I have said it many times, metal's got something for just about everyone. And if you happen to be into, say Russian pagan/folk metal with a slightly progressive aspect to it, Arkona's your jam. Their latest album, Yav, comes after a three year absence, but these guys, while they may take a little getting used to, are actually pretty good. Most of, if not all, the folk melodies are played on authentic medieval instruments giving the album an otherworldly sound, a melding of the old and new.
Lead vocalist Masha "Scream" Arkhipova leads the lads of Arkona with an at times Enya-like etheral quality, while other times she slips right into guttural fury though it can get lost in the mix. But it's when the band goes on extended musical interludes (songs average about seven and a half minutes) that things can get more interesting, with progressive-inspired jams that get satisfyingly heavy.
The Bottom Line: If you're looking for some pagan/folk metal (we know you're out there) and aren't too concerned about knowing all the lyrics, you should check out Russia's Arkona. Their medieval modern sound works well while standing out in a crowded world of heavy metal bands.
- Genghis needs to get back to practicing his mandolin...