Monday, 9 May 2016

Montezuma's Revenge - From Russia With Sludge (and a Bong)

Who are Montezuma's Revenge?

Montezuma's Revenge are Ilya Boots, Vladimir Yurchenko and Yura Kalyaamm.

They are also not the diaahorea suffered by visitors to Mexico, although they share the name and sludgy consistency, they are most definately not shit!

What they are is a stonerific sludge band from Moscow. Although to describe them just as this doesn't really encompass their complete sound.

Now I know all music is art, but I don't think Zakk Wylde sits and considers how he is going to actualize his artistic vision in sound. I think he writes a good riff, records a "piss in your face" solo and he's done, and there's nothing wrong with this, in fact the man's a legend.

However, these guys are putting artistic thought into their compositions. It's not over bearing, or as we in England would say "arty farty", but it's there enough to give it an interesting direction. What this brings to the table is some fantastic and interesting journeys in the music and lyrics that constantly alerts the listener's attention. They have an artistic edge that sets them apart.

And speaking and art.....

Something, apart from the music, that I sincerely appreciate about this band is the clear importance hey put into the audible AND visual artistry.

In the digital music age the visual artistry of an album is often lost. Even on physical album art a lot of bands seem to follow a pre determined formula. This is not the case here. On their first LP, Key to the Abyss, they have used the considerable talent of Moscow based artist Andrey Davidosky, who has created a visually stunning sleeve cover and pages which compliments their sound perfectly.

Key to the Abyss

As I said before , if you're expecting straight sludge, you're not getting it here, but what you will get is the awesome riffs comparable to the likes of Down, with some brilliant additional soundscapes and tempo changes.

The album kicks off, well in chaos, off with "Chaos Reins", a song with an intro deserving of it's name and that incorporates some classic sludge riffs with doom influenced breakdowns and some brilliant layered lead guitar lines.

The title track, "Key to the Abyss", sounds almost like a tip of he hat to Down in parts with it's style and vocal delivery, however they never lose their own clear identity and verve.

Some songs display a range of tempos and styles that make them very interesting. "Fast Food Bushido" goes from speed to sludge to speed then it becomes almost a Slayeresque thrash number towards the end.

"Anti-Entity", my favourite track on the album, also has variant tempos and it incorporates a sublime passage of stoner rock sounds which was joyous to me upon first hearing.

"Little Gods of Disruption" brings in hardcore elements in the verses with the drums driving the song before reverting to the captivating guitar lead lines they do so well.

"Sleeping Beauty" is the most out and out sludge number, with a reverby lead that creates an almost Tool like atmosphere. Lyrically I get the impression this is referencing Russia as the Sleeping Beauty, but you may draw your own conclusions. Either way it is packed with metaphor and an interesting song lyrically and musically.

"Godfather, I'm In Love" has the most addictive riff on the record with a rich full sound it's impossible not to want to move to.

Finally, "Dead Frost" with its sinister soundscapes throughout. This is the bands epic, but they're not so self indulgent to drag it out to the point where it becomes boring. The accompanying video was animated by Waldez Sneg of the group of artists Rotten Fantom, yet another nod to the importance of visual art to accompany their music.

Throughout this record I have to disturb my pigeon style appreciative head nod several times to stop and take note and admire some of the ideas and directions, before reconvening (and looking like a knob).

Whilst good from first listen, it grows even better on the ear with further listens. You discover bits you'd not heard before or hear a new lyric you like which gives the album a fresh feel with each listen. You can stream the album below.

It's time to get behind the Moscow Metallers, a band who have shared the stage with the super powers of Down, Crowbar and next month will be supporting the Sludge juggernauts EyeHateGod, are surely on the cusp of something big themselves, with their artistic and inventive take on the genre.

The good news is they're in the final processes of completing a new album so there will be even more music to enjoy very soon.

You can buy Key To the Abyss digitally and on C.D here . Digital download is just $5 (around £3) but, if you like the album its worth having the C.D, to have the quality art as well. There is also an interesting free EP of a slightly different style and singles on bandcamp to download. Go get

From Russia With Sludge (and a bong).

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