You can always rely on Finland’s Inverse Records to bring you the most unique shades of heavy metal. Мужчины в металле (Men In Metal) are a Russian power metal band from Yekaterinburg. You never know what to expect from Russia and these guys certainly offer something new. A retro rock band at their core, they kick off Let The Soul Spread Its Wings with a song that owes as much to The Wanted as it does to Kiss. The ‘Lyrical Drinking Song’ mixes The Gossip with The Bloodhound Gang and throws in a Chumbawamba-esque terrace chant. It destroys any expectations of the album, displaying an unexpected openness and playfulness. It’s an attitude that Men In Metal wear proudly.
‘Only The Wind’ and ‘Dawn Ahead’ are more typical compositions. Lead guitars and heavy lead bass guitars hark back to Gary Moore-era Thin Lizzy, while the galloping kick drums and crisp production give the older elements a modern feel. There’s a noticeable whiff of cheese but it bubbles under more often than it breaks the surface. Power ballad, ‘The Same Way’, is a rare moment where the whole thing collapses into a fondue. ‘Secrets Of The North’ comes to the rescue with a thrash metal intensity and a chorus reminiscent of ‘Out In The Fields’.
The urgent riffing of ‘The Time Has Come’ has echoes of Randy Rhoads. It’s ‘80s rocktastic; so ‘80s that there is even a bass solo. Let The Soul Spread Its Wings manages to capture the joyous spirit of classic commercial rock without a hint of irony or condescension. The cover is painted in classic Russian metal style but is dominated by a cartoonish bat (out of hell) carrying a ukulele in its paws.
Because Yuriy Sakhnov sings entirely in his native tongue, it’s hard to gauge the tone of some of the music but it’s refreshing to hear Russian lyrics and it allows the listener freedom of interpretation. I’d much rather listen to something done well in a language I don’t understand than hear a half-arsed attempt at translation into English. The mix of funk, folk, and shoutalong pop choruses make this one of 2018’s more interesting, and most fun, metal releases.