In opposition to the traditional devil-horned hand gestures that hover in hordes at many a metal concert, fresh faced Vancouver based setup Kooznetz promote the closed fist hammer as their sign of choice.
If they thought that a rejuvenating hand gesture (which still reminds me of Manowar’s Sign Of The Hammer) would isolate them from the mire of metal cliche, then they were wrong. Although their ideology might seek to pay homage to classic metal favourites like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, that doesn’t mean by any means that they’re simply pale, uninteresting imitators.
With respect to predecessors, Kooznetz also sparsely dash their record with neo-classical guitar influence and include backing keyboards to compliment the existence of their more epic natured sections.
Their name may not be the most inspired – Kooznetz meaning ‘blacksmith’ in Russian, and chosen because it sounds metal, but don’t let that be a deterrent. This is, after all, a refreshing record with some killer songs. Hit The Metal may have the title of the average metal track, but get past that and there’s a pleasurable four-minute listen of gruff vocals, rampant riffs alongside the intricate double pedals on percussion.
There may be a light topping of power metal cheese, but that’s completely fine, especially after hearing the heroic effort Stalingrad which mixes eloquent Malmsteem-esque lead and outrageously mean rhythm. Pair that with a cover of Rasputin and the beautiful Spirit Of The Highway, delivered in Russian with gutsy finesse, representing the eastern European roots of three of the band members.
The fact that most members of Kooznetz are in their early 20′s or younger is very promising for anyone wanting to hear the spine of NWOBHM ripped out and re-installed in a freshly incarnated, new environment. It might be like putting your slippers in the fridge, but nevertheless we can’t wait to see this one grow up.