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Russkaja – Kosmopoliturbo Award winner

by Anamaria Carla Ionita at 08 August 2017, 1:55 AM

RUSSKAJA is an Austrian band singing in the Turbo-Polka genre, the band being founded in 2005 by former STAHLHAMMER vocalist Georgij Makazaria. The genre itself revolves around a weird combination between Russian music, Polka, different Slavic influences and metal. And in RUSSKAJA’s case, weird DOES NOT mean bad; it’s weird, it’s… barely metal, and yet somehow extremely enjoyable and catchy. “Kosmopoliturbo” is RUSSKAJA’s 5th album, and it’s basically a salad of as many different musical genres (of all types) as they could possibly include in the album. I mean it, the broadness of musical influences range from simple polka, Russian/Slav traditional music, metal, ska, classical, electronic and probably a couple more styles/genres which I didn’t even notice.  A true salad of genres and styles, and yet, a very happy and enjoyable overall album. They managed to pull off something I, for one, did not expect to be as easy (hell… or possible, for that matter). The album starts with a very catchy and addictive “Hey Road” song, which has some clear ska influences, and, fortunately for me, this one’s actually in a language I clearly understand (English…go figure). Things get complicated along the way, as fans know from previous albums, and as this album will show on a bit later.

Instrumental-wise, it’s rather simplistic, yet well-made and cohesive, keeping the song upbeat and making the listener either smile or in a dancing/tapping mood. My neighbors downstairs are not happy with me right now due to all the tapping…“Alive” ‘s as Russian as damned possible; while listening to it, I suddenly got an urge to grab a bottle of vodka.   Za zdorovje! Oddly enough, towards the middle of the song, the Russians end up mixing up with some electronic music. Generally I’d start growling at such a thing, but this time… I’ll let it pass, sounds good, fits the song, and the bottle won’t let me say bad things to the song that summoned it. “Still In Love” is a nice little ballad with a Russian accent. Coming from an Austrian. My brain hurts… “Hello Japan” starts with some rather badass drums and guitars. A bit faster tempo voice, and accompanied by the interesting Violin-Trumpet… thingy. Russian lyrics (not sure, haven’t drank enough vodka yet to speak the language), and from the few words I understand, it sounds like a story about Japanese and Samurais. Very upbeat, very “happy” song, which goes a bit weird thinking of how serious and on point samurais tended to be. Aaaand of course, finished with the badass guitar – drums combo, as it started, so the song ends with a (head)bang.

So… few songs were in English, I totally understood those. Followed by Russian, where I got completely lost; time to get lost even more, now “Volle Kraft Voraus” started with a near classical, clean guitar, bard style entry, German lyrics, and a combination of traditional German music with polka and a simple yet very pleasant guitar riff. Again, I’m confused, don’t know if I should grab a vodka or ein bier and don’t know if I should start a Russian Kazachok or a German Schuhplattler. What I do know is that I’ll replay this one again before I go on to the next. “Mare Mare” starts out with an electronic song, and turns into… honestly; I have no idea how to describe what follows. I really don’t. Sounds interesting, but I just can’t put my finger on it. Something traditional Slavic, I assume. Very traditional… “Cheburaschka” starts extremely fast paced, and I assume this is the best example of that RUSSKAJA mean by Turbo-Polka. I would totally see this song in a live concert, and the crowd somehow combining Kazachock with a moshpit. Pretty sure it wouldn’t be a good combo, since it would involve the general bashing of people, specific to a mosh pit, but it would include far more leg work, as Kazachock demands. Highly enjoyable, yet most probably rather painful. Totally got to try this out. New bottle of vodka was magically summoned into my hand by the song. Again, za zdorovje!  while the climax of the song includes a far harder version of what was until now and a pretty decent guitar solo…. Ended in a bit too much distortion…

“Chef De Cuisine” is obviously a song about a cook, and the metal+turbo-polka sound of it makes me thinking of an older song of theirs, “Barada” (highly, HIGHLY recommended, but beware, it’s addictive). Fast paced, energic…everything, and would be a great playlist song for a party. As stated in the beginning of this article, the album’s a salad of genres. But it’s by far the best, most enjoyable and fun-bringing salad that this maniacal carnivore has ever had the pleasure of “tasting”. With that being said, I’d totally recommend it to the general public for a try, and I’m pretty sure a live concert with these guys would make even the grumpiest person (me, for example) have a giant smile on his (my) face, and jump around combining different dances, just as the songs combine different genres. Davai, RUSSKAJA, Davai! You guys are clearly on the right track to somethin’ good.

Originality: 10
Songwriting: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Hey Road
2. Alive
3. Still In Love
4. Hello Japan
5. Volle Kraft Voraus
6. Mare Mare
7. Cheburaschka
8. La Musica
9. Chef De Cuisine
10. Send You An Angel
Georgij Makazaria - vocals
Dimitrij Miller - bass
Engel Mayr - guitar
Mia Nova -violin
Rainer Gutternigg - trumpet
H-G. Gutternigg - potete
Mario Stübler - drums
Record Label: Napalm Records


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Edited 01 June 2023

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