Album Review – Big Guns / Six Shooter EP (2016)

After the six shots of visceral Death N’ Roll fired by these dynamic duo of Russian outlaws, you’ll be pretty much dead.

Rating5

coverSome people might agree that whenever you face a really big trouble, all you need is a really big gun to solve that once and for all. With that insurgent idea in mind, two experienced Russian metallers from Moscow teamed up earlier this year to fight stagnancy in music and decided to shoot some traditional Rock N’ Roll music spiced up by the brutality of Death Metal, giving birth to the quick-draw, high-speed Death N’ Roll project Big Guns and releasing their debut EP entitled Six Shooter for the delight of all headbanging gunslingers all around the world.

Big Guns are comprised of multi-instrumentalists Postie (Conflict) on guitars, bass, drum programming, backing vocals and mixing, and Vaarwel (Frozen Ocean, Goatpsalm, Smothered Bowels) on vocals, lyrics and mastering, and based on the music found in Six Shooter, featuring a gory Wild West-inspired cover art by Anton Baskin (Contrast Arts), the synergy between these two outlaws of heavy music is beyond amazing. Postie and Vaarwel fire together six short, violent tunes perfect for getting piss drunk at an old saloon and have a pistol duel with that gunman that wants to steal your sexy lady from your arms.

Although Postie and Vaarwel have only six bullets locked and loaded in their first stint as Big Guns, the final result is truly devastating. Hard as Tin brings forward a minute and a half of madness, with the blast beats blending Death and Thrash Metal by Postie together with the deep guttural by Vaarwel turning this demolishing tune into the epitome of badassness. In Nightmares of Tomorrow, a pub-fighting Rock N’ Roll tune the likes of Chrome Division tailored for drinking a beer or slamming into the pit, simply enjoy its gentle lyrics (“I sang about entrails and gore / I extolled splattered women / I praised mutilation and deeply adored / Dead bodies choking on semen / Hate! Exsanguinate! / Hate! Eviscerate!”) while bass and drums burst sheer electricity into your ears. And in the metallic Natural Attraction, another brutal Rock N’ Roll creation by this explosive Russian duo, Vaarwel sounds like if the Devil went full Western.

big-gunsOur Moscow outlaws add a lot of gunpowder to their instruments and fire a high-octane tune perfect for some sick mosh pits titled Grammar Guerillas, with highlights to the amazing riffs by Postie and its berserk rhythm; whereas in Pearl Jammed an eerie love story is narrated in a very obscure way (“I met her at the Bon Jovi gig, she was pretty delightful / Long leather boots, violet wig, talking so happily sprightful / Word by word we felt this, chemistry burst like a blast / Pelvis dreamt of pelvis, lust language was unsurpassed”), leaning towards sheer Death Metal with hints of Sludge and Doom Metal just to make things more tasteful. Their last shot of aggressiveness, Dragon Hedge, gets back to their Death N’ Roll core essence, offering the listener deep, enraged growls enhanced by sharp guitar lines and heavy beats. When it’s over, I’m sure you’ll be eager for more of Big Guns’ immoral fusion of Death Metal and Rock N’ Roll.

Are you ready to face the most wanted duo of Russian bandits in the world of heavy music? If you have the guts to challenge them for a duel, all you have to do is visit their Facebook page and purchase Six Shooter through their BandCamp page. Six Shooter might be extremely short in duration, but that doesn’t mean this cool EP doesn’t have the devastating effect of a bazooka, all thanks to the intensity and dexterity of two musicians that have an insane amount of lead and gunpowder flowing inside their veins.

Best moments of the album: Nightmares of Tomorrow and Grammar Guerillas.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Independent

Track listing
1. Hard as Tin 1:37
2. Nightmares of Tomorrow 1:55
3. Natural Attraction 1:43
4. Grammar Guerillas 1:48
5. Pearl Jammed 2:10
6. Dragon Hedge 1:53

Band members
Vaarwel – vocals
Postie – guitars, bass, drum programming, backing vocals

Album Review – Frozen Ocean / The Prowess Of Dormition EP (2016)

Open your ears and your heart, and follow the ear-splitting sound of a frozen ocean of Atmospheric Black Metal hailing from the almighty Russia.

