Volnaya Staya – Staya – 3/5
Another Heavy metal band for your enjoyment, this one is a bit special. Not only do they have a female vocalist, but in fact an all female line up. Both guitarists, the bassist, and the drummer are all female. However, I wanted to show how well females could work in a male dominated genre, and I had to carefully consider this.
Everything they’ve done is a throwback to the classics. They haven’t tried to steer their own path, and excluding the Russian vocals, succeed in create a sound reminiscent of the classics, whilst lacking perhaps the individuality each of them had. But then everything comes off as not being particularly good. The riffs are basic, the solo’s are good but nothing special. The bassist is barely audible in the mix, and the drumming, often painfully simplistic, whilst easily heard adds little to the end result.
Even the vocals fail to add something particularly good to this, often sounding a little lack-lustre, though considering the usually sharpness heard with the Russian accent, it’s incredibly smooth. And I can hear this, and I can tell this should result in a below average album, yet oddly I find this turning into a guilty pleasure, as I become more addicted to the riffs and the tones they create.
The presence of the all-female line-up seems to have one major advantage in this case – every track recorded gives an aura of ‘fun.’ In particular the title track displays beyond any doubt that they have fun with the recording, indescribably addictive, upbeat, they clearly not only love their classic saxon and priest tones, but love playing in the style they’ve created. This is particularly evident in their main track, “Staya,” displaying their love for their genre in the video made for it like no other. Found here, you find a B-movie horror video filled with seductive leather bound maidens high kicking and headbanging their way through the track, which you just can’t help but smile to.
Paying homage to the slower melodic side of the genre as well as this more upbeat side, they aren’t a one note band. Ordinarily, this would be enough to sustain repeated playing, but more often than not I find myself reaching for those few favourite tracks, the ones that perhaps sound more ‘fun,’ or less like a cover song, and as a whole begins to break apart.
This is an album I should by all rights dislike, shrug off and toss onto the pile of sub-par metal, but something keeps drawing me back to it. They do nothing original, nothing new, but if you’re missing on some old school classic heavy metal, these are still playing the old way, and having a fun whilst their at it. This isn’t just another metal album, this is a slice of your favourite flavour of pie, not quite the same way grandma used to make it but still pretty damn tasty (and I’m not just referring to the drummer there. Rawr).
Highlights: Staya, Russkaja Ruletka, Smotri Mne V Glaza
By T. Bawden