Thursday, 15 May 2014

Extreme Thursday: Riverain

No bank holidays this week mean a long slog to Thursday. What better way to make up for the rare five-day May week than to fill it with metal? This week we mix up our extreme metal with, well, a whole bunch of stuff. You'll see.

Riverain are a Russian band started in 2003 by vocalist Anastasia Ligotskaya. A five piece melodeath band, including guitarists Arthur Naumenko and Daniel Seriy, bassist Maxim Efimov and drummer Alexander Horoshevskiy.

Although the band's sound is primarily melodic death metal there are a lot of other styles thrown in, including gothic, electronic and progressive rock. Anastasia's vocal diversity is put to full use, including growls, screams, cleans and even incorporating synths.

Despite being around for over ten years, Riverain haven't really been active in the recording studio. They spent the first six years of their existence gigging and touring, making a name for themselves in their home region around the southern Russian town Anapa, on the coast of the Black Sea.

Their first release of any sort was the 2009 single The Dream. Consisting of two English tracks and the Russian versions of the same, the single very neatly demonstrated everything the band is about. The English versions of the tracks are on Bandcamp.

2010 saw the release of Riverain's first album, Overstepping The Verge. Featuring both the songs on the single, and a whole heap more, the album includes a range of topics and styles. Some tracks, such as Wizard, are closer to pure melodeath and incorporate fantasy themes while others, such as The Dream, are made up of a mix of death growls and synths to produce a not-quite-gothic atmosphere.

While most tracks on Overstepping The Verge are predominantly melodic death metal, some are not. This mirrors the style of bands such as Swallow The Sun or In Mourning, interlacing the different styles rather than combining them together. Madman is a good example, using only clean vocals yet remaining dark and sombre. K-129 takes another departure, entirely instrumental and with overtones of bombastic power metal such as Sabaton.

In 2011 Riverain released Переступая грань..., a Russian language version of Overstepping The Verge, including both the other tracks from The Dream single. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be available anywhere.

After a couple of years, the band have clearly become a little more visible. The European Metal Channel have featured a YouTube video promoting the band's latest EP, Lost. The band have certainly gone to some effort to produce a polished image.

Released in 2013, Lost is a four track collection of new material and covers. It features two new Riverain tracks featuring a male vocalist that, according to the release notes, is guitarist Daniel Seriy.

The third track of the EP is a duet with Michael Rybak of his song Someone Keeps Me Alive, and finally there is a cover of Rage's Paint The Devil On The Wall. Quite an eclectic little mix.

While not having released a great deal, Riverain obviously know what they're up to and are developing their sound at a fair rate of knots. By incorporating so many different styles and expanding their vocal delivery, it'll be interesting to see what they do with the next album. In the meantime, Overstepping The Verge and Lost are available as name-your-price on Bandcamp. Show a little love and appreciation by giving a donation in exchange for a bit of  ethereal melogothic death metal.