I got into more aggressive music in the early 1990s, which was an interesting experience: Labeled both “heavy metal” or “hard rock” synonymously from the outside, those who were into this kind of acoustic entertainment used to have quite some nuanced understandings of sub genres and styles that needed to be kept well separated. Back then, as well, music often was about things such as style, attitude and techniques. We were intrigued listening to bands that “felt” like they were awesome musicians, even though we lacked most musical understanding to figure out whether a guitar player or a drummer really was as skilled as we imagined them to be.

Growing older, things changed. Things changed to a pleasant mindset of not giving a **** on style limitations or superficial attitude matters anymore. Things changed to focus on music, no matter the genre, and its essence: Does it somehow resonate with me? Does it spark emotions, thoughts, anything, or is it just as empty, casual, irrevelant as random pieces of lift music? Going down that rabbit hole does something to you, your listening pleasure while dealing with music, and your playlists. It changes things in a good way, and it makes you discover artists you would have never discovered, like, two decades earlier.

Supruga definitely are one of those bands. One of those I am unsure I would have paid closer attention to in my teenage days. One of those that, right now, I absolutely can’t imagine to be missing from my musical collection. I discovered their self-titled EP quite a while earlier, not even sure how I exactly stumbled across them, and was amazed and lost to their music even while listening to it for the very first time, after making my way through that dense spoken-word intro sequence that slowly kept building up to erupt in “Отец” – just like the whole EP mostly a raw, noisy, high energy ride, with calmer moments.

A continuous play of emotions. An ever-present feeling of gloom and tension. A journey to the darkest depths of your soul. Something that keeps you shiver, something that keeps you wake up from bleak dreams, soaked in cold sweat. Something that serves as a soundtrack to a dark, psychotic mental movie, more intense and challenging than anything David Lynch could have ever made.

And it just grows stronger: A few days ago, the fourpiece from Samara, Russia, released their full-length debut album “Хаос”. To cut things rather short: “Хаос” is everything their first EP already was, and it is more of everything, in every dimension. Deeper. More intense. More focussed and determined, in a certain way, from a songwriting point of view. More harsh. More experimental in some parts, such as the ambient-like end in “Монстры”. More bleak and dark when it comes to general mood of the album. Imagine the step from “Mulholland Drive” to “Inland Empire” when considering David Lynch movies as comparison to get an idea what I mean. On their debut, Supruga kept everything they have proven to know well and made it an even more intense and strong ride. Still, most of the music lives somewhere in between bands such as Neurosis, Oathbreaker or Celeste and adds a lot of custom, very individual paint to it (starting with the Russian lyrics and Ksenias unique vocals).

My skills in even reading Russian text are too limited to get an accurate understanding of what the songs and lyrics are all about, but some of the titles give a vague idea, let images come to mind of people in spiritual and mental isolation in an increasingly complex and confusing world. Beyond being able to come up with what “good” or “better” means, at the very least the intensity of these images is what makes “Хаос”, to me, easily one of the best albums to be released in 2019, even knowing the year’s still rather young. Greatly recommend checking this one out if any of the things I wrote and mentioned here make any sense to you. Like all their releases, this is pay-what-you-want on bandcamp.com, and they’re very much worth supporting.