Облачный Край (Oblachny Kray)

Стремя и люди

Russia Country of Origin: Russia

Стремя и люди
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Hard Rock, Heavy, Progressive
1. Интро
2. Наша общая легавая
3. Супер-чукча
4. Межгалактический конгламерат
5. Нападение монстра на двупалый индивидуум
6. Грустная история
7. От мозгов к мозгам
8. Костя Перестукин
9. Мать порядка
10. Стремя и люди - предисловие (Часть 1)
11. Стремя и люди - стремя и люди (Часть 2)

Review by John B. on April 28, 2024.

Ever wonder what a little more than two thirds of an Oblachny Kray album sounds like? Well, here it is. Swaggering, self-consciously outlandish vocals - check. Strange, kind of futuristic keyboards - check. Crass yet varied and inventive guitars - unfortunately, in short supply. It seems the band was content to let the guitar play second potato to O.K.'s oddball vocal and key combo.

Oleg Rautkin is again at his off-the-wall best. The first song alone features the full range of his voice. There is a snarly, mid-deep mock seriousness that fills you with the same kind of fun quasi-fear as watching an intentionally bad horror movie. Then, often within the same line, he launches into his trademark no-holds-barred high-pitch air raid siren. Kind of like his countryman Dmitriy Varshavskiy of Black Coffee, but even more amplified. "Суперчукча" is the next best example of this crazy singing style. Other songs, notably "Мать порядка", highlight the band's carefully maintained obnoxious country boy side, delivering the lyrics in a grating smartass slur. Right, so this album is not lacking any of the O.K. experience from a vocal perspective.

Neither is there any disappointment to be found in Nicolai Liskovskiy's keyboards. Nic really excels during the title song, in which he plays a quite momentous phantom-of-the-opera intro; gradually replaced by a traditional Russian-sounding piece by the sixth minute. There are also great bits of purposefully ludicrous sci-fi score synthiness in "Межгалактический конгломерат". So, nothing missing in the keyboard department either.

It is guitarist Sergei Bogaev who doesn't seem completely into it on Стремя. There is a cool rustic, peasanty twang on "Суперчукча", but it unfortunately doesn't have a hard enough edge to really be effective. This style is done better on "Мать порядка" which is my favourite of the album for that, as well as the only noteworthy guitar solo. I also kind of like the galloping Maidenesque rhythm of "Стремя и люди". It's just that imitations - even very good imitations - of heavy metal's genre leaders are not why I listen to Oblachny Kray. This out of place normalness is also a drawback against the admittedly speedy and hard rockin' "Костя перестукин". A regular 80s metal song with a weird voice and keys, is still just a regular 80s metal song with a weird voice and keys.

On this album, you'll hear almost everything that makes Oblachny Kray a great band. The attitude and zaniness are on full display, as usual, mostly expressed through the vocals and keyboards. With a stronger guitar effort, Стремя и люди could rank among the finest of OK.

Rating: 7 out of 10