: Aybat Hallar
: Something Nice CD
: 23 , 2012

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OSK Records.

1. Half Alive
2. Cat Food For Cheshire Grin
3. Strike Back
4. Your Flag
5. Worth The Wait
7. Some Rocks Are Too Heavy
8. Everything's Going According To Plan
9. $ 1 000 000
10. Goblin King
11. Doomsday At The Dirty 'O
12. Fist
13. Fuck The People
14. Something Nice

Ox-Fanzine #104
     So viel Exotenbonus gibt es hier nicht alle Tage, also fange ich mal ganz von vorne an. AYBAT HALLAR (heißt soviel wie Alles ist gut auf Tartarisch) ist eine russische Band aus der Provinz Bashkortostan. Die liegt im außersten Zipfel Europas, kurz vorm Ural, nicht gerade eine Gegend, die als subkultureller Hot Spot bekannt ist und somit also ganz, ganz weit weg von der allgemeinen Punkrock-Wahrnehmung. Aber warum nicht, Bands wie A.H. beweisen ja nur, dass Punk mittlerweile auch in den entferntesten Zipfeln der Welt angekommen ist. Musikalisch ist man dabei gar nicht mal so hinterwaldlerisch unterwegs, sondern fahrt einen sauber produzierten Punk-Sound auf, der gern mal mit herkommlichen Dicke-Hose-Rock/Metal-Elementen aufgepimpt wird. Leider klingt der Sanger (laut Info ein Amerikaner, was den wohl in den Ural verschlagen hat?) gern mal etwas gequalt und so wirkt die ganze Wut, die er so in seinen Songs an den Tag legt, oft etwas aufgesetzt. Trotzdem ein ganz interessantes Scheibchen, auch wegen des hubschen Splatter-Comic-Artworks. (7)

Gary Flanell

Razorcake #69
     This is brilliant in that each song is incrementally worse than the one before. The first and best, Half Alive, is a rocking number about zombie sex featuring some bizarre demon-possessed vocals. The next couple can accurately be described as good. Then the tunes dip into acceptable range before plunging into cracking vocals, out-of-sync instruments, ballads about being a superhero and going back in time to win over an ex-lover, and choruses of Fuck the people. If you can make it to the last song, the inappropriately titled Something Nice, in which the band seems unaware of the difference between vampires and zombies and throws in a weird bouncy pseudo ska rhythm to accompany endless repetitions of the Youre so young and fresh chorusand youre not undead yourself; you have passed one hell of an endurance test.

MP Johnson

     The Russian/American punk collective Aybat Hallar is back again with a sophomore album, this time at a reasonably sized 14 tracks instead of the mammoth 25 track debut album that they released two years ago. "Something Nice", as the record is called, also sees the band shift away from aping NOFX and their clone bands Nicotine / Hit The Switch and in towards a more standard uptempo punk rock sound. Sure, they still sound snotty and do integrate a little 'roll in their guitars, but for the most part, "Something Nice" owns a fairly standard 'clean' punk rock sound.
     Now, the previous record's problem was that there were way too many songs so the quality suffered and the record felt inconsistent. Here, the problem still persists, but perhaps more annoyingly, the band's tracking is awful. Normally you would start off your record with a couple of your best songs to woo the listener in, but here the first two tracks are extremely boring. I hate to be so blunt, but they are generic punk rock that lack all the elements that normally make punk rock songs catchy. Luckily, after a slow start, the band starts getting into gear on "Strike Back", which has some catchy woo-hoo lyrics attached to it, and by fourth track "Doomsday At The Dirty O" the riffs start providing some awesome melodic backing to the sloppy vocals that at this point sound kind of charming.
     But just as things get going, Aybat Hallar rescind back to the generic stuff on "Worth The Wait", a skippable track, that leads straight into a nonsensical, full-blast hardcore track that doesn't make any sense in relation with the rest of the record. Ironically, it has so much energy and urgency that I'm almost inclined to suggest Aybat Hallar should consider starting a hardcore side project instead. I say almost, because the second half of the album begins straight afterwards, and it is here Aybat Hallar have placed their best material. " Some Rocks Are Too Heavy" is a fun sing-along type of song with Millencolin references, followed by a technical skate punk track "Everything Is Going According To Plan", and the highlight track of the album, "$1 000 000", which is easily the catchiest song this band has written to date. It's a little more low-key and turns down the tempo somewhat, but it's awesome nonetheless.
     Now I could go on and on like this, but the issues "Something Nice" has are clear: consistency, consistency, consistency. For every good track there's one that I feel like skipping, so it's hard to justify a higher rating even if I like a few tracks on the record quite a bit. Cut it down to 7-8 songs, release as an EP, and there we go.

Download: $1 000 000, Some Rocks Are Too Heavy.
For the fans of: stereotypical punk rock.


     What can we tell you about Aybat Hallar? Theyre Russian, they list Bad Religion, Tom Waits and Slade in their influences and they seem to have a bit of a zombie fixation as most of their artwork is 80s skate-punk influenced cartoons of dead and/or dying things. They REALLY like feedback. They all have identical tattoos on a breast, although its not clear whether they all share this breast and who owns it. Oh and incidentally theyre pretty good.
     Their absolutely mind-bendingly bizarre mixture of influences is evident throughout their music as rumbling Rancid bass lines snake underneath Arctic Monkeys lead guitar lines before a drum fill segues into an Iron Maiden riff assault on Strike Back. Theres a similarity to Millencolin and Guana Apes in parts that might just stem from the foreign twinge on the English vocals, but Aybat Hallar are actually at their best when singing in Russian and going completely balls out on the completely unpronounceable but suitably unstoppable , which is an absolute juggernaut assault on the senses.
     Mostly they pull this insanity together and make it work, though there are some clangers on this album; emulating US skate punk on Doomsday At The Dirty O falls very short of the mark with its oddly out of place references to American culture and trips to the mall, although top marks are awarded for an excellent Sick Of It All impression on Everything Is Going According To Plan.
     Something Nice is an interesting example of how punk has travelled the globe, and at its worst does a solid job of standing up next to its US contemporaries. At its better moments its a promising look at emerging talent from the Eastern alternative scene, which is really starting to find its feet with some bands with real potential.