Recently I’ve developed a newfound appreciation for thrash metal. I never used to dig it, but somewhere in the last few years, something must have clicked. However, the sub-genre of crossover thrash was still foggy to me, which made me hesitant to review it. But the combo of the ridiculously cool name Siberian Meat Grinder and title Metal Bear Stomp were too much to resist. Topping that with an equally ridiculous album cover, with a 60 foot bear dressed in bullet chains and a cape stomping his soldier boots into a panicking mob, I felt it was my sworn duty to brush up on my crossover and expose the masses to the Russian quintet. Now if only the music follows suit…

The defining characteristic of SMG is the vocals. About half of them consist of Agnostic Front gang vocals, the catchy choruses in particular. They invite shouting and stomping along, which should make it a particularly popular feature in concerts. Whipping the crowd further into a frenzy is the masked Vladimir the Grand Tormentor (possibly a stage name.) His acidic rapid-fire lyrics are spat with a clear hip-hop influence, following in Biohazard’s footprints. As such, it’s fairer to judge him on terms of rap than singing, and his flow is excellent, striking a perfect parallel to the pace of the percussion while keeping a raspy, biting and suitably aggressive tone. The two styles work best when they combine and exchange rapidly, as demonstrated by “No Way Back,” where the gang vocals punctuate Vladimir’s spit-flecked tirade.

In terms of instrumentation and songwriting, Bear Stomp keeps up with (my brief study of) the genre overall: loud and fast, but with little complexity to speak of. The tracks are structurally simple, verses and choruses with a bridge or solo inbetween. The guitars consist of high-speed chugging, basic thrash riffs, and brief but blistering solos that are shred with perfect control. The drums hit hard and fast, and the pace rarely drops below scorching. This does cause problems for the variety, and indeed, most of the tracks sound more or less the same. Mid-paced interlude “Enter Bearface” and the unexpected power metal influences in “Eternal Crusade” attempt to remedy this, but only partially succeed. The choruses are actually fairly catchy, and these create more variety than the tracks mentioned above, being the most distinctive features. The title track is a good example; although the chorus isn’t quite up to snuff on the grit and stomp, the gang choir vocal lines have a good hook that make it recognizable.

The production holds few surprises. Vocals take the front of the stage, and the bass would benefit from a little more oomph, but overall the mix is solid and well-considered. The drums are heavy on the snares, which accentuates the frenzied pace, but leaves the bottom-end a little dry when coupled with the undersold bass. The fairly loud master is similarly expected, but it suits the adrenaline-pumping ride. If anything, the sound could have used more grit: the guitar tone is smoother than the raspy raps of Vladimir or the rambunctious hooligan choir seem to evoke. These aren’t major complaints, but it’s little touches like these that could have elevated a good album to a better one.

Siberian Meat Grinder have their eyes set on one goal: bashing the listener into a bloody pulp with baseball bats straight to the ears. Minor flaws take away a blow or two, but in the flurry they don’t get a chance to really drag the album down. Metal Bear Stomp has a bad attitude and no time for prisoners. If all Russians are this angry, I don’t think I’d be quick to walk the streets there, but I have no problem blasting their hip-hop infused crossover to get a sample of the potential brain damage. This genre newbie certainly could have had a worse entree.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Self-released
Websites: siberianmeatgrinder.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/siberianmeatgrinder
Releases Worldwide: October 13th, 2017

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  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    In former Soviet Union, Siberian meat grind YOU

    • manimal

      In former Soviet Union, receptacle brutalises YOU ^_^

  • John Mosley

    I hear their next album will incorporate symphonic elements. The Trans-Siberian Meat Grinder Orchestra.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    For a second there, I thought the guy in the photo was wearing an AMG jacket.

  • herrschobel

    approved !

  • Yummy! I followed their bandcamp now. Then, you remind me that Agnostic Front’s Cause For Alarm and other crossover albums, D.R.I.’s Crossover for example, are underrated in these years we are enjoying crossover revival bands.

  • thornh

    Maybe if the album sells enough they can afford the rest of the Vader mask…

    • Matt slatz

      And if it really sells good,. A concert shirt for the guy on the right

  • Daniribalbert

    Dat artwork.

  • HeavyMetalHamster
  • Jon Hartley

    This is alright with me. I’ll be interested to hear the rest of the album.

    Not sure why dude stole MF Doom’s mask, though.

  • Fabio Danieli

    Mask… mask ACNE? if not… good Odin!
    This ALBUM Kick some major asses!

  • The Unicorn
  • thornh
    • Nukenado

      Overtones and undertones. Nice.

  • Space Bear

    Album Cover of the year

  • AnnieK13

    I should hate this but…I kind of don’t, in fact I enjoyed the embedded track.

  • Jack Outjers

    Thought it said ‘Siberian meets Grinder’. Siberian is awesome.

  • DrChocolate

    I’m so confused. Everything about this – the mask, the kitschy name, the ridiculous cover, the hip-hop cadence, etc. – I mean, literally everything about this, says it should be terrible. On it’s surface, I’d swear it’s some never-was Roadrunner artist’s debut release from ’99. I should hate this with a passion.

    But … I don’t.

    I actually, sort of, love it. I’ve been listening to SMG YouTube vids all day. I don’t know who I am anymore

    … and now I know who Moscow Death Brigade is too. Why can’t I turn this stuff off… ?

    • Alex Sedunov

      Discovered them about 3 days ago, then saw the review here. Can’t stop listening, although was never into crossover. Something must be done just right :)

  • Nukenado

    Three unicorns in the comment section and plenty of people professing guilt.
    Man, this band really brings out the fun part of people, huh?

    BTW… Those vocals are how rap metal should be done.

  • Solrac Avan

    Siberian Meat Grinder And The Zangief’s Pile Drivers From Mother Russia, now near you!!!

  • Lou Daz

    I am way into the embedded track. Finally, my hardcore itch is scratched.

  • GrumpDumpus
  • Tofu muncher

    I was waiting they started chanting “We are family!” So Suicidal Tendencies, so good…

  • Marshlander

    Russia has improved its game since Gorky Park!
    In case anyone else is after something they’ve done anything in Russian, “Style” is on both Spotify and YouTube. It’s from last year when they had two Vader masks it seems. All I recognised was “Kalashnikov” and “Da! Da!” but that’s all I need to know, really.

  • See their t-shirts. Cro-Mags, NAILS, Wolfbrigade, and Leeway. They are truly crossover, devoted hardcore kids doing thrash metal. Even American “hardcore” kids might not know Leeway today, I think.