Sound: It's not every day you see a band from Russia on YouTube. But that is what happened when I discovered The Korea. They are a deathy djenty band with a lot of ambiance within their songs. They aren't signed yet but they would probably do a good job on Sumerian Records as their sound isn't too dissimilar from some of their current artists. This next bit is my track by track review of each song.
01. "Cobra" - This is one of the greatest intro tracks ever. It starts with some ambiance and some spoken word in Russian. Then the clean guitars come in and haunt you. And before you know it, the distortion kicks in and the sound is like djent gone feral. When you get to the chorus and the clean vocals and the beautiful guitar work blow you away.
02. "Waterline" - This song starts of with seaside sounds, then there's a riff that tells you this song is gonna be heavy. It picks up the pace for the verse and by now you realize this band should be big. The chugs are massive but there's a definite difference to the average band. The chorus is massive, it has one of the best vocal hooks (if I could speak Russian). The drums and bass are very identifiable in this song.
03. "Manuscript" - This song is really slow and dark. The clean guitar merges with some chugging for an amazing intro. Then the riff that you just want to head-bang to comes in. The pre chorus makes use of the dual guitars and sounds amazing. There are parts with cool guitars. But unlike Periphery's songs with good guitars, this sounds structured, it's not all over the place.
04. "Zombie" - This song has a certain something to it, the deadened notes just make this song. All of the well placed accents make this song a jumpy song with a really smooth chorus. By now, you probably get the idea that the band use a lot of clean guitars in their mix. But it's not a synthetic ambiance like TesseracT and it's not used nearly as much as Uneven Structure's "Februus". It's a perfect mix of everything.
05. "Neva" - This song is the instrumental interlude. It is a full on ambient song. The clean guitars along with the rain and the saxophone make a beautiful piece. This is the kind of thing you'd sleep to as it is a brilliant instrumental masterpiece.
06. "I've Got What You're Waiting For" - This song has a good guitar hook, possibly a bit stereotypical, for the intro. However, when the singer starts, the song gets back to The Korea's unique sound. The chorus is quite something, the singer switches up an octave half way through the song. The song has a bit of a bouncy feel to it which would be great live.
07. "Armada" - This is one of The Korea's more ambient tracks. The intro has a weird feeling, and when the distortion comes in, it feels complete. The song consists of a lot of chugging but it fits. The song has a blend of a TesseracT demo (Ambient if you want to know which) and a massive chug that'd make a lot of bands jealous.
08. "Valhalla" - This song is a bit more of an anthem than the rest of the album. It's an easier song to listen to. It also has a more rock and roll feel rather than a metal feel. You still get chugs and ambience but it's presented like a normal rock song with normal rock chord progressions. The fact that they've messed about a bit with how they play it makes it a great song.
09. "Judas Kiss" - This, like "Armada", is very ambient and has a lot of powerful chugs in the mix. The song is amazing. It's probably my favourite song on the entire album. This is one of the 3 flawless songs in my opinion ("Cobra" and "Chaos Theory" are the other 2). This is the song that most ambidjent people want to write. It is mind-blowing.
10. "Chaos Theory" - This is their lead single. And instead of having anything clean, there is a massive amount of distortion. The ambiances are powerful, the guitars are savage and you can imagine this in a concert with pyro and massive circlepits that engulf the floor. There is a lot of octave jumps for any guitarist to practice. It combines low notes and high pitch notes like I've never heard. This is by far and away, the best song on the album.
11. "On The Home Way" - This is the band's last song. It's a quiet song, just a bird whistling and a dog barking in the distance and clean guitars. It sounds beautiful and peaceful. It's a great way to finish off a great album. // 9
Lyrics: First thing's first, I can't mark more than what I've given the lyrics as I don't understand Russian. For all I know, the singer, Ilya Sannikov, could be singing about fluffy bunny rabbits. However, what I do know is that the singing is AMAZING. He switches from growls to clean singing naturally and it is and amazing sound that comes out of his voice. It's almost like his cleans are an instrument that creates ambience and beauty rather than just their because they are. As well as this, Russian makes the songs sound way more brutal than if it was in English. // 8
Overall Impression: Well, as you can probably tell, I really like the album. I reckon that The Korea should be able to get signed to a record label easily if they can just get a big enough following to do tours outside of Russia. My favourite songs are definitely "Cobra", "Chaos Theory" and "Judas Kiss". There is just something about this band that makes every listen better then the last. It is hard to like all of the album at first, but it gets better and better as time goes by. The recording sounds better than a lot of metal and it sounds professional, even though they aren't on a massive budget. I would buy this album for any of my friends because it's really good. It's the band's 3rd album (excluding the EP) and it's a massive step up from noise to amazing. I shall end this review by saying if you don't support low key bands, then we won't continue to have great music so support your local music scene, go on YouTube and click on links to bands you'd never thought of and don't illegally download music. // 9