Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

May 28, 2011

Arkona ~ Stenka Na Stenku (EP)

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Style: folk metal, heavy metal, experimental, Russian
Label: Napalm records
Year: 2011
Home: Russia

Members: Masha "Scream" Arhipova ~ vocals/keyboards
Sergei "Lazar" ~ guitars
Ruslan "Kniaz" ~ bass
Vlad "Artist" ~ keyboards/drums
Vladimir "Volk" ~ ethnic wind instruments

Additional: Varg ~ vocals

How many accordians are in your black metal collection? I mean hardcore polka-sounding accordians used as a leading instrument & not just a strange sound effect? Further, how many flutes are in your black metal collection? Not much is probably your answer & if it is then it's time to change that. Let russians black metallers Arkona introduce you to a new world of music - Russian/Slavic pagan folk metal ... at its best. Like Alestorm is the best of pirate metal, Arkona are clearly candidates for the same title in their field of folk metal. Traditional instruments & arrangements, including chorus vocals on top of the female lead singer & gypsy dance breaks are explored by Arkona in their newest release that will have you dancing immediately. Some people may find the new & exploding trend of folk metal a joke, but it's a joke of quite an impressive & addictive sub-genre of some of the most upbeat & creative approaches to thrash/speed metal, let alone some highly skilled playing & composing. But, alas, for Americans the hundred year old tradition of pagan folk tunes is a foreign concept which is partially to blame for making folk metal a hard to grasp concept ... Woody Guthrie & Civil War laments aren't quite the same as the epic music that comes out of the lost cultures of northern Europe & Russia. In many ways Arkona are reminiscent of symphonic metal for the intricate nature of the arrangements, which is often lost in slash & burn metal, here even including an haunting acoustic arrangement of their hit "Goi, Rode, Goi!" with guitars, didgeridoo & mandolins. As for the language barrier it's barely noticeable. You almost expect something like this to be in a strange & unfamiliar tongue. Arkona are an absolute must to check out. If you like folk metal you'll love this band. If you don't know folk metal Arkona will hook you in. & don't hesitate as they've already had a song featured on the U.S. version of 'The Office' on TV so people are paying attention to them.

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