I came across this Russian band Arkona quite by accident: let me just say that I'm glad I did. Though it is the first album I've listened to and therefore cannot relate between their previous work, it is a strong piece of music: powerful, reverent folk metal as epic as ever.
I haven't even finished the album, but I love what I've heard so far! A usual, the first track has to catch you or else it will be a hard listen. Fortunately, "Goi, Rode, Goi!" is powerful and epic, as much as the video thereof! As far as singing goes, Masha Arhipova alternates between clean vocals (I can't discern her pitch, but it sounds wholly unique) and growled vocals that, if you're new to this band, would make you think they're coming from a man...Nope, that's Masha for you!
Now this won't be a track-by-track, but attention has to be drawn towards "Tropoiu Nevedannoi". It shows that Arkona is not only skilled but versatile. It starts off with familiar blast-beats, buzzing tremolo-chords and Masha's screamed vocals, before exploding with her normal vox. Aside from crystal-clear quality, it has all the energy of a black metal song, and therefore will not disappoint those who are fans of such.
"Pritcha" is a bit of spoken word, done by Masha. Though it might be considered kissing up by some, she delivers very well on this very short track, backed by ambient sounds of the blowing wind. Her voice is almost seductive as she rolls over her Slavic language. Just a little bit of honorable mention.
"Liki Bessmertnykh Bogov" was the first ever Arkona track I heard, and happens to be my favorite so far (though some of the longer tracks on this album are making me reconsider that statement). It's heavy, and filled with folk instrumentation, with plenty of Masha's clean (dare I say sexy) vocals, before diving head-long into her voracious screaming towards the end.
Fortunately, for those of us who love epic tracks longer than nine minutes, Goi, Rode, Goi! delivers! "Nebo Hmuroe, Tuchi Mrachniye", the closing track on this album, features Masha's clean singing for the most part, as well as a lengthy flute solo. It's definitely one of my top favorites off this album, and I recommend that you listen to it at least once, even though it is freaking LONG! You'll be glad you did.
In conclusion, Goi, Rode, Goi! is a masterpiece. The overall tone of the music is very reverent, reminiscent of one of Bathory's viking metal albums, though very down-to-earth and folksy, like our Finnish favorites Korpiklaani etc. But with vocals to match the ladies of Arch Enemy and Astarte, Arkona is definitely a force to be reckoned with! Now I'm off to finish the rest of the album: so far, I haven't found a single bad track on it (even the second track was enjoyable). I challenge you to seek out this epic Russian metal band!
Among the many folk, pagan, and viking acts out there today, Arkona has one of the most distinct sounds among them, and their new album Goi,Rode,Goi is no exception, in fact, this is probably my favorite album of them so far.
Arkona is also one of the few bands among the Folk genre that actually has a talented female vocalist, she can change her style from an epic folk chant to an aggressive, and raspy Death Growl in mid sentence.
The new album will definitely not disappoint anyone who is a fan of past Arkona releases; if you like epic, traditional folk chants, then this album will be a hit for you, almost all the tracks on the album feature a hair-raising choRus line, which can be reminiscent of some of the better Turisas song; though Arkona's sound is much different overall in comparison to most other bands in the folk genre, instead of imploring a Scandinavian feel to their songs, they incorporate traditional Russian sounds and Chants, which is something that isn't heard often in Folk Metal.
This release had taken me by surprise, I hadn't really expected their new album to be as great as it is (and I was already a fan of them); out of all the 14 songs on Goi,Rode,Goi, the track lengths vary drastically, some songs are over 15 minutes, and others fall short of just 2, all in all, this is one of my favorite releases this year, and any fan of Arkona's previous works should find their new album a success.
Arkona certainly donât seem to do anything on a small level, as evidenced by the near laundry-list of guest appearances and musicians present here on the interestingly titled Goi, Rode, Goi! All of the hard work seems to have paid off for the quintet, however, as thisâthe bandâs fifth full length properâis easily the bandâs best work to date, encapsulating all of Arkonaâs certified and unquestioned stylistic mastery into one epic piece of art.
From sprawling, fifteen minute epics [Na Moey Zemle (In My Land)] to shorter, punchier numbers, Goi, Rode, Goi! follows just fine in the footsteps of its breakthrough 2007 predecessor, Ot Serdtsa K Nebu by offering a similarly authentic take on aggressive pagan folk metal. While the stench of blood ân battlefield still holds high in the air, Goi does a follow a surprisingly light-hearted path at times, however, almost reminiscent of the Finnish huumpa acts Finntroll and Korpiklaani.
Proud frontwoman Masha does her best to smash any preconceptions, however, delivering once again on the promise of an impassioned and powerful performance. Mashaâs choral melodies fit in perfectly alongside the albumâs thunderous double bass drumming and churning guitars, while traditional folk instrumentation lends each of these songs yet another added layer of depth and dynamic.
In this day and age where every band carrying a plastic sword and shield set is called âfolkâ or âbattleâ metal, it does the heart and soul a bit of good to see an act like Arkona, whose own hearts clearly bleed and beat for their art. Arkona just may be one of the best pagan acts making the rounds today, and it certainly shows here on Goi, Rode, Goi!