Formed in 2005 by singer Georgij Makazaric Austria’s Russkaja combines elements of rock, ska and Russian folk music to create a unique sound. Their first single ‘Dope Shit’ was released in 2007 and following the success of their 2008 EP ‘Kasatchok Superstar’, (which went to #20 on the Austrian charts) they attracted the attention of Austria’s Napalm Records, who they have been with since.
Their first full length CD ‘Russian Voodoo’ and their energetic (often vodka fuelled) live shows drew enough attention that Russkaja quickly became recognized at their shows and festivals.
In 2013 they released the cd ‘Energia’ with the lead off song of the same name to critical acclaim and fan approval. The official video for Energia alone has racked up over 3.5 million views, which is pretty impressive for a band that sings largely in Russian.
However, with Energia the band began using some English lyric content mixed in and it paid off. Audiences in the West began noticing, listening too and enjoying the music of Russkaja, with many favourable reviews written about the album in various outlets.
2015 saw their third full-length release ‘Peace, Love and Russian Roll’. This release sees the band acting on their growing fan base and now features songs written entirely in English and Spanish.
The videos for this 7-piece band are usually animated or partially animated featuring bright, simple stylized work. With their music being equally colourful.
While they have been dubbed as a metal band, Russkaja describe themselves as ‘Russian Turbo Polka Metal’. They aren’t metal, but whatever their style is – Russkaja’s version of it works.
The band’s musicianship is top notch, and together they write songs (and music) that draw on a variety of styles, which they mesh together seamlessly in a fashion that is not jumbled, cluttered or confusing. Many bands have tried to mesh together a variety of styles, (often styles that seem to be complete opposites) with little or no success. Russkaja do not have that problem, and in fact it seems to be a strong point for them.
The music bounces and flows with a lot of energy and moves in and out of styles effortlessly in a way that feels natural to the song.
So, Russkaja: Is it Good or is it Garbage?
Personally I like them. Not as an everyday listen, but for those times when I want to hear something that is outside the usual which isn’t a complete ball of crap or stranger than a Hentai video. This is a solid band not trying to fit into any genre but instead making music they way they want.
As always I’ll leave a video for you to decide for yourself, with their official video for ‘Energia’
John Goodale is the author of ‘Johnny Gora’ (available through Amazon.com), and a number of articles here on TMRZoo.com. His monthly column ‘Indy Comics Spotlight’ appears here and through his blog Indy Comics Spotlight