When I first met Karen Ter-Mesropyan two years ago, I did’t imagine that he will lead me to the underground Metal scene in Moscow. It hasn’t been easy, but from the first guitar lessons he took (and then imparted), the bands he has been part of and the recording studio he runs, he has achieved what most of musicians would like to: being fully dedicated to music as their main source of income. Beyond that, Karen has been able to grow within his self Thrash Metal project, Murderlust, after more than one decade among very talented musicians like Dmitry (guitar), Ruslan (bass) and Serguey (drums).
The National Metal scene
“When I heard some of the modern Thrash Metal bands like The Haunted or HateSphere, I thought ‘Wow, this is cool stuff, I want to play something like that, this is what our scene in Russia needs’. So I started to look for other musicians who felt the same way, and I found Dima, one of the few fellow musicians of mine who shared love for The Haunted by then”.
Their initial idea was to compose, produce and perform original music. There have been some cover songs for special ocassions like ‘Arise’ by Sepultura, or some songs by Motörhead and Hatebreed.
Karen remembers the dynamics on Metal scene before the boom of Social Media: “in order to share music, people communicated with each other, and that also contributed to the attendance to the shows. But eventually, the scene was degraded. Internet took over our minds and hearts, so less people attended the shows or purchased the albums, there’s no significant feedback “.
Even so, new projects have emerged and Karen considers that there are still bands who worth to listen and to look at.
A challenge named Russia
Beyond the inherent difficulties in music as a profession, Murderlust members list a series of particular conditions of the largest country in the world. “We have huge distances between towns, so it’s rather expensive to travel inside Russia, either by train, car or plane”.
Also, there are some struggles with live performances as there are clubs all over Moscow within the scene closing, “every month there are less and less venues to play. The DIY way is not so popular in our kind of music, so to organize gigs is difficult. Another issue is the competition, since Thrash Metal is not so popular, even if we are trying to sound more modern than some years ago, we are considered ‘old school’, which is not so popular”.
Another topic is the use of Social Media for promotion, which differs from Western platforms. “Our main social media is VKontakte, it has all the tools for promoting: music, video, pictures and news. You have everything in one platform, where most people from our country is registered. But it is different in other countries. VK is a very powerful tool in the sense of promotion for artists, but its disadvantage is that it doesn’t spread so much beyond Russia; even in Post Soviet countries like Ukraine, Georgia or Armenia, Facebook is more popular”.
Becoming a reference
Murderlust has evolved within the circumstances, and its main objectives remain clear, although with firm steps. “Every newbie band who starts in Russia thinks about conquering Europe, America, Asia, etc. We have had this thoughts, but the political situation in the world doesn’t allow us to go in that direction that easy”.
Last September, Murderlust released their EP ‘Release Yourself’, with two of the tracks included in their upcoming full lenght album. They are currently in the process of planning a tour outside Russia to support this release. “We need some time to figure out about visas and tickets, and of course, about the money for all that, but we have some friendly bands who have had good experiences while touring abroad, so maybe we can rely on their experience and have our own eventually”.
Beyond the worldwide fame, Karen says that the most tangible goal for Murderlust currently is to gather fame on their music genre inside of Russia. “My idea is to become a face of modern Russian Thrash Metal for the rest of the world”.
Karen- Vocals, Guitar