Some of the heaviest shit in the world is coming out of Russia right now, and I’m not even talking about collusion. I’m talking about industrial rap-rock, baby. It’s like we’re living in the nineties all over again except this time it’s coming from the other side of the former Soviet Union and not their partners in Cold War crimes, The Land of the Free and The Home of Industrial Rap-Rock.

This isn’t the first Russian hip-hop act that has blown me off my feet. The scene in Moscow seems to be so vibrant and colorful in a completely stark and vicious way. But IC3PEAK, the “audiovisual terror” (their words) project of Nick Kostylev & Nastya Kreslina, might just be the most significant bottling of this wild energy I’ve come across in all my years of blogging about Soviet Rap (2 yrs to be exact).

This is the exact kind of act that would have scared the shit out of suburban moms in 1994, with their crazy make-up, aggressive dance moves and furious, message-driven lyrics. But after we’ve lived through Marilyn Manson and Die Antwoord, I think we’re pretty much okay with anything that comes our way at this point. C’mon Moms stop being frightened by inventive new music.



“This World is Sick” is buckwild, like where the hell would this even come from? Did IC3PEAK take a time machine back to 1999 in order to re-invent something so retro that it feels like it’s never even existed before? This tune sounds as much like Crystal Castles as it does Die Antwoord with a little bit of nu-metal thrown in for good measure. It’s like they called up Alice Glass and were like “that, but with rapping.” It’s like they gave a ring to Die Antwoord and said “we like the aesthetic and the fury but we’re gonna come at it from a different angle.” It’s like they called up Coal Chamber and were like “teach us how to scare people.”

This is punk rock. I don’t know any new punk rock songs so I can’t be sure what it even sounds like, but it doesn’t matter because no matter what this is punk rock as hell. Sure, it’s actually dance-rap and not punk at all, but who ever said dance-rap can’t be punk rock? Punk is a mindset, a way of life.

Not every song sounds this heavy and intense either. Some of their earlier tunes feel more like “futuristic opera” (their words), with a significantly more Grimes vibe. Operatic singing over electro beats. But it’s this furious tune and the accompanying Siberian mosh-pit music video that has us paying attention.

Grimes x Die Antwoord x Crystal Castles is as much of a We Are: The Guard seal of approval that we could ever give. Those are like three of our favorite acts, all incredibly strange and challenging but also amazing and our favorites. Are IC3PEAK bound to be next?

While the whole catalogue doesn’t sound like this, it’s all very interesting in its own right and we suggest you take a trip throughout their bandcamp or soundcloud to familiarize yourself with everything that is Moscow’s IC3PEAK.


From deep within the murky depths of the Los Angeles River emerged a creature: 50% raver, 50% comedian, 10% Robotcop. Kurt Kroeber doesn’t own a dog, operates Soundbleed (the world’s only dance party comedy talk show rave), and is down to party with you. Come up some time and say “Hey dude!” But definitely make sure to casually drop the secret Illuminati password.