Arkona - Vozrozhdenie
Sound Age Productions
Epic Folk Metal
12 songs (58:33)
Release year: 2004
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

The best Folk Metal tends to come from lands far, far away, the sounds of a radically different culture crashing into our decadent western heads, and Russian Slavic Pagans Arkona (or Аркона) are a perfect example. Featuring members of up-and-coming Black Metalists Rossomahaar, the female-fronted Arkona are one of the best Folk Metal bands around, and it’s criminal that so few have heard of them. Vozrozhdenie, or Возрождение (rereleased in 2005 as Revival) is the band’s debut full-length, and it’s a bit more Black Metal than later releases. Along with the usual wailing, synth-flute melodies and campside-friendly ditties, there are frequent moments when the band just let go and speed into oblivion, and whilst it’s still very much in the Folk camp, this gives Vozrozhdenie quite a bite.

Whether you notice this or not is questionable, as odds are you’ll be having too much fun. Opening track Koliada alone moves between epic battle hymn and majestic marching song seamlessly, vocