Ska is one genre that rooted from the late 1950’s, brought on reggae with such influential acts as Toots & The Maytals, 2 Tone with groups such as The Specials and the third wave which saw an increase in ska-punk world-wide. Something completely different again, in the form of a talented group of musicians from Vienna who go by the name of Russkaja, who want to share their ‘Russian Turbo Polka Metal’ with the world.
From the opening track, Hey Road with the smooth yet raspy vocals of Georgij Makazaria, who sets the scene with the backing guitar of Engel Mayr, who strums along to the skanking beat. The catchy number will have one singing along in no time. The ska continues after the polka increases its tempo on Alive. One could be confused at one point as the beat drops as if a hip-hop track has taken over but the bass groove brings on the turbo polka and we are back in business.
Hip-hop echo vocals on following track, Still in Love, should break Russkaja into the Top 40 charts, opening eyes to music on the Napalm Records label. Standout track Hello Japan opens up with a funk metal riff reminiscent of Rage against the Machine. Infusing ska and polka like a lethal cocktail which brings on the boogie before drummer, Mario Stübler goes all out, at full pelt.
Makazaria gives Count von Count (The Count from Sesame Street) a run for his money on Volle Kraft Voraus; only difference being a native of Russia, not Transylvania; on the spoken word intro. The polka beat sees a nifty chord progression and the use of an array of instruments. Mare Mare makes for an exotic boogie which has a Spanish feel to it. Cheburaschka lets loose polka outbursts bringing Mr. Bungle to mind. The hard hitting riff which takes the song out is sure to please Living Colour fans.
With the likes of tracks such as La Musica the use of not only the trumpet, of Rainer Gutternigg, but also the potete of H-G. Gutternigg; which is a valve trombone version of the Gansch trumpet, making it a rotary trumpet built in a way that’s laid out like a piston horn; is present. Chef De Cuisine is a banger of a track with the inspiring guitar riff, bass groove of Dimitrij Miller and violin of Mia Nova.
Winding things down with the powerful, Send You an Angel, which sends frequencies of a Russian Faith No More. The passion in Makazaria’s vocals hits all levels, sure to take the roof or tent down depending on your residence. Do yourself a favour and check out the back catalogue of this incredible masters of everything from ska punk, metal and alternative rock, as you won’t be disappointed.