It's quite safe to say that the Russian metal scene is still being developed and is very underground. There are bands formed in the '90s and even '80s—some of them still exist, and some of them are known within post-USSR borders—as well as some modern bands that appeared in the '00s and managed to earn some money from it. There are bands who take risks and make European tours at their own expense, and a few even reach America. There are bands who spend a lot of money to make records at famous European studios, and film high-quality music videos. Some are signed to foreign labels. But there's no Russian band known worldwide, like Behemoth from Poland or almost every band from Sweden (if I speak about eastern/northern Europe).
The thing is, there's some amount of bands that have emerged during the last several years who are only known by a comparatively small bunch of people—kind of an underground within the underground—but they manage to make really good music in all metal styles possible. This is where the real kick-ass and competitive metal lives in Russia—and not just in the two capitals (Saint Petersburg and Moscow), but in almost every region.
So, here is a list of Russian underground bands worth getting to know about...
Exister is a band from Yaroslavl playing a kind of groovy thrash metal with some hardcore twists. These guys have recently toured, and released an EP not so long ago where you can check out a Merauder cover ("Downfall of Christ") approved by Jorge Rosado himself.
Rudepage is another cool band from Yaroslavl, again playing in the vein of good old '90s bands. Maybe more hardcore-oriented compared to Exister, but these toughguys totally rip faces. The band toured recently following their EP release as well.
One more kinda metallic hardcore band, this time from Moscow. Hellweed has a couple of EPs released (with assistance from the dude responsible for Nails' sound), and was added to This is Hardcore's 2016 lineup recently.
There are bands playing metallic hardcore, but these dudes play hardcore punk. Cool, emotionally-charged stuff. Sunisgone is one of the few bands who provides a cool contrast to the dozens of young beatdown pretenders.
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Pyre provides raw death metal in the vein of old school Swedish acts like Grave and Dismember. Their debut album got a lot of positive feedback both in Russia and in European/American zines, and the band has visited several European festivals.
Chamber of Torture
It's hard to imagine a better name for this band than Chamber of Torture. Raw and guttural death metal grinds you slowly. There are two full-lengths in their discography, and the third is coming soon.
Furious grind that includes members of Pyre and Chamber of Torture. Recognized as probably the best Russian grind band. Internal Damage has plenty of records in their discography, and plenty of cities devastated while touring.
Corroded Realms plays whiskey-fueled and moderately melodic metal—perfectly fitting of some biker club with strippers and stuff. Listen to these guys after another stressful day at your shitty job.
Psilocybe Larvae is a manic-depressive (as they call themselves) band from Vyborg that combines doom, death, and black metal—resulting in actually very beautiful and atmospheric music. The band has been active since 1996, which makes them one of the oldest bands of the Russian underground who are actually cool.