Hair Metalski
June 23, 2009 9:24 PM   Subscribe

70s/80s Soviet album covers. Until today, I had no idea Soviet hair metal existed. Prepare for keytars, mall hair and proof that 80s cheese was not solely a product of degenerate kepitalist decadence.
posted by DecemberBoy (54 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is all kinds of awesome!
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:34 PM on June 23, 2009


Open your sesame. Indeed.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:36 PM on June 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


This warms my ice cold heart.
posted by item at 9:40 PM on June 23, 2009


In Soviet Russia, albums cov.... oh.. yeah.

This is awesome.
Anyone remember the band "Autograf" playing at Live Aid? I think that did wonders to counter the standard image of Russkie that had been implanted in my impressionable brain.
posted by not_on_display at 9:40 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've listened to at least five of those bands, and they're actually pretty good. Might be an acquired taste, though.

But there are few countries in the world where hair metal has more enduring popularity. As the Exile pointed out a few years back, Russia is the only country where Nazareth can still pack stadiums.
posted by nasreddin at 9:46 PM on June 23, 2009


Oh allright, I'll do it, but only because one of the album covers does it:

In Soviet Russia, stars congratulate YOU!

if by congratulate you mean spurt out of the inexplicable hose of a space goat
posted by fleetmouse at 9:48 PM on June 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


Ha. This one is exactly the cover of The Game by Queen, only with Russian dudes.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:50 PM on June 23, 2009


What do you play?
The collie.
posted by goatdog at 9:51 PM on June 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


So, the covers are just as lame as American pop covers from the 80s, except the Russians have uneven-eyes and mustaches. We're not so different after all!
posted by wfrgms at 9:52 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


By the way, those tantalizingly 80s looking electro albums are available here, and some of the tunes are pretty good if you like retro minimal analog beats. I love the notes on the back cover that try to rationalize the existence of this music as a people's triumph of the health of rhythmic exercise.
posted by fleetmouse at 9:54 PM on June 23, 2009 [8 favorites]


He's got his own band in Moscow. It's called "Fuck Your Yankee Bluejeans" or something like that.

somebody had to do it.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:54 PM on June 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, and the singing-in-English thing is totally true. I have a punk album from the mid-'90s--despite knowing both languages I have NO IDEA what they're saying, but it's a recognizable attempt at English.
posted by nasreddin at 9:59 PM on June 23, 2009


What do you play?
The collie.


The guy on the left's favorite Beatles song is "Dig A Pony."
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:59 PM on June 23, 2009


I was going to make a comparison with pics on the Swedish dance bands page but it's gone. Damn you, Yemii and lazy-ass archive.org!
posted by crapmatic at 10:23 PM on June 23, 2009


Ah, good times..
posted by rainy at 10:33 PM on June 23, 2009


this one is just plain fuckin' cool
posted by pyramid termite at 10:41 PM on June 23, 2009


These are great! I don't know most of them but I used to know and then forgot about Zoopark and Nautilus Pompilius. Vysotski, Kino, and Nautilius Pompilious don't seem to fit, maybe because I hear them still.

/listened to the ACCA and Брат soundtracks too much
posted by small_ruminant at 10:43 PM on June 23, 2009


There was even a Russian Christian hair metal band.
posted by eustacescrubb at 10:47 PM on June 23, 2009


All the infamous Swedish dance band photos are still available here. I think this is where they originated, the site crapmatic linked definitely isn't, though. They've been reposted in a bunch of places. The greatness of Gert Jonnys cannot be denied or contained. Gert Jonnys is actually still around, or was as recently as a few years ago, although the titular Gert Jonny left the band and they changed their name to "Freddy's".
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:49 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Soviet Beatles had two Pauls -- and they were JOINED AT THE HEAD.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:03 PM on June 23, 2009


My love for you is like a truck.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:19 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Those are awesome!
Yet the combination of the "singing-in-English thing" and the Swedish Dance Band Page made me think sadly of my hometown hero - the Elvis impersonator known as Eilert Pilarm. You haven't danced for real in a Swedish folkpark (where the dance bands usually play) until you have attempted to dance to Eilert singing Jailhouse Rock...
posted by gemmy at 11:34 PM on June 23, 2009


Cyrillic was totally made for heavy metal typefaces. Or vice versa.
posted by rokusan at 11:38 PM on June 23, 2009


the "singing-in-English thing"

See also Japanese pop music.
posted by rokusan at 11:38 PM on June 23, 2009


I think I read somewhere that Queen, of all bands, is generally hailed in Russia as a group of musical legends on par with the Beatles. If that's true, these albums' existence makes a lot more sense. Does anyone here know if it is?
posted by decagon at 11:45 PM on June 23, 2009


I'm curious about the constructivist cover...was it lazy, homage, irony, fresh, or?

