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|Bands :: A-Z / A / Arkona /|
(Napalm Records - 2011)
With Slovo, the mighty Russian pagan metallers Arkona reach the lofty sixth album mark in a career spanning nine years. The band, led by formidable front woman Masha 'Scream' Arhipova, has gone from strength to strength in recent times with albums receiving high praise from critics and fans alike and regular spots on package tours and major festivals across Europe.
Stenka Na Stenku (EP)
(Napalm Records - 2011)
Arkona is a Russian folk metal band that has been steadily garnering more fans worldwide for years. The latest full length from the band, 2009's Goi, Rode, Goi!, shot the band to new heights and they have toured further than ever before as part if the Paganfest and Heidenfest packages. As fans anticipate the forthcoming full-length Arkona have released this EP as a stopgap.
Opening with a jovial accordion melody the title track feels a little like a Korpiklaani song. Its an enjoyable, bouncy number with Masha's great clean vocals soaring over the music and a great 'lai-lai' chorus. Next up is Valenki which starts in similar fashion before taking on a rather less jovial air. This is even more heavily folk-inspired than the first song but still includes a good heavy section!
An acoustic version of Goi, Rode, Goi! follows and this is one of the highlights of the EP; A haunting track with superb atmospheric use of different vocal styles. The fourth song is Skål, a good fist-pumping folk metal song featuring Freki of German folk metal band Varg on guest vocals. His voice really compliments Masha's on this track and its definitely one of the EP's best songs.
Duren is a cover of the Svarga song. Its quite true to the original but with an obviously more metal emphasis! The final song is another cover. This time Arkona have chosen to cover Noviy Muir (aka Oðða Mailbmi), a song by Shaman, a band you will know better as Korpiklaani. This is a very tranquil song in parts and majestic in others. A fitting end to the EP.
Arkona have done really well with the EP, giving the fans something to tide them over between albums whilst avoiding any probability of it being labeled a cash-in. This is a really good EP that shows the versatility of this awesome Russian band.
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