"Gorky Park" (Mercury; 1989)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Maybe you remember back in the late 80s when the Cold War was all over the news. Ronald Regan was president and vowed to end Russia’s communist rule and eliminate any possible threat against the United States of America. Maybe you don’t remember -- either way, if you’re from generation X, Y or ZZZZZ, then you know that history always produces music to fit the changing times.

Gorky Park was born out of the fact that a ban on rock'n'roll Cherneko, who later died and Gorbachev who lifted the ban, allowed Gorky Park to travel to the U.S.A. to secure a record deal. Frank Zappa and Bon Jovi helped Gorky Park land a label.

Much like the 60s artists who started the music revolution, Gorky Park was almost a novelty act if it weren’t for the history that surrounded them. They displayed all the hair metal shtick and you probably would have never even given them a listen if MTV hadn’t boasted that they were the first Russian band to be aired on their channel.

They had the traditional hair and glam rock appearance but they still secured a bit of Russian lore into their music. The balalaika guitar was evident in their video for “Bang” and a little history research would show that The Beatles referred to this Russian guitar in the song “Back In The U.S.S.R.” ... and the Scorpions also called it by name in their hit “Winds Of Change.”

Because Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora had a hand in Gorky Park's success, it also stands to reason that roots of Western music would be combined with Gorky Park’s love of Russian heavy metal. This is where Gorky Park became a friendship link between The United States and Russia during those political times. 

This may be the only review ever of Gorky Park, and that’s why I gave more history of their becoming than I did the music. Even though they only hit it big with a few songs here in America, they did record a total of three CDs.

The best tracks to revisit are “Bang,” “Peace In Our Time,” and “My Generation.”

Gorky Park: Alexei Belov – lead guitar, balalaika, all keyboards, background vocals; Nikolai Noskov – lead vocals, background vocals; Big Sasha Minkov – bass, background vocals; Jan Ianekov – guitar, acoustic guitar; Sasha Lvov – drums.

For more information, check out this fan site: http://www.myspace.com/gorkyparkussr

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Revised: 10 Jul 2022 15:03:28 -0400 .