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Review: Arkona - Yav

Label: Napalm Records
Year released: 2014
Duration: 1:07:52
Tracks: 9
Genre: Pagan Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: August 22, 2014
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating

Rated 2.75/5 (55%) (8 Votes)

Russia's Arkona impressed me with their 2011 album Slovo and their newest release, 2014's Yav (Russian for "Reality") continues the trend. If anything, Arkona have gotten even more epic in the years between Yav and Slovo. Pagan Metal, with traditional instrumentation, always runs the risk of sounding like "party" Metal (think Korpikklani) but Arkona navigates that minefield expertly, crafting a dense, melodic album that mixes Heavy Metal with traditional melodies and instruments seamlessly. They've also brought some new sounds to the table, making Yav a nice progression from the last album and not just a rehash of old sounds. The opener, "Zarozhdenie" has time changes reminiscent of Dream Theater and keyboard melodies right out of The Doors' "The End" all wrapped up in a Heavy/Black Metal package. The guitar tone is fantastic and, as I stated, keyboards, flutes, pipes, etc. are interwoven expertly. There are plenty of "traditional" Arkona tracks, like "Ved'ma" with its majestic riffs and choirs of harsh and clear singing, before we get the 13+ minute "Jav," a song that combines everything the band does well into one impressive musical statement. As always, the various vocal talents of front-woman Masha "Scream" Arkhipova unites it all.

Yav is an album that provides enough melody and power on the surface to appeal to a broad range of Metal fans but it's only when you dedicate the time to sit and listen to it, in its entirety, that all of the subtle things that make the whole so enjoyable, start to reveal themselves. While it isn't in the same style as a Summoning or Finsterforst album, listening to Yav demands the same level of attention and pays you for your efforts handsomely.

Other related information on the site
Review: Ot Serdtsa K Nebu (reviewed by Nicholas Lazarus)
Review: Ot Serdtsa K Nebu (reviewed by Pagan Shadow)
Review: Slovo (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Stenka na Stenku (reviewed by MetalMike)
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