fucking great title track. A real barrel of fun. Then, "K.K.K." is a bit on the funny side thanks to the mispronounciation, but the riffs are VERY VERY SERIOUS. "The Vampire's Tank" and "Fifteen Men on the Dead Man's Trunk" are nice, especially the latter, which is Running Wild at 240 bpm. "Crazy House" too, and then we have the absolute winner on here, "The Call of the Shadows" which will cause you to fucking headbang, and if you're not, then you are dead.
Check out the mp3s - link to the official site is available somewhere around here. Total fucking thrash mayhem - if you like old Overkill, you'll like this one.