God, I love constructivism.
posted by maxwelton at 12:10 AM on June 24, 2009


I think I read somewhere that Queen, of all bands, is generally hailed in Russia as a group of musical legends on par with the Beatles. If that's true, these albums' existence makes a lot more sense. Does anyone here know if it is?

Yeah, Queen does get a lot of love, but the Beatles are like the One True Band. Russia is stuck in a weird musical time-warp, I guess.

this one is just plain fuckin' cool


The band's name is "Korroziya Metalla," i.e. "Corrosion of Metal." How much more metal can you get? (Also, the gravestone says "Hannibal," but in Russian the Carthaginian general's name is spelled Ганнибал, not Ханнибал...I have no idea why they would spell it that way. Maybe they're talking about Hannibal Lecter?)
posted by nasreddin at 12:21 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ha. This one is exactly the cover of The Game by Queen, only with Russian dudes.
Actually it reminds me more of Get the Knack.

I think I read somewhere that Queen, of all bands, is generally hailed in Russia as a group of musical legends on par with the Beatles. If that's true, these albums' existence makes a lot more sense. Does anyone here know if it is?
Queen was very popular behind the Iron Curtain; when they played the Nepstadion in Budapest in 1986 all 80,000 tickets sold out well in advance.

Speaking of Russkie rock, anyone remember Gorky Park?
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:51 AM on June 24, 2009


nasreddin: it looks like it's 'cannibal' printed there, with a K, and part of K is chipped away.

decagon: Queen was pretty big in early 90s, not sure about now. ABBA and for some reason Boney M were also really big, and Chris De Burgh. Many famous (in the West) bands were very little known (if at all), bands like the Doors, Dylan, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Kiss; but Pink Floyd was well known and loved.
posted by rainy at 2:14 AM on June 24, 2009


Among all the terrible-looking bands and poorly designed covers lies one that I think both looks good and has great music - Kino's Gruppa Krovi.

cover - title track

A great, slightly gothy 80s tune. Oh look: Previously!
posted by thedaniel at 2:25 AM on June 24, 2009


Korroziya Metalla are mentioned in Lords of Chaos, the book about Satanic black metal bands. Apparently they were still around quite recently (if not now), and are involved in neo-fascist circles.

Their name also appeared in 2002 in a spam email advertising an ambulance-themed porn site (SFW). The subject line was "Mortal Dance in Machine Ambulance"
posted by acb at 2:42 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think I read somewhere that Queen, of all bands, is generally hailed in Russia as a group of musical legends on par with the Beatles.

I don't know why you find this especially surprising. Queen were huge in much of the world through a large chunk of the 70s and 80s.
posted by rodgerd at 3:28 AM on June 24, 2009


Until today, I had no idea Soviet hair metal existed.

Olaf, "Berserker!" Girls think sexy!
posted by armage at 3:55 AM on June 24, 2009


damn you drjimmy11
posted by armage at 3:57 AM on June 24, 2009


A post reading "The album covers and music are more authentic, genuine, and real than sanitized, corporate American rock albums" in three ... two ... one ...

Anyhow, it's neat seeing funky 1970s and 1980s Cyrillic typefaces. Russian is a language you never expect to see written in a pink bubbly font.
posted by elmwood at 4:37 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


земляне трава у дома
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:39 AM on June 24, 2009


Does this explain why mullets are still so wildly popular in Russia and eastern Europe?
posted by dunkadunc at 4:42 AM on June 24, 2009


I dunno. If you're going by the name "Prince of Silence, wouldn't that make you the least successful hair metal band ever?

Overall awesome! This is why you collect vinyl.
posted by Go Banana at 4:53 AM on June 24, 2009


So maybe can answer this one for me. I've never been able to figure out how day-to-day communism in the Soviet Union worked.

After a long day of stamping out borscht pots at the local tin works for the glory of the proletariat, wouldn't you be a little ticked off to see that somehow the state has seen fit to give this douchebag a motorcycle and a record deal? Wouldn't everyone who could carry a tune be demanding the same? Or at least be demanding motorcycles, since pot-stampers are as valuable to the motherland as pop singers?

