(HED) P.E. releases a solidly decent album with Class of 2020 (Suburban Noize Records). The band, hailing from Southern California, truly embodies the eclectic skater vibe of the area. The album is a mix of rock, funk, and rap. Jared Gomes, Jeremiah Stratton, Kurt Blankenship, DJ Blackard, and Chad Benekos are a tight outfit, and Class of 2020 has no wasted riffage.
As a semi-renowned gobshite par excellence, it’s genuinely not often I’m confused, but the levels of confusion upon first listening to Russkaja’s latest droppings Kosmopoliturbo (Napalm) caused existential crisis levels of befuddlement. Continue reading
Life is full of mysteries: how does the universe expand into nothing? How did The Miz ever headline Wrestlemania, why has the UK Eurovision board not called Skindred yet, and most baffling of all, how have polka metallers (?!?) Russkaja maintained a career for so long? Metal has come with a huge degree of silliness for some time, folk metal especially at times requires you to leave your mind at the door and go nuts (may also contain disco). Russkaja’s brand of Russian Turbo Folk with Ska is a step too far however, and instead proves as fun as stapling your genitals to a grizzly bear.
Given their due, Russkaja have definitely covered new ground, combining traditional Russian Polka which will be unfamiliar to many, with the bombast and sunshine of Ska upon a metal driving engine; a formula which has deviated little over the 4 album career. The problem which becomes even more apparent on Peace, Love & Russian Roll (Napalm) is how the absurdity feels forced and lacks any charm. At the songwriting’s best they are often forgettable, at its very worst, parts will burrow in to your head through sheer annoyance rather than being catchy and instant, for example ‘El Pueblo Unido’, particularly with its whistled introduction.
Fitting closely with folk metal, often this style requires a suspension of belief in return for grin inducing ecstasy; instead Peace, Love & Russian Roll leaves little more than a grimace at best. The unique idea and approach is commendable but comes off like a car crash as nuances, instruments and passages are seemingly forced in to try and grab you and make you have fun, much like the class clown who tries too many tricks to look funny and instead just becomes an irritant.