Birdless Heavens


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Released by Casus Belli Musica in 2013. Cat. # CBM 016CD, limited to 500 copies.

OPRICH: "Time is ripe for telling you about the album – about this winter work of ours. It turned out strange and unexpected even for us – its creators. There are many thoughts and perceptions in it. There are many images in this album, the images which had come once, long ago – maybe in childhood, and maybe before… Now it’s slow and viscous as a heavy road in the snow, now it’s swift as a biting and spiny blow of the snowstorm, and it pulsates. There are a lot of blizzards, snow, melancholy, despair, grief also in the album… but there is hope in the album, as well.
Trying to catch and not to let this pulsation go, we used different ways and tricks. Gusli, little bells, throat singing, blues guitar fuzz, a horn – and what not! Seven songs turned out to be a lengthy tale, and we choose the empty cold winter skies as the album’s symbol – The Birdless Heavens.
Meanwhile, the images of birds always appear in the songs one way or another – their voices, silhouettes, tracks… Although these are not alive spring birds whose chests burst with joyful singing and flying in life-giving rays. They are the dead birds of Winter – the black shadows of misery.
They accompany the whole of the album, the whole of winter, and disappear in the end only – when the ice breaks under the hot solar pressure.
…but that’s another story to tell…"


released January 31, 2013

Artwork by Ognetsvet Art Studio
Recorded and mixed by Mikhail Romanov
Mastered by Yuriy Kuzkin, Dabloid Sound Design



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Track Name: Valedictory Humn
The final present of waning Summer
Is a peculiar warm day’s decline.
Trees’ gold yellow glow is like a rummer,
For a parting bow, with farewell wine.

…The celestial blazing went out…
By the last light specks all water dims.
Interworld revelations are a day’s last hours,
And we have just glanced there in.

Hark! By a royal hunt echo the woods rustle afar,
The aurochs horns echo sheds off foliage gold!
Where the wild geese honk o’er the rivers of Volga, Sheksna,
And Mologa, when leaving their homeland of Cold.

The day of Winds. Water ripples.
‘gainst the current in splashes of oars!
And to the dark fir land Autumn leaks
Now, as a crimson ice-cold afterglow!

Let’s praise acerbic drunkenness of these notable days –
Of the last generous days dressed in azure and gold!
Bring a parting bowl and have a drink yourself,
Summer, a wood bard, who’s clad in the marvellous clothes!

By the coldness of dew and scattered stars,
By the endless celestial height,
By the haze of grey days in rain gossamer
And by first snow the thoughts are stirred up!

…A dead leaf will lie on the fatigued ground.
Tears of dew on the leaf will be dried by hard rime.
Having shot upwards after the last flock, looking down,
Summer, flap with your wing from the frosty blue height!
Track Name: The First Wintry Touches
Oh, Morena the Withering, and Karna-Grief!
‘twas preordained by the severe wintry will…
And the timid, aged, feeble Sun can’t restrain
This dismal anxiety of the frosty sinister wind…

Transparent air grows cold in this way,
In this way the Night expands,
Like this, on the moans of the fatally tired Nature,
Winter comes into being.

…So, early snow buries the ground.
The Dusk slinks as a silent beast.
The Moon creeps slowly after it –
More and more confidently, higher and higher!

Oh, the blizzard infall - First Wintry Touches!
Snowstorms blend the skies with the earth!
And in the death’s endless approaching
It’s hard to be itself for the world!

Oh, the still of these snowy vast lands…
Oh, the azure expanse of ice…
Oh, this great, wintry, eternal
Elucidating dolour trance!..

Oh, these birdless heavens –
Aeonian, serene silence-sky!
The enigmatic slumber of numb woods…
Oh, the time to contemplate – Hiems!
Track Name: This Light And Joyous Death
Hey, look!
Here the North flashed by a cold steel
Menacing the Leaf Fall – violently restless.
I feel the movement of the Time Wheel –
Unhurried but inevitable, scapeless!

So, show yourself through malign, spiny air,
Oh, inflorescence of constellations o’er my head!
Mistress Hiems! With your chilling touches
Soothe this autumnal pain heavy as lead…

Light and joyous death in its highest moment –
It’s the right to see both faces of Hiem…
Still and joyous
Is the eternal infinite day…
Clean and not stained is a snow bed –
Not make a trail, not tear off the veil,
Not dare…
And the skies… –

Improbable heavens! –
It’s too clear to be real!
I remember it being torn,
Mutilated and bleeding…

Winter wraps up the earth in the blanket of snow.
It’s the endless old age of undying gods!
So, the life, which carried us out with its rapid flow,
Freezes o’er in the arms of spiteful ice!
Track Name: Beldam-Snowstorm
Why do you rampage, Beldam-Snowstorm,
Mother of the rough blue?
Among the men, by somebody else’s warm,
Whom do you ensue?
Winds hurl your painful long-drawn-out howl –
Whine of snow whirlpool,
Full of your grey inescapable woe,
Dead Yule.

