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Staya - Land of ice 2.5/5

Reviewed: 3-30-07


1. The war
2. As Iíll say
3. Gray water
4. The pack
5. Angel
6. The milky bridge
7. To jump into the void
8. Crusader
9. Don't forget my grief
10. Pharaoh
11. Land of ice

Staya is a new band from Belarus and their full-length debut 'Land of ice' is a Russian-language CD. As usual, I have listed both the CD title and tracklist as translated, but this was a difficult task; believe it or not, I had to have a buddy (from Russia) provide the translation for me, as I couldn't find any information on this debut at all. Song samples, reviews and general information was nowhere to be found. In fact, I purchased the CD based simply on the cover artwork (something I rarely do), and the fact that I've been really into Russian-language bands lately.

Staya play fairly basic heavy metal in line with Aria, Natisk and Kipelov, but those great Russian melodies, especially regarding Aria, are quite absent here. Instead, Staya rely on heavy riffs/rhythms that recall standard 80s mid-paced heavy metal, with very little speed. Nothing wrong with this at all, but unfortunately, the songs are not very catchy. Besides track 2 "As Iíll say" (the best song on the CD), and possibly the opener "The war" and track 10 "Pharaoh", the songs are decent to good, but nothing more.

In addition, the CD is hampered by too many slow songs. I count 4: track 3 "Gray water", track 6 "The milky bridge", track 9 "Don't forget my grief" and the final track "Land of ice". I actually like the closer ("Land of ice"), as it's an interesting slow/atmosperic instrumental that emanates a cold and wintery feeling, just like the title of the CD (and this song) suggests. But the other 3 slow songs are not very good, lacking greatly in memorability. So even though the band's heavier songs are unspectacular, they remain better than the majority of the slow songs, which take up about 1/3 of the CD.

Despite my negative words for 'Land of ice', know that this is not an unlistenable CD at all. It's decent with some flashes of goodness, but what's heard from Natisk, Aria and Kipelov is definitely better. I even like the unpopular Sangara debut ('Symphony of evil') more than this. Still, this isn't the style of metal that I consider to be my favorite, so perhaps some of you may like this debut a bit more.




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