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aliceBlue - Solaris

aliceBlue - CD Review





CD Info
Self Released
8 tracks
Russian / English lyrics

This is a Russian release, I mean REAL Russian release. You get a wealth of information about the release in multiple languages, all of them Russian. I think we’d classify this as an EP even though its got 8 tracks, it’s not a War and Peace release, if you know what I mean. But, what there is of it is pretty good. I think we’d classify this as Industrial, although the band seems to favor the term hardcore or post hardcore. They also use terms like Alternative, Synth and Electro so it covers a lot of territory. I’m not familiar with the distinctions regarding hardcore and post hardcore personally but then I never really understood the difference between Elvis and the Beatles. So let’s not spend time there. I did get some information from the Russian Jefe, one Sergey Ignatenkov who, based on the music and some of the pictures I’ve seen on his FB page seems to be a righteous musician no matter where he’s from. There’s a lovely femme vox as well and it’s thrown into a vast conglomeration of music that covers a lot of styles and sounds, which, I guess, are post hardcore or something.

So anyway, what we have here are 8 tracks of various lengths, styles and directions, but mainly in Russian and far beyond my lyrical comprehension. I did manage to get sent to a site that gave me the titles in English but, be aware, they’re not that way on the CD or in most of the material written about this release. I also got some commentary from Sergey so that’s where my information comes from. The music though, well, it speaks for itself. To some extent, it reminds me a little of the Nu-Metal style you get from bands like the SLoT in Moscow with Nookie doing vocals. This may be a bit harder, Sergey does the growling and there’s a lot of that and pretty good. The female lead though, well, she sure sounds like Nookie sometimes. However, there are some additional direct links as Sergey comments, “Daria Liira (November 1 1988) was born in Rome, Italy. From early childhood felt great passion to music but intense studies of foreign languages and political sciences left no free time. Since 2009 participated in different bands, practiced vocals and upgraded her skills under coaching of Lou Gevorkian (Louna, Tracktor Bowling). Today does vocals in post-hardcore band aliceBlue, Moscow (Russia).” Right, an Italian singing in Russian, not something you hear every day. But, any association with Lou Gevorkian is clearly a good thing. And Ms. Daria (which is actually Nookie’s name too) is a solid vocalist, no matter what the style.

It should come as no surprise that most of the lyrics are beyond my understanding, no matter how much Vitamin V I take to help in the deciphering. So, Sergey helped out with some thoughts on the subject, “Most of our songs are about problems we see around - violence, impatience, greed,- and about the things we feel and go through – love, loneliness, hate… We try to use simple language for all the audience could understand and find something common, something close. We never lie or pretend for the profit – everything we do comes from our hearts.” We’ll have to take his word for it but it’s the energy and structure of the music that are probably most of interest to non Russian speakers. And there’s a lot of energy, this is bruising metal by any standard.

The 8 tracks differ in some ways but if you’re looking for the soft ballad you’ll likely be disappointed. Not that Daria doesn’t have the vocal capabilities to pull it off, I suspect she does, and then some. But Sergey doesn’t seem interested in that style so much, he wants his musicians kickin’ out the jams and that’s what we get. But even with that blanket statement, there is variation to the music. I’d go into detail but so much of the music these days is electronically produced, I have no idea what’s making which sound. And, unfortunately, the few YouTube vids that were once up don’t seem to be there now although there are some general aliceBlue videos available, just not from this release.

Well, the release begins with .int and this is some heavy electro with some strange background vocals that tell us right away we might not be doing Gothic any time soon. I’m guessing a lot of this is either software produced or originates on keys and then goes through someone’s fully functional software product to make it sound other worldly. Completely different than the classical intros we get with so much of the Gothic and an interesting change of pace. But, there’s a beat; this would work in most of the dance halls of my acquaintance. But then, I think that’s what most of this release is about.

The second track is Dreamcatcher. It too begins with electronics but moves quickly to a more metal sound with a solid femme vocal. This one’s in Russian and the sound is a bit more in line with the more traditional B & B we typically cover here. Sergey has his bit, lots of hard growling and even the femme vocal comes to us in a variety of formats. Daria has a killer voice and she likes to show us the variety of styles she seems comfortable with.

The next three tracks are Russian as well, far as I can tell. But we do get to an English track with the 6th track, ERROR. Had a bit of a problem with that one, thought my translation program had broken before I realized that was the title of the track. Again we begin with some heavy electro stuff, pounding drums to keep the dance floor moving and then a directional change that takes us to a sexy femme vocal combined with that background growling. Lyrics go something like this:

Mused rules form nowhere / Wish I could strike through them all
And blow the air / And remember, and unlimber the paul

If u could line me / I would be a whole red mark / Incorrect in star
A unicorn to see / Stop shouting / I know that / I’m error, error
Just bit it / And leave me / I don’t care / Anymore / I’m error / Error 404

The next track is, again, in Russian. And so is the title as is the case with a number of titles. But, the translation is interesting. . . . and Lenin is so young. Didn’t get much in the way of interpretation about this one but it is truly off the wall. The vocal is done by a classical opera tenor. . .in Russian. Can’t honestly say I’ve ever heard one like this before. A classical tenor, over heavy metal, in Russian. That’s a fookin’ first, I kid you not. But, life is short, take the unexpected when you get the chance and roll with the punches. We ain’t in Amsterdam no more, ain’a. And actually, I kinda like it. But I was big into Frank Zappa too so there you have it.

Now, where was I. Oh yea, the last selection, Butterfly Dance (aB version). This one may be the most contemporary and relatively traditional metal sounding track on the release. We get a heavy dose of Daria and she never sounded better. Sergey screams a bit in the background as if to say don’t forget where we live. But lyrically the material is also a bit contemporary:

Come on, dance! Butterfly, lets dance! / You won’t have another chance
Spread your wings and fly / (Anyway)
Tonight you will gonna die / So come on, butterfly, lets dance!

Even a wee bit of the Gothic there just to prove they know how to do it.

So anyway, that’s aliceBlue from Moscow. This sounds to me like a lot of the popular music I expect to hear from that city and it sure beats most of what I hear in mine. I’ll take this any day. Killer beat, a fine femme vox and some hard male screaming to back it up, all over pounding metal. Where’s the down side? I get the idea that Sergey’s not all that interested in a recording career, I think he’s more into live work in the clubs. And I’d love to hear him there. But, since that might not happen soon, I’ll continue to appreciate this. Russian metal, with some interesting diversions from the traditional. No problem there.