It’s a shame to witness the unnecessary war and bloodshed that has broken out by Russia against Ukraine as of late. Our hearts go out to the Ukrainian people who are forced to fight or flee against what is undeniably an unjust invasion. Equally, we empathize with the Russian people who have protested against their leader in disagreement of Putin’s decision.
While Metal Has No Borders is not inherently a political platform, we recognize there is strife within Russia and Ukraine, yet shining a light on the talent of the artists from these countries may help bring a sense of optimism and humanity. If anything, this article hopes to bridge the gap between the people of Ukraine and Russia. There is solace in knowing that there are music lovers in all countries, even those in conflict.
Based in Kyiv, Ukraine
I first discovered this group with the release of their captivating single, “Queen Dies,” which eventually was included in what I consider to be a symphonic / melodic / folk death metal masterpiece, The Realms of Fire and Death. Even with such high expectations after the aforementioned record, their commanding momentum continued at a stellar pace for their recent EP split Bestia with fellow Ukrainian act Ersedu.
Ape on the Rocket
Based in Kaliningrad, Russia
With the viral energy of early Dillinger Escape Plan, yet a modernized Born of Osiris-like production and progcore appeal, Ape on the Rocket emerge as a stand-out monument in the vast forest of modern metal. Once given full and justified exposure, this project has potential to explode in today’s scene, given their pummeling earworm qualities in the latest Deacon the Hornet EP.
Based in Lutsk, Ukraine
There’s an indescribable incomparability about Motanka. Their doom-laden tones and Eastern folk instrumentation collide with upbeat grooves and hypnotic vocals, making for a truly special listen. They have only released one album so far, but the self-titled debut packs a punch with riffs that soar over mountains.
Based in Tikhvin, Russia
Black metal’s rigid parameters have slowly crumbled over the years and Ethir Anduin is a perfect example of such. Their aesthetics still bear the cold bleakness of the subgenre’s origins, but the project’s experimental meanderings are evidence that they aren’t afraid to break boundaries. For their recent effort, In the Sunset Fire, a blackened foundation is challenged with the enticing elements of doom, groove, prog, and death metal.
Majesty of Revival
Based in Uzhhorod, Ukraine
While more direct, Majesty of Revival still brings forth similar traits to the likes Porcupine Tree or Symphony X. Their rhythmically tight and significantly subdued experimentation is powerful and capable of serving as a gateway for heavy metal fans to go down the quirky path of prog. I could easily imagine this trio mesmerizing a crowd at a large European festival.
Based in St. Petersburg, Russia
Alike post-metal big-names such as The Ocean or Isis, the four-dimensional weight that evolves through Ninthshaft‘s extra-terrestrial compositions are enthralling. Each moment within 2020’s The Thing or the follow-up single “Mars” is cleverly crafted to build tension and satisfying resolution. I truly hope this act continues because their dynamic musicalities are one-of-a-kind.
Based in Kharkiv, Ukraine
In recent years, a hardcore / mathcore surge has surfaced and 0% Mercury is a notable force riding that wave. While they may bring the same vigor as Knocked Loose, the inclusion of melodic cleans in their Stump EP reveal a pioneering quality. A bruised rib and unwavering smile is guaranteed at their live shows.
Based in Moscow, Russia
Anton Trubin’s decision to transition his one-man melodic death metal project to a four-piece was his best move yet. The expansive, progressive moments boasted during the In My Own Spaceship album earned a high ranking in our favorite releases of 2021 list and is extremely deserving to shake walls live by the new full band. I suggest both old school and modern death metalheads to check out Hyperomm considering the material’s undeniable heavy allure.
Based in Ivano Frankivsk, Ukraine
Earthy, contemplative riffs infect the atmosphere on Nug‘s Dark Mass EP and full-length debut Alter Ego. It’s unclear to classify them as doom, prog, sludge, or post-metal as their sprawling musical pieces explore the gamut successfully. We highly recommend to fans of Neurosis and Pelican.
Based in St. Petersburg, Russia
No one has ever bridged the gap between the triumphant post-rock sensibilities of Explosions in the Sky with the agitated post-metal raw aggression of Alcest, until Trna. They have dropped several masterful LPs that display a keen capability for creating lush, dark instrumental soundscapes. Be sure to take a moment out of your day to get lost in their latest, Istok.
Sterbefall [compelling post-metal from Russia, check out “Verbogene Gras”]
Space of Variations [energetic alternative metalcore from Ukraine, mosh around to “vein.mp3”]
Falsegiver [bangin’ down-tuned deathcore from Russia, crank it to 10 for “нсомния”]
Haissem [vicious one-man black metal from Ukraine, summon demons to “Bleak Heaven Aloft”]
Cold Blooded Murder [nu-deathcore from Russia, enjoy some Slipknot nostalgia in “Prodigal Son”]
Korypheus [seriously fantastic prog from Ukraine, treat yourself to “Icarus”]
Kauan [cinematic and atmospheric post-rock / metal from Russia, drift away with “Kutsu”]