In the fourth of our series of exclusive MetalTalk interviews with bands from the Russian Federation, we talk to Montezuma's Revenge about their history, their plans for 2013, and what really makes this band unique.
The unusually named Montezuma's Revenge are three friends based in Moscow who by their own admission, "were brought together by a cause of random events somewhere in mid 2000s."
As they explained to me, the genesis of the band was when drummer Vladimir Yurchenko and bass player Yury Kalyaamm were actually part of a Ska band, whilst vocalist Ilya Boots was a member of a funk band and feeling that was type of music didn't really hold much interest for him.
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After an initial meeting and the discussion that a Metal band would be much more enjoyable for all concerned, they "started to work on heavier music and picked our current name because it sounded hostile and meant something viciously unpleasant". From that point on, everything in the band seemed to fall into place, and so the writing process began. As they are first to admit, though, their writing sessions were "not much different from a gazillion bands on our musically overcrowded planet: Ilya and Yury brought in the riffs, which are then arranged by the whole band, with all our lyrics were being written by Ilya".
"We found ourselves a practice room inside the walls of the Moscow Institute Of Chemical Physics, and at this point", they explain, "as we started to experiment more on our music as a group, things developed at a pretty slow at first despite the true scientific feel of the creative area that we were writing in, although thinking back now, this is probably due to the fact we didn't have to pay for practice time at the Institute!".
The band left the Institute in 2008, but continued writing the kind of material they all felt was right for the band and eventually went into the studio in early 2011 to begin the recording of their debut album, which would eventually be named "Key to the Abyss". As the band explain to me, "The album was recorded in Electrostal ("can you get more Metal with a name for a town?", the band joke with me) which is located to the east of Moscow itself, where the studio there, is situated between a nuclear plant on one side, and a forest surrounding the ruins of what used to be a Psycho ward on the other.
The band tell me that "We'd been looking for a place like this to write some tracks about things like a snow apocalypse, dead soviet schoolgirls, stone forests, lakes of blood and a black Golem* whose epic death will mark our great future". The band confirms to me that the "Key to the Abyss" album has not been released yet, but they are hoping to get it released soon. Musically they describe it as "a mixed style metal record. You can certainly hear a good portion of Sludge and Stoner riffs, but also find ingredients of Prog, Hardcore and even some European Doom Metal influences" so it certainly sounds like it will be worth checking it out when it's released online around March/April.
The band are also currently shopping around for a label to release the album around the world with a projected release in late Summer/Autumn. On a final note regarding the upcoming album, it's described by the band as "all real - pieces of our grim and brutal past and present. It's easy to find that sort of inspiration in Russia. Just go outside in winter when it's getting darker and face the zombie apocalypse at its finest!"
Moving onto the local Metal scene in Moscow, I ask the band what they think of it, and what part they play in the scene: "we play lots of gigs in and around Moscow" they explain, "but because we're still a small almost underground band, we've not gone out on tour so far, but we're obviously hoping to in the future, so if any bands are interested in us supporting them, get in touch!"
Talking about the type of bands that they usually play on the bill with, they explain that "due to our musical style, it's usually the Sludge/Stoner crowds that give us the best reception when we play, and the kind of venues we play are obviously quite small, holding maybe a couple of hundred people at the most, but it's good fun for us, and hopefully the other bands and the audience too!"
"Don't get us wrong", they continue, "we like to play for different types of crowds, not just Stoner Metal ones, for example, in 2011, we were the only opening act for Mastodon at their gig in Moscow – a definite highlight of that year giving us all a good boost."
Getting near to the end of our conversation, it's always fun to ask a band about their favourite artists and influences, but Montezuma's Revenge are giving nothing much away by telling me straight that "It's a tough question with the heroes - we all got different ones!" but they are more comfortable to tell me some of their musical influences and favourite tracks citing 'Jezebel' by Acid Bath, Celtic Frost's 2006 track 'A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh', 'The Seed' by Down and the 2001 track 'Killfornia (Ed Kemper)' by Church of Misery – a varied musical selection indeed, and helps in some way to explain the varied outlook of the band themselves.
*Oh and for those who don't know and are still wondering, a Golem is an animated anthropomorphic being, created entirely from inanimate matter!
You can watch the official video for 'Dead Frost' here:
You can stream the title track 'Key To The Abyss' here:
Montezuma's Revenge are:
Ilya Boots – Guitar/Vocals
Yura Kalyaamm – Bass Guitar
Vladimir Yurchenko – Drums