Грай [Grai] – “О Земле Родной” [“O Zemly Rodnoj” – “About Native Land”] (2011)


Label: Sound Age Production

Review by Luisa Mercier

From Russia with love. Following their most famous country mates, Arkona, Grai play folk metal, maybe a bit more lively than the one proposed by the band fronted by Masha Scream. This is their second album and is opened by “The Song About Native Land”. Even though the titles are in English, the songs are sung in Russian and the effect is very nice. You can hear that there is more than one vocalist; the female vocals are actually delivered by three girls: Irina, Rimma and Alia. The last two are also in charge of keyboards and flute.

These instruments are very present throughout the album, which is more folk than metal, if I had to describe it I’d say that it is very melodic while Arkona is more death-metal oriented. Some growls appear in “Get Up from Your Knees”, but it is just a few seconds. Are you ready to dance? “The Wheaten Song” is the perfect one, blending metal and folk atmosphere with a beautiful flute and keyboards that make yourself want to jump in the room. Much more melancholic is “Winter Tale”, but it is not sad. It is more faerish, it evokes winter snowy landscapes in Russian forests far, far away.  Another dancing song is “Spring”. The title says all: it is the opposite of winter and it is very, very happy. I have to say that til now this album is a positive one, the mood is always cheerful apart from that one song. “Through the Forests” is slightly more metal and is more guitar-driven than the others, even growls appear, but flute appears and makes everything more melodic, again.

“Leshak” is maybe one of the more varied tracks on the album and features for the first time growls on lead vocals. The instrumental bridge is absolutely adorable: flute, pipes and harp. Even an harmonium can be heard while laughs and screams entwine til the end of the song. “Go Away Sorrow” is a nice mid-tempo always spiced up with folk elements. The song put as closing one “Brave Warrior” sums up the characteristics of the others: female vocals, growl, metal moments, more folkish one. I have read somewhere that Grai are the uglier copy of Arkona. I say it is not true. They have their own identity and this record is the evidence.
Really worth listening.

Rating – 80/100



  1. The Song About the Native Land
  2. The Wheaten Song
  3. Winter Tale
  4. Spring
  5. Through the Forests
  6. Leshak
  7. Go Away, Sorrow (Leave Us, Sorrow)
  8. Lament About the Lot
  9. Brave Warrior
  10. Get Up From Your Knees


Line Up

  • Irina Zybina – Vocals
  • Ruzel Ruzveld – Guitar
  • Rimma “Voronia” – Keyboards & Vocals
  • Alia “Leta” Latipova – Flute & Vocals
  • Yuri “Sadist” Bedusenko  – Bass & Growls
  • Andrei Smirnov – Drums


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