Аркона aka Arkona is a Russian Folk Metal band that consists of Masha “Scream” Arkhipova on vocals, keyboards, tambourine, komuz, and guitars (acoustic),
guitarist Sergey “Lazar” Atrashkevich, bassist Ruslan “Kniaz”, and drummer Vlad “Artist.” Ot serdtsa k nebu is the band’s fourth album released in 2007. Lyrically, Arkona has themes that tell stories rooted in Russian folklore and Slavic mythology.
Musically, Arkona not only uses modern instruments of heavy metal, but incorporates traditional instruments to give it a very thick folk sound. There are some very strong guitar riffs throughout the entire album along with some very hard drumming. With regards to the guitars, they seem to play a more of a supporting role that allows the traditional instruments to play a major role on the music. What little leads on the album are done very well. The song structures blend the folk world and black metal together to give it a nice melody and harmony during the slower tempos. During the faster and more upbeat tempos, the traditional instruments do not overwhelm the heavy metal portions. It’s folk metal at it’s best. The sound quality is absolutely great. The music is dark and at the same time enlightening.
Masha’s vocal style is both harsh and clean and she does a great job of mixing the two worlds on each track. Track four is a great example of her vocal work that is on the clean side. But her growls and screams are amazing. She can pull off any vocal style and she proves that on this album. I think that she is among the best female vocalists of her genre.
For a folk metal band, Arkona does a job well done for taking the listener on a journey through history. Although, the lyrics are in Russian, you do get the sense and feeling of what she is getting across. I have been into Arkona for a very long time and this is among my top favorite folk metal albums.
1. “Pokrovy Nebesnovo Startsa” (Покровы Небесного Старца) Shrouds of Celestial Sage 7:34
2. “Goy, Kupala!!!” (Гой, Купала!!!) Hey, Kupala 3:42
3. “Ot Serdtsa k Nebu” (От Сердца к Небу) From the Heart to the Skies 5:06
4. “Oy, Pechal-Toska” (Ой, Печаль-Тоска) Oh, My Sorrow, My Anguish 5:33
5. “Gutsulka” (Гутсулка) Hutsulka 2:44
6. “Strela” (Стрела) Arrow 6:16
7. “Nad Propastyu Let” (Над пропастью лет) Over the Abyss of Ages 6:40
8. “Slavsya Rus!” (Славься, Русь!) Hail Rus! 4:00
9. “Kupala i Kostroma” (Купала и Кострома) Kupala and Kostroma 2:30
10. “Tsigular” (Цигулар) Violinist 3:43
11. “Sva” (Сва) 6:31
12. “Katitsya Kolo” (Катится Коло) Kolo Is Rolling 10:16