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Russians, Poles, what's the difference? - 80%

kojot1974, December 15th, 2007

Never liked Turbo that much, y'know. Allright, before I realised that there was some underground metal scene in my then commie-governed country I had listened to them a lot. But for Chrissakes, I must have been 12 then. I didn’t realise that there was something dodgy about jumping on a new bandwagon every other year, like Turbo did. Having started as a decidedly pedestrian hard rock band they evolved into thrash metal merchants in the space of six years, going through a Maidenesque patch in between. So about one year after “Ostatni Wojownik” was released I started thinking that listening to them was a major embarassment.

And that had never really changed. So it was out of some perverse curiosity that I decided to look them up in Metal Archives the other day. I started reading the reviews and noticed that some Yank said they were Russian. Still don’t know whether it was meant to be a wind-up or if he was really so clueless but I thought I’d dust my vinyl copy of the said LP and see what he meant when he mentioned ‘traditionally sounding Russian melodies’. Also, bad as Russians are, they cannot be blamed for every fuck-up in the world (oh, right, he gave them 95%…).

I was in for some pleasant surprise. If you lay all that opportunists hater’s baggage to rest, let bygones…, etc. you are left with a really kickass album. A solid slab of late eighties thrash / speed metal, up there with the best ones. There are some really catchy riffs and melodious leads here, some of them more than slightly reminiscent of Ride the Ligtning / Master of Puppets- era Metallica. And yes, I can hear the Destruction influences (especially soundwise), too. Luckily, it’s not all simply derivative, there are tons of their own character. Grzegorz Kupczyk does a great job as a thrash vocalist, even if he often sounds over-the-top from my perspective, as of today. The guitarrists are more than competent dishing out those crazy, sometimes a bit proggy, hooks left, right and center. The rhythmic section just do their jobs well enough – the tracks are mainly guitar platforms (there is even an odd NWOBHM-like guitar duel or harmony here and there). They all know their onions of course and let us know that in a really tasteful way. Also, the album is quite coherent – there are no obvious fillers here. Is it technical thrash though, as the Russian-lover claims? Dunno (shrug), probably not.

All I know for sure is I’ll be listening to it lots in the weeks to come. If you are toying with the idea of buying or downloading the album you should realise “Ostatni Wojownik” has a slightly better-sounding version with English vocals called “The Last Warrior”. I’m mentioning it only so that you can steer well clear. Kupczyk’s English is horrible and he doesn’t deliver as solidly as on the Polish version. A slight improvement in dynamics and a bonus track aren’t really worth it.

Ah, in case you were starting to wonder… There are no traditional Russian melodies here. Or Polish ones for that matter. He was probably thinking of the middle-eastern / oriental harmonies present in some tunes. Oh, well, since we all live in a global village (and are Brothers of Metal)… Bygones, yeah?

A rare treat in technical thrash - 95%

stormcrusher, August 30th, 2005

This is an all around great sounding, fresh piece of technical thrash metal. It has an exotic feel, you can tell these guys are from Russia/East Europe because it has a lot of traditional sounding Russian melodies. It's a great treat to hear these being played in a thrash metal format. Did I mention this album is technical? Well, this is probably Turbo's craziest album. It sounds like they've been possessed by the spirits of bands like Watchtower and Destruction and combined it with their earlier Iron Maiden-esque style because this is like NOTHING they've done before, this is pure sadistic THRASH. You're constantly being bombarded by changing drum beats and different emotions of guitar riffs. I really can't think of a more intense sounding thrash album. These guys just sound like they belong in an insane asylum on this album. Some of the finest thrash metal guitar playing I've ever heard is contained on here, it tears into your soul once a song begins and doesn't let go until the end, and though some find the vocals a bit, "excessive", they really add to the completely insane feel. Stand out tracks? All of them, there's no filler here, just pure intense crazy thrash metal from these sadistic Russians. Buy it if you find it, you wont be dissapointed.