Опричь (Oprich) is a Russian pagan metal band from Rybinsk, formed back in 1998. Its founding members were in the hardcore band Kontra and they continued using this name in Опричь’s first steps. After the completion of their line-up and their new folk pagan oriented concept, they decided to change their name. Their first release was a split album with Kroda in 2005, followed by another split with Чур (Chur) in 2008. Finally in 2010 their debut full-length album “Север Вольный” was out via Casus Belli Musica, their current label that also released their 3-way split “Триединство” with Чур and Piarevaracien. In the end of January 2013 Опричь released their second full-length album “Небо Без Птиц” again via Casus Belli Musica.
One think is certain, Опричь have a very different sound than most bands of the genre. Maybe it’s their hardcore past that gives them this distinct sound… On the other hand though, I don’t listen to any “obvious” hardcore elements in their music. Anyway “Небо Без Птиц” contains 7 songs with a total duration of almost 40 minutes. Their music is based on the contradiction between rhythmic “dry” guitars and melodic traditional instruments. They have a very natural sound, using many flutes and acoustic guitars, as well as some other authentic instruments totally unknown to me, like svirel, zhaleika and gusli! In my opinion though, what really separates them is the characteristic deep clean male vocals of Pan, something like their trademark. I can’t say he is the best singer around, but his voice is very emotional, expressing the sadness, melancholy and sorrow of their lyrics, keeping at the same time a “hint” of hope and optimism… They also use brutal growling vocals (fewer though) sang by Yaromir, adding more to the variety and expression of their music. Their compositions are very interesting and each song has something different to tell. Most songs move in mid tempo, but there are also faster parts, or songs with a slower folk doom approach, many acoustic parts and above all beautiful folk orchestrations. All of their lyrics are in Russian, dedicated to nature and pagan themes.
“Небо Без Птиц” is a very interesting album for fans of Slavic pagan folk metal. Опричь have a very different and personal style, something quite rare and really appreciated in this overcrowded genre. The album is released by Casus Belli Musica in a limited to 500 copies digipak edition with 16-page booklet designed by Ognetsvet Art Studio, containing all lyrics and their English translations, printed with silver letters on the deep blue colored pages. You can visit their official pages for more info and music samples.