There's a metal song about Mikhail Gorbachev and it's the most Russian thing you'll ever see

A still from the ANJ video of a girl screaming
(Image credit: Rosenfield Records)

The death of former Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev, the man whose glasnost and perestroika policies eventually led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, has made headlines around the globe. 

Tributes have been paid by political leaders the world over, with US President Joe Biden calling Gorbachev "a man of remarkable vision" and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin referring to Gorbachev's "huge impact on the course of world history."

Meanwhile, former German chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, released a statement that said, "He showed by example how a single statesman can change the world for the better. Gorbachev also changed my life in fundamental ways. I will never forget it."

Amongst all the kind words from premiers, presidents and prime ministers, perhaps no single tribute to Gorbachev will be as spectacular as that made by Muscovite metal band ANJ, whose 2007 song Mikhail Gorbachyov comes with a video that is one of the most epic – and certainly the most Russian – things we've ever seen.

The track first appeared on ANJ's 2007 album With Honor To Live, and the following year featured on the soundtrack of Stalin vs. Martians, a real time strategy game described by the website Gamespot as "perhaps the worst RTS game ever created". Even its developers described the game as "trashy and over-the-top".

To be fair, it's a description that barely does justice to the song's utterly overblown magnificence, nor its crazed accompanying video. It's got everything. There are girls with scythes and girls hammering anvils. There are zombies in military uniform. There are zeppelins. And there's Mikhail Gorbachev himself, portrayed as a heavily-muscled, well-oiled, bare-chested warrior type who wreaks havoc with a double-bladed axe before going on to wreak equal havoc with an Uzi. 

It's really quite something.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.