I came across this Russia
n 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
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 Russia
n metal band!