I used to think that I liked metal, or at least telling people that I did. But the truth is that I was lying to myself…and also to them. I tried really hard with Black Sabbath, Motorhead, even Ministry, but less than half an album and 3 or 4 gin & Mountain Dews later, I always found myself jonesin’ for Billy Joel. I did manage to have some success with King Crimson though this is largely owed to the large and diverse body of work and their adamant endorsement from Robert Pollard.

With that disclosure in mind, I will say that I can effectively dig this tape.

The band hails from Perm, Russia…a fact I find curious since there name comes from fairly old English slang. I think they also sing in English though it’s hard to tell through the heavy delay on the vocals, Also curious; the band members’ aliases all come from Native American history, such as Geronimo and the less obvious choice of the legendary athlete Jim Thorpe (who was part Native American). Deepening the conundrum further, according to (a European band network) they are from Louisiana, but most comments about them are in Russian.

The great thing about this tape is its steadily delivers unexpected twists while staying within the right lane (or whichever side they drive on Russia). The introductory number begins with a sort of ambient feedback sounds, slow drums and a sickly howling guitar like a dying Yeti who only wants its true love by its side during its last moments of life. The tape then takes you prancing alternately down the River Styx and around a campfire in a nostalgic VH1 biopic about a 60s/70s hippy band that only people who spend their weekends watching VH1 could possibly care about.

It calls to mind Brainbombs, King Crimson, Big Business, and Black Sabbath, a punkless version of The Melvins – possibly for the sole reason that those are pretty much the only metal bands I know – but its not bad company for Cockamamie to be in, even if it’s due to my ignorance of the genre. In my first draft of this review I mentioned something about a 13th Floor Elevators influence. I no longer have any idea where that came from but maybe you will.

In addition to be being Russian, this tape is psychedelic, melodic, metallic, and at times subtly/vaguely shoegazey, as if My Bloody Valentine did a stint as Robert Fripp’s backing band. It does have all the elements I do/have/would look for in a metal band (if I were still looking)…sludgy yet driving rhythm, decent presence of melody, effects on vocals/no screaming, swirling guitar, and best of all (for me) several qualities that can in no way be attributed to metal. I’d recommend this tape to metal fans looking to diversify their listening repertoire and metal-phobes who have run out of things to talk about with their harder rocking friends.

-- Travis Long