ARKONA - LEPTA
METAL TO INFINITY
Pagan / Viking Metal is a 'hype' nowadays. More and more bands are adding folkloristic elements into their music. As a matter of fact it seems to be a key to success. It is a style of music that even crossed the Russian borders and Holy Blood of Ukraine is a good example of that statement. Arkona is a Russian band, delivering tracks in their own language. It's another remarkable fact that this kind of bands often perform in their own proper languages. In Dutch we have for example Heidevolk... Although the Russian language is impossible to understand they don't bother at all and musical wise there are a lot of things to say about this band.
First of all I need to say the production of this album is clear and good. Maybe traditional Black Metal sounds heavier because of the obscure sound but to be honest I prefer good produced CD's. It makes the music sound better, more overwhelming... but indeed not always that particular dark. I suppose everybody knows that for Black Metal this kind of obscurity and darkness are incredibly important.
For Arkona this isn't exactly the problem because of the fact that, in particular because of the vocals, this album contains a very dark atmosphere. By weaving folkloristic arrangements the music contains a special touch. Furthermore also some classical - even bombastic - elements are making Arkona a unique and mysterious band. They impress me and create overall intense vibes. I suppose this kind of Folk Black Metal isn't really innovating. Because of the Russian vocals it sounds at least pioneering to me although I admit I'm not at all an admirer of this kind of music.
Arkona delivers experimental and varied arrangements and overall a Celtic, natural and ancient gloomy mood is present. Some parts have good traditional and Power Metal riffs. Arkona is foreseen with radical brutal vocals and some hyperactive and superfast rhythms make them sound extreme. Because of the fact Arkona contains very gifted musicians they hold the talent to bring you in different moods, even in one and the same song. The calm and acoustic parts are pretty impressive and if they're followed by some pure insanity and intense viciousness, as mean as it can be, it proves this is a band that fans of this genre should pick up.
Another strong point is the fact that also the vocals show differences; I doubt you'll get bored by this band. Masha 'Scream' is the female vocalist responsible for them. The keyboards and guitar solos are more than welcome and often deliver a progressive touch to this band. During the entire album the folk music elements are present; love it or hate it. It makes plenty of songs catchy and full of character.
Arkona succeeds in the goal releasing a very good album in this genre. If you're into this kind of Pagan Black Metal and you don't mind listening to - not understandable lyrics - you know what to look for at your next pit stop in your local Metal store. My Points: 82/100 (Review by Officer Nice)
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