Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rkinis Raindi - The Tower of Slavery Is Crumbling

No cover artwork here - this was a tape released in Georgia (the country) in 1991 shortly after the fall of the USSR. The title is a rough translation - the original band name/title are written in Georgian as რკინის რაინდი - ინგრევა მონობის კოშკი

Rkinis Raindi is an endearingly wimpy melodic heavy metal band from Georgia which emerged with this album, no coincidence, very shortly after the Soviet Union fell. They managed to produce four tracks with heavy metal riffs borrowed from a seemingly narrow range of influences (Dio and Malmsteen) before turning to even wimpier, less enjoyable keyboard rock on their next album, as well as the last track of this album. I'll say it up front - this album is mainly memorable because there's an amazing and ridiculous music video for the first track. That deserves a review of its own, but anyway...

The vocalist is very charismatic, his delivery impassioned yet graceful and almost without the harshness of pronunciation and syllabism. His intonation is excellent and allows the backing harmony to be harmonious in aesthetic, not just tonality. He sounds sweet, almost too sweet for a heavy metal vocalist, though he really fits the metal-going-on-pop-rock style of the band. He's right at home on the sappy soft track which ends the album, at least. The music isn't all that heavy, it's only really metal because the guitar riffs are pretty much borrowed, in template, from Dio and Malmsteen. It's really like a softened-up Dio, or the sappiest stuff Malmsteen did in the 80s. The guitar rhythm and a vocal melody on the first track are borrowed from Holy Diver, but it's still not nearly as "riffy" at that and the keyboards really fill out the atmosphere. The singer sounds more like Bon Jovi than Dio too, he's smooth but he's got no bite. Grace, but not gusto. Perhaps the production loses a bit of the edge, but the arrangements don't help either, as everything is stripped down and the synths are up there along with the guitar, which does very little most of the time. There's still a solid baroque-sounding riff in the third song, and an unexpected Malmsteen-influenced solo that dramatically picks up the pace of the first song, though clearly the guy doesn't have the chops to pull of Malmsteen.

It's still a little enthralling though, how a band came out of the former Soviet Union and quickly produced a five-track tape of decent heavy metal with some amusing exaggerations and a sound that was, at the very least, a little unusual. It's not as riffy or heavy as I prefer heavy metal and it's pretty soft and synthy in points. Despite that, it leads off with a captivating track, an unusually long anthem appropriately named "Tower of Slavery is Crumbling" - no doubt a reference to the fall of the USSR in the year that this was released.

But the real reason I remember this band is the video.

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