I mean, yeah, we capitalists have our "Money for Nothing" moments, but I'd imagine it would be worse if you could point a finger at the single entity you knew was responsible, especially since that entity was supposed to be working on your behalf.

I guess the state could just enforce its will with a simple, "Make your pot or we'll arrest you," but I'm really hoping they had a more clever solution.
posted by Garak at 5:17 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


In defense of the rock from behind the Iron Curtain, I feel compelled to point out the recent collection Well Hung: 20 Funk-Rock Eruptions From Beneath Communist Hungary, which just got released domestically in the States and has pretty much been on repeat since the day I bought it. It's full of amazing funky, psychedelic and heavy, heavy tunes from the late 60s to mid 70s. I dare you to listen to these two samples and not feel the awesome.
posted by mediareport at 5:29 AM on June 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


земляне трава у дома

Marisa what is that and why is it kind of good?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:46 AM on June 24, 2009


Russian is a language you never expect to see written in a pink bubbly font.

That font is straight out of the milk bar in A Clockwork Orange.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:47 AM on June 24, 2009


I didn't know that Harold Ramis was a pop star in Russia. Good for him.
posted by NoMich at 6:24 AM on June 24, 2009


"kepitalist" is my new favorite word.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:09 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


New Kids on the Soviet Bloc ?
posted by buzzbash at 7:09 AM on June 24, 2009


for some reason Boney M were also really big

it was because of Rasputin, Russia's greatest love machine.
posted by Jon_Evil at 7:27 AM on June 24, 2009


And for the other side of this coin, check out The Kremlin, a Canadian band who use soviet themes in their music and describe their sound as "serf rock."

Get it? Serf rock? Ha!
posted by Brodiggitty at 8:20 AM on June 24, 2009


So maybe can answer this one for me. I've never been able to figure out how day-to-day communism in the Soviet Union worked.

After a long day of stamping out borscht pots at the local tin works for the glory of the proletariat, wouldn't you be a little ticked off to see that somehow the state has seen fit to give this douchebag a motorcycle and a record deal? Wouldn't everyone who could carry a tune be demanding the same? Or at least be demanding motorcycles, since pot-stampers are as valuable to the motherland as pop singers?

I mean, yeah, we capitalists have our "Money for Nothing " moments, but I'd imagine it would be worse if you could point a finger at the single entity you knew was responsible, especially since that entity was supposed to be working on your behalf.

I guess the state could just enforce its will with a simple, "Make your pot or we'll arrest you," but I'm really hoping they had a more clever solution.


No one in the USSR thought of "The State" as a unitary, single entity. The political and economic system was such a hodgepodge of conflicting interests, corruption, parallel institutions, and so on, that any given thing that took place was the responsibility of an individual and not of the whole apparatus. The system was also so inegalitarian that random douchebags getting record deals was par for the course. (The assumption would typically be that it was the son of some Party official somewhere or something.) Also, pretty much nobody believed in Soviet communism after 1970 or so.

(Musicians, unless they were incredibly popular, did not have the decadent kepitalist doing-coke-and-throwing-televisions kind of lifestyle, either.)
posted by nasreddin at 9:17 AM on June 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Holy cow...I've actually got this aerobics record! I've never been able to track down any information about it, but believe it or not, it's great '80s funk and disco, with some ambient parts as well. Quite a bit of it sounds like Daft Punk, well ahead of its time.

Great post!
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:15 AM on June 24, 2009


Marisa what is that and why is it kind of good?

That's земляне (Zemlyane, "Earthlings") doing their song, The Grass of Home. It's a favorite of mine that I heard first on an episode of Nu, Pogodi. The singer, Sergei Skachkov, is still recording.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:25 AM on June 24, 2009


maxwelton: If you meant this one, then that's Kino, probably the biggest Russian rock group of the 1980's. As to the constructivist cover, then it could have been either homage, irony, or both. It was probably also quite fresh, for constructivism had only recently been un-stigmatized.
posted by daniel_charms at 10:55 AM on June 24, 2009


My sister studied in Russia a couple of times in the 1980s (and has two of these albums, though she says most are absolutely horrid music.) She recommends these two clips from an 80s punk band called Grazhdanskaya Oborona ("civil defense").
posted by msalt at 3:26 PM on June 24, 2009


@Nasreddin: Thanks!
posted by Garak at 4:47 PM on June 24, 2009


3 more from sis: 80s Goth band Doornoye Vliania (which means Bad Influence):

YT1 -- YT2 -- 2008 reunion show
posted by msalt at 5:30 PM on June 24, 2009


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