At the gates you moan and groan,
Call to go somewhere…
Roam ‘mong garths as a shaggy crone,
A snowstorm-mourner’s swear.

You’ll get furious suddenly as blizzard haze –
Turbidly fair,
You’ll break away to the field and drag
Your matted hair.

On the rough road you nearly catch me –
You pursued approaching…
You bang ‘gainst the walls, entreat “Let in!
And let me fondle you!
I’ll whirl on the snow in my round dance
To your top bend!
I’ll close your eyes and put you to bed
Of wan contentment”.
Track Name: The Sit'-River
As a black bird o’er Rus’ the calamity flies,
Having spread its darksome wings
Oh, the Sit’-river, if you weren’t hidden by ice,
Your stream wouldn’t be water, but blood…

Russes fought there ‘gainst countless foes,
And fell also there - one and all,
Scattering their lives over a snow field
As if under Mara’s flails on a threshing floor.

Impetuous spears are broken down,
Dark red shields are cut all over…
Makers of daring warrior’s glory,
The banners fell down the blood-red snow…

And Yuriy-Knjaz who was in a helmet with roof of gold on,
Who brought men-at-arms together around,
Fell his soul in a ferocious battle -
As a pearl of soul in a gold necklace.

There’s no one on the Sit’-river
Who can wash slashed warriors’ severe wounds.
Only ravens cover by wings
The bodies bound by snow.

Oh, the Sit’-river, grey borderline!
Silent burial mounds of yours
Are still oppressed with sombre thoughts
About that battle and the bitter funeral feast.
Track Name: The Prophetic
…And the Nature bent,
Went out in Winter’s hands –
Like gold of kurgans
In tenacious fingers of the dead…

It seems to me the paths are covered –
The ways of life – with heavy snow…
As if there’s nothing firmer in the world
Than fragile hoar frost…

As Time is bound into the River’s ice,
As if the Sun went blind...
As if the Gods grew weak –
To turn the Wheels…

The forest is like chained
By sparkling sound sleep.
Enchanted by Cold Winter,
By Winter it’s restrained.

In frosty, icy pictures
All set o’er around,
On stellar night needles,
In blizzards, a sudden calm.

On boughs the rime sparkled,
Birch trees were princess-like
In heavy silver jewellery
At golden first light.

By noon the blizzard has begun
And scattered the calm,
And blinded by its spiny shroud
Of shining snow and rime.

There, by the edge of the forests the cold midnight sinks!..
…My heart grieves in its motiveless sorrow,
As if I left alone in the whole world…
I ask, paint by the light of a splinter in epic colours
Of motley clothes this winter night – long and cold.

Drown this snowstorm by accords of yours –
By the strings roar from under your soothsaying fingers.
Agitating my blood let your song loudly sound
In the vortex of snowstorms under low clouds!
Sing with your, so distant, voices as rustle of groves,
As nightingales’ enchantment…

Carry generous haying freshness down to
Zalesie’s thick and snow-covered forests!
From under gusli strings let Spring splash
Through the blizzard threnody sores!
And then the heavenly clear azure will shine!
Sing, guslar – silver-tongued bird-prophet!
Track Name: Soon, Very Soon!
Come on, gather, brave nice chaps,
Men of spears and swords,
Masters of your own!

For our valour-destiny,
For our good-luck-fate,
And for our warrior fame
Our way’ll be long!

Winds are fresh and furious,
Winds smell of a stream rise.
Old ice of the Volga
Is about to drift!

It won’t bear vernal floods
It’ll rise with cracks and splits
Crash and lean its whole weight –
And will go ahead.

Come on, gather, men of brave,
Volunteers, warriors!
Patch your coats of mail,
Make your axes fixed.

Oars into the water – soon!
Banners downwind – soon!
Soon – to hazy distances
Of the Kama and Yugra!

You won’t calmly stick at home
Won’t go at the plough-tail –
But draw water of wild streams
By your old hard oars!

Raise your boldness on a spear,
Sparkle on the swords,
Measure with a full headpiece
Freedom at all times!