Rating4

hi-res coverSince the year of 2005, Russian multi-instrumentalist Vaarwel (who’s also a member of the excellent Russian bands Goatpsalm and Smothered Bowels) has been crafting music of incredible power, imagination, diversity and depth, releasing his creations under the banner of  Frozen Ocean. Hailing from the city of Moscow, Russia, this unstoppable metaller seems to have an endless fountain of creativity inside his blackened mind, always expressing his unique view of obscure themes such as winter, death and depression, and always avoiding any labels or preset formulas (let’s simply call his music Atmospheric Black Metal for you readers to understand the whole concept a little better). For instance, he was capable of delivering nothing less than 7 (seven!) Frozen Ocean albums in 2011, five of those being full-length ones. And now, in 2016, he has already started spreading his starless arias all over the world with a brand new EP entitled The Prowess Of Dormition.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of bands such as Moonsorrow, Borknagar and Sigh, or if you prefer rawer Black Metal acts like Dark Funeral and Immortal, the music found in The Prowess Of Dormition will definitely leave a (good) scar on your metallic soul due to its beauty, heaviness and complexity. Featuring an absorbing artwork by British artist/photographer Kieran Wakeman (Divine Chaos Art), who has already worked with bands such as Cadaveria, The King is Blind and Terror Universal, the EP has a lot to offer us metalheads in its 25-minute journey through gelid landscapes and dark thoughts, split in four distinct harmonious tunes.

The atmospheric intro in No Blizzard promptly invites the listener to the cold and desolated realms of Frozen Ocean, with Vaarwel making sure the harmony and pace of the song generate the necessary ambience for his harsh growls. In addition, Doom Metal elements are brought forth especially by the song’s gentle keyboard notes and constant beats delivered by Vaarwel, luring us to go even deeper into his dark world. And this doom-ish vibe goes on in the very somber and melodic Once Aglow, where there’s a lot of melancholy and sorrow flowing from Vaarwel’s growling. Moreover, the nice break halfway through it provides the listener some well-deserved peace of mind, before obscurity returns in this flawless fusion of Atmospheric and Symphonic Black Metal.

Frozen Ocean 3Det Siste Snøfallet (Norwegian for “the last snowfall”) begins at full force with its relentless beats and riffs, which aim at representing the harshest snowfall in the history of mankind. It’s a captivating instrumental tune where Vaarwel showcases all his abilities as a musician (and as a lover of dark music), working as an “extended” intro to the title-track, The Prowess Of Dormition, an amazing composition that offers the listener Frozen Ocean’s trademark Black Metal with hints of Folk and Viking Metal. Its keyboards get even more prominent and sinister, yet again providing a smooth break with endless amounts of feeling and melancholy until the music flows into a climatic ending, therefore concluding the album brilliantly.

In a nutshell, although The Prowess Of Dormition has been released as “just” an EP, it’s substantially more intricate and intense than most full-length records you might find anywhere, proving how talented Vaarwel is and providing hints of what this Russian one-man army might breed next. And in order to keep updated with everything happening with Frozen Ocean, go check their Facebook, VKontakte, YouTubeSoundCloud and BandCamp, and also buy your copy of The Prowess Of Dormition at the Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings’ official BandCamp and Big Cartel pages or at CD Baby. Just open your ears and your heart, relax, and follow the ear-splitting sound of this frozen ocean of extreme music.

Best moments of the album: The Prowess Of Dormition.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings

Track listing
1.No Blizzard 6:06
2.Once Aglow 7:10
3.Det Siste Snøfallet 5:19
4.The Prowess Of Dormition 6:15

Band members
Vaarwel – vocals, all instruments