|Review: Arkona - Slovo|
Label: Napalm Records
Year released: 2011
Genre: Pagan Metal
Review online: September 24, 2011
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Powerful, epic and authentic are all words that come to mind when listening to Arkona's new album of Pagan/Folk Metal, Slovo ("Word"). The band, lead by vocalist Masha "Scream" Arhipova, supplement their modern and traditional instrumentation on this, their sixth album, with choirs and orchestral passages, giving Slovo an immense sound best appreciated when played loud.
The balance between the "Folk" and "Black" elements is struck perfectly. Masha "Scream" is equally adept at demonic Black howls and soaring clear chants. Songs like the brutally fast and aggressive "Nikogda" ("Never") transition seamlessly to the hauntingly melodic "Tam Za Tumanami" ("Behind the Mist.") Everyone in the band is multi-talented. Arhipova handles not only the harsh and clean vocals but Shaman drums and acoustic guitar. Drummer Vlad "Artist" is also the band's keyboard player while guitarist Sergei "Lazar" doubles on the balalaika, the traditional 3-stringed Russian instrument. Everything flows together so well it is hard to believe the album lasts nearly an hour. There is a level of depth and emotion in the songwriting that is rarely achieved, all the more striking as the album is sung entirely in Russian.
The blast beats and agonized howls of "Bol'no Mne" ("It's Painful for Me") and "Arkaim" ("Arkaim") will please fans of Black Metal while the traditional instruments and melodic chants of "Zakliatie" ("Incantation") and "Vo Moiom Sadochke" ("In My Garden") will certainly appeal to those who lean towards the Folk Metal end of the spectrum. Best of all, there is enough middle ground for fans of Traditional and Power Metal to enjoy Slovo, as well. Don't miss this one as there is something for everyone on Slovo. . Highly recommended.
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