'Living in a Daymare'

(Metalagen/Soyuz records)

MARK: 73/100



Not to be confused with the homonimous Swedish band, Russian Melissa come back to their prime label, releasing their third CD after "In Mourning" for Soyuz and the parenthesis with Matek records with their comeback "In Peace?".
This act is currently composed by 5 stable musicians and 3 guests helping with drums, guitar and violin for an album that appears variegated, maybe too much to me as for the track list choice. It's probably due to the fact that they naturally desire to explore new solutions, walk new paths and not bore listeners but mostly themselves, and I hope not for business reasons although a song like "Re" would make me think so, but let's go with order.

The music starts with "So Loud", opened by an airy intro and slowly turning to a gothic metal anthem; the bass pumps hard, the male vocals are deep and thick and other male ones back up gently, while the chorus sees both of them strong fighting each other in a way Moonspell would feel close to; besides a thrash part the guitars aren't threatening but they embroider a nice solo and then they slow down till the end.
Decidedly debter to Celtic Frost and above all Obituary is "Trepanation", rife with superb granitic riffs and a power metal input stolen from Judas Priest's "Painkiller"; the vocals are raw and low and only occasionally do they become truly death; some slapped bass permits us to expect even more original stuff in the following minutes.
Yet it's time for "RE", a composition fully different from the rest of the contents: a calm arpeggio with soft keyboards in the background, elegant piano notes, acoustic guitars, unstressed bass lines; all of this reminds me of bands like Toto, Dakota, Boston and other Westcoast, Aor, FM/rock, pop bands, especially thanks to the reverberated and delicate vocals.
Then we jump back to the Death/doom canons with vocals in the vein of Autopsy with "Two Weeks a Day"; the break is evil as ever, the solo makes me drool, and then the weird face of Melissa comes out with some odd riffs preceding the Death metal final onslaught.
"Kill for Me" has a groovy onset, afterwards displays a destructive death 'n' roll mid-tempo and an original acceleration; the vocals are angry or effected, there're some acid samples and the riffs are in wah-wah, jazzy or odd a là early Megadeth; to me they sound like an orgy between Ravenous, Scatterbrain and Mr. Bungle.
The bass is the protagonist in "Crack", slapped on soul vocals and a rap/funky metal tissue in the manner of T-Ride but a little heavier; there're also 2 adequate solos while the main guitarist keeps on thrashing; in the end the vocals get closer to Beastie Boys besides the above-mentioned soul/black music refrain. Unusual song for a metal band even if not original.
Fast and aggressive funky metal are the coordinates of "Inside"; the slapped bass and the raging screams render it an incredible song; 2 as short and mad guitar solos, the adrenalinic drums and the riffs give a huge push. One of the highlights of the CD that never makes me tired of relistening to.
More relaxed, "Yes (Call it What You Like)", is based on soul and pop-effected vocals; the funky metal is more groovy and danceable here also by the penetrating keyboards; the bass occupies a prominent position in this song, while the drums prove to be as heavy and crisp as ever; one more time I remember T-Ride and bands such as Sweet Lizard Illtet; there're even 3 axe solos here, by the way.
And then it comes the time for "Simple Things", based on country rock acoustic guitars and an electric violin like "Inside"; it's also an indie rock/metal composition with heavy and more melodic parts; it never becomes bad and it could be the potential single of the 5-piece. The funky matrix pops out at the end of the song along with a quite good arranging; think of Red Hot Chili Peppers jamming with Naked City and Little Angels and you'll get a vague idea what this track is like. In the 80's it might've been a success.
The closure "Landing" is an instrumental made with psychedelic and symphonic keyboards; the bass lies a bit in the background in the mixing of this song as it's necessary; this song gives me the thrills and is the transposition of the sounds you might live during an astral trip, if you know what I mean.

"Living in a Daymare" is no typical record and is indeed rather dispersive yet funny. You'd better give a listen before buying it and you should avoid like a plague if you belong to the category of true metalheads.
The cover is sly and may lead you astray; this is not only a Death metal album and there is not only that, so if you live for Death or extreme metal, you ought to buy Melissa's first record and forget this weird hybrid.