From the sweeping, epic introduction to the wild guitar solos falling somewhere between power metal and melodic death, Ворон (Voron) is one of those songs that struck me like a brick the very first time I heard it. Смута (Smuta) are yet another band out of Russia, hailing from Rybinsk in Yaroslavl Oblast. I don’t know much about the band, and I’ve been too hopelessly distanced from anything but my (relatively) mainstream folk metal connections to keep up with them lately, but their 2007 debut full-length, Смута Крови (Smuta Krovi), was a surprisingly well-informed album for a band that doesn’t appear to have any connections to the bigger names of the genre.
The death metal vocals are the only consistent factor throughout the album, with musical themes that incorporate Finntroll-esque folk metal, Pagan Reign/Твердь-styled Slavic pagan metal, some power metal and melodic death guitars, and a uniquely tame approach to black metal. It’s got nothing on Falconer’s Armod for perfecting a merger of the myriad metal subgenres, but it’s a worthy effort, and it grants them a unique sound which, with better production and a little more edge, could evolve into something really amazing. They’ve released two albums since Smuta Krovi that I’ve yet to hear, and revisiting the band here has certainly peaked my curiosity.
Voron is definitely the stand-out track of the album, and the intro says it all. It’s the one track in which their lack of an edge can definitely count as a good thing. The brief opening segment is enough to give a solid fantasy essence to a song that really doesn’t fit that bill beyond the thirty second mark, placing it in the odd context of bearing sort of formal, almost royal imagery that you can somehow pull off your best air guitar imitation to.