Album Review – Be Under Arms / Doomed To Life (2016)

Do you think you’re worthy of joining this Russian army of Alternative Metal? If your answer is yes, then it’s time to get armed to the teeth with their uproarious and ruthless music.


be under arms_doomed to lifeDon’t you just love when completely independent bands are capable of delivering to the world music that sounds a lot more entertaining and well-crafted than many of the already established and famous groups that have a lot of support from their record labels? Maybe that’s simply a statement of how many magnificent musicians are out there just waiting for their chance to shine to a bigger audience, or maybe that only proves how much the passion for heavy music can push the musician even further in their creative process. In the case of Russian Groove/Alternative Metal act Be Under Arms I would say it’s both, and after listening to their excellent new album Doomed To Life you’ll understand how this solid balance between technique and feeling will take this band to stardom.

Despite being a fairly new band, formed in 2013 by the dynamic duo Anna “White Queen” Logacheva and Vladimir “Szandor” Nasonov in Moscow, Russia, Be Under Arms already released a full-length album in 2014 named Let Shots Will Be Your Music, displaying what would be perhaps the most “Americanized” sounding you might ever find on Russian soil. Now with Doomed To Life their main influences coming from bands like Slipknot, Stone Sour and Five Finger Death Punch become even more noticeable, which combined with their unique concept, blending the atmosphere of old westerns with steampunk and our modern and urbanized world, makes their music even more electrifying. Even the dystopian album art transpires rebellion and anarchy. Put differently, are you ready for a neck-breaking experience offered by these talented Neo-Metal troopers?

Be Under Arms kick off the album with the theatrical and contemporary Armed & Defenseless and its Slipknot-inspired intro in an interesting blend of Alternative and Symphonic Metal, where Vladimir is responsible for the deep guttural growls while Anna takes care of the clean (and almost operatic) passages and high-pitched screams, followed by Lord Of The Bomb, a polished onslaught full of elements from Metalcore and Melodic Death Metal. Vladimir pays a tribute to the most gruesome Death Metal singers such as Chris Barnes and Jeff Becerra, with bassist Dmitriy Kashirin and drummer Denis “John Doe” Vinitskiy adding tons of groove to the musicality, therefore enhancing the song’s punch. And their working single, Burn For This, is an breathtaking fusion of the high-speed and intricate music by Arch Enemy with the straightforward aggressiveness of the Butcher Babies, with the final result sounding beyond entertaining. Moreover, pay good attention to the metallic riffs by guitarists Viktor Gostemilov and Dmitriy Solo and to the passionate performance by Anna, they truly deserve that.

The whole band demands we keep banging our heads nonstop in March Of The Iron Hearts, a tune that leans towards pure Groove Metal with nuances of Death Metal, and as aforementioned it amazes me how a Russian band can sound so American and consequently ready to conquer the Western side of the world. And yet again inspired by the Butcher Babies, Keep This World provides the listener a violent ambience where Vladimir sounds as bestial as possible on vocals, with the song’s guitar riffs penetrating our heads and piercing our brains mercilessly. Then out of nowhere Be Under Arms morph their musicality from brutal Death Metal to modern Alternative Metal and back again within a short span of five minutes in the thrilling Locked And Bound, where Anna once again steals the spotlight with her deranged screams and also with her potent clean vocal lines.

be under armsDon’t even think about taking a break, because there’s a lot more to come in this awe-inspiring album, starting with To Rise From The Ashes, which presents that characteristic riffage from bands such as Slipknot by Viktor and Dmitriy, helping Vladimir and Anna in offering a great vocal duo to the listener. Be Under Arms then put the pedal to the metal in a hurricane of Melodic Death Metal full of anguished growls, fast beats and tons of groove entitled No Place Like Home, a short and sweet tune perfect for putting the audience to “dance” (or, in other words, slam into the circle pit). Surprisingly, after that we’re treated to a distinct chant named Spit On Your Grave, which is in fact a thoughtful power ballad despite its demented name (who doesn’t love that movie franchise?). While Anna’s vocals work extremely well during the whole song, Vladimir sounds a little weird with his clean vocals, somewhat like a gothic singer from the 80’s, but in the end when all is put together the result is very pleasant indeed.

The last part of the album gets back to sheer brutality, as you’ll be able to enjoy in Human Testing, which due to being slightly rawer than the other songs will surely cause a strong pain in your neck and maybe some bruises when played live. Then we have the title-track Doomed To Life showcasing the best riffs of the whole album by far (Viktor and Dmitriy were remarkably inspired when they composed them), with all other instruments being boosted by that energy flowing from the guitars and consequently turning this into another top moment of the album. On the other hand, in Kings Of Wasteland they tried to be even more alternative than usual, and despite not being a bad song it sounds a bit over the top. That doesn’t harm the overall quality of the album at all, but it’s surely the weakest chant in Doomed To Life. Lastly, we have the vile Metalcore chant Becoming A Monster, where we can enjoy a more introspective side of the band with highlights to the outstanding performances by Anna and Denis (not to mention its short but effective guitar solo), perfectly depicting the name given to it.

Do you think you’re worthy of joining this uproarious cyber army of Alternative Metal from Russia? If your answer is yes, go check their Facebook page, VKontakte and YouTube channel, and in order to get armed to the teeth with their ruthless music, you can find Doomed To Life on sale at the band’s official webshop or BandCamp page, as well as on iTunes. As aforementioned, based on what you will be able to witness in Doomed To Life, you’ll quickly realize this talented sextet from Moscow is actually “doomed” to awesomeness.

Best moments of the album: Lord Of The Bomb, Burn For This, No Place Like Home and Doomed To Life.

Worst moments of the album: Kings Of Wasteland.

Released in 2016 Independent

Track listing
1. Armed & Defenseless 4:39
2. Lord Of The Bomb 3:53
3. Burn For This 3:53
4. March Of The Iron Hearts 2:57
5. Keep This World 3:43
6. Locked And Bound 4:57
7. To Rise From The Ashes 3:29
8. No Place Like Home 2:24
9. Spit On Your Grave 2:36
10. Human Testing 3:19
11. Doomed To Life 4:27
12. Kings Of Wasteland 3:06
13. Becoming A Monster 4:28

Band members
Anna “White Queen” Logacheva – vocals
Vladimir “Szandor” Nasonov – vocals
Viktor Gostemilov – guitar
Dmitriy Solo – guitar
Dmitriy Kashirin – bass
Denis “John Doe” Vinitskiy – drums