ARKONA - Stenka na Stenku CDEP
Genre: Pagan/Folk Metal
As much as I love this band I have to admit that their full lengths can get a little long. I mean after over an hour's worth, like on their last one Goi, Rode, Goi!, you are definitely ready for a break. So seeing this was just an EP's worth of music from my favorite Russian export I was relieved. Albeit this is just a small sample of what's to come since ARKONA are still working on their next full length set for a Fall release. The title means Wall on Wall and on it there's only six songs some of which are really upbeat party down numbers like the opening title track and "Valenki". Both are folksy numbers not unlike what a certain Finnish band has been up to over the years. There's not much in the way of metal to em just Russian folk music which probably gets the locals fired up especially in a club. The third cut is an acoustic version of "Goi, Rode Goi!" the title track from their last full length, once again just Folk music here.
It's not till the fourth track ‘Skal’ where things liven up and even add some blackened vocals provided by guest singer Freki from the German band VARG. The song is short, under three minutes and is simply a few verses by Freki and Slavic chorus'. ARKONA's vocalist Masha Scream doesn't even appear on it unless she's one of the back ground voices in the chorus which all sound like men. The last two cuts are covers and very good. The first "Duren", originally done by SVARGA, is a perfect vehicle for ARKONA since it features the powerful melodic black metal sound the band is capable of balanced with the epic folk sensibilities. Masha Scream even gets to break loose by singing clean vocals added with sinister whispers/spoken word as well as her guttural voice. The second cover song is "Noviy Mir" originally done by the band SHAMAN. This is pretty much a decent melodic pagan folk metal cut. There's a lot of reference to the melancholy atmosphere. Stenka na Stenku is a decent little teaser from ARKONA especially the second half.