If you are looking for some music to ignite emotions and the pulse rate then you can do far worse than checking out the new album from Russian blackened death metalers Shturm. Impressive on ideas and diversity and even stronger in their delivery the band have unleashed in Karmaruna an album that rages and rampages through the ear but with a defined craft and a wealth of refined thought.
Formed in 2003 the band has evolved through many line-up changes and a shift of direction from a formidable but raw and rough black metal band into a mightily creative and tight unit bringing multiple flavours and skills to their distinct and challenging sound. After the demo Shape of Chaos in their first year Shturm released their debut album Fresh Christian Meat in 2004. Without support the release had limited circulation and attention but still opened many ears up with its promising harsh sounds. The line-up of the band changed often through the years and by 2006 only guitarist/vocalist Adar remained from the founding members. The band also contained by this point fellow guitarist/vocalist Omuth and the pair took this year to reconsider and redefine the sound of the band bringing in a technical death metal vein that added a new brutal edge to their music. Lyrically too, the music took a new influence in the form of atmosphere and inspiration taken from ethnic music, the heritage of Maya and the nations of Oceania, and thoughts and ideas rooted in the wisdom and grandeur of the old ones. By 2011 the stable addition of drummer Petreno and bassist Kane completed the current line-up and the new album Karmaruna was completed and eventually released via Darknagar Records in March of this year.
Karmaruna is a refreshing release that though steeped in black/death metal has a fully flavoursome invention and energy that captivates from the start. The Krasnodar based quartet make every second on the album count whether in violating the senses with harsh and venomous intense riffs and aggression or by whipping them up into a very satisfied excitable state with searching melodic asides and imaginative classic metal toned guitar play that never allows predictability to show its face. There is so much going on that it takes numerous listens to feel the full depth of the release and even then subsequent plays still offers up a little something new.
After opening on the striking and provocative brief track/intro Wounds On My Hands the album erupts into a full rampage with Solitude Beside. The song immediately winds itself around the senses with a tight imposing groove and tumbling unpredictable rhythms. Like controlled chaos the track punctures the ear with a vigorously direct and unpredictable pace, its muscular intent capturing full submission within the first eventful and impressive minute. The vocals emerge in a combination of coarse growls, screamed venom, and a triumphant clean delivery which works wonderfully to match the also continuingly switching energy and sounds. The song is rock n metal at its best and the beginning of an imposing and thoroughly rewarding ride.
From here on in the album commands the senses, taking them on a heady ride of peaks with some heights loftier than others. The likes of My Life With Angel and its eager acute meandering creativity, the stunning consuming Eagles Above Tibet with its sirenesque ethnically fuelled beginning, and the harsh and emotive Bloodsimple like To Kapylavasta, all create soundscapes and sonically powered eager masses to immerse within to be pummelled and enflamed with unrelenting riffs and destructive rhythms.
The third of the just mentioned tracks along with Solitude Beside are the best tracks on the album but closely rivalled by songs such as the crushing and defiant In Us, the blistering invasive Remember Thy Name, and the stunning closing instrumental of Metal Music Artefact, the song ending the album with final proof of the excellent skill and songwriting craft of the band.
Karmaruna brings a heavy pressure and muscular mass from first note to last but within that there is the most inspiring and insightful creativity and imaginative display of sounds and ideas to ensure every moment is a feast of varied metal. Shturm may be classed as death metal but there is plenty for all metal fans whatever their preferred point of entry to deeply enjoy.