The word rudiment is the only English word to appear anywhere on this album by Northwest Russian outfit Deva Obida. Being a soft Westerner who is unable or unwilling to learn a foreign language it is sometimes difficult to get my head around what an album is all about when I can’t understand the lyrics or get a handle on the meaning of the tracks.
Rudiment somehow manages to break down these barriers due to the ratio of lyrics to instrumental work. The instrumentals far outweigh the vocal content but when the vocals arrive they are intense but melodic. The Russian language does come across as quite harsh to the Western ear and this is no different, sounding dour and often threatening, but in a good way.
To balance this the musicianship is exemplary and has variety in abundance. There are moments of reflection on most tracks, but sitting comfortably alongside on the same tracks come power and intensity.
Creating this excellent album, Deva Obida formed in 1998 and are made up of Pavel Cherkasov on vocals, Evgeniy Gaptrafikov on bass, Vitaly Tselobenok on flutes and bagpipes, Aleksandr Burkov on guitars and vocals, and Artem Bahturin on guitars and vocals.
On their Facebook page, they describe themselves as ‘nature melodic metal’ and while that is hard to comprehend I did find myself nodding in sage agreement. There’s definitely melody, it is certainly metal and where I feel ‘nature’ comes in is the mesmeric way the riffs wash over you and help you drift into the music. This is shown none more so than on the opening track, the instrumental “Deva Zarya”. Whilst being an acoustic track it really sets out the feel of the album to come in the way it sails along, drawing you in, almost trance-like.
From then on it is metal melody with added atmosphere all the way. It is an extremely enjoyable album to get lost in and I can’t do anything but recommend it. Rudiment is out now via Polygon Records.