Russian screamo has always had a few defining characteristics carving out its own place and fanbase all over the world: a certain tundra-inspired post-rock influence, dark yet hopeful and moving atmospheres, epic guitar riffs, and broken-hearted screaming. It’s a recipe that repeats itself over and over but rarely gets boring. Therefore, it’s quite a surprise to find out that Зарница, a new Russian all star band featuring members and ex members of well-known screamo and post-rock acts such asNamatjira, Sen Deni (from Minsk, Belarus), Totoro, Маяк and more, doesn’t play screamo.
Зарница, which means “summer lightning” and is pronounced “zarneetsa”, is a four piece based in Moscow. On their first EP released in 2016, В доме престарелых, one can certainly find a lot of influences that necessarily derive from the musical background of the band’s members, especially when it comes to the ultra-melodic and uncontainable guitar riffs. However, the post-punk driven rhythms and the drunken La Dispute vocals change the settings of Зарница’s imagery, and the final result is much more similar to early The Cure or to Makthaverskan.
The contagious liveliness of Зарница, together with their queer-oriented appearance at their own concerts, shows just how much its members needed to get off the dark tones and themes they were used to. Their songs are summer tales about being bored, getting drunk on wine, and missing the last metro home. But behind the excitement of their fans jumping at their shows, an almost unnameable fear grows through the band’s disco-punk riffs: it’s the fear of growing old and tired, of forgetting youth’s pleasures and ideals, and most of all of the always disquieting Russian winter approaching every time the summer ends. Honestly, though, Зарница’s music is warm enough to survive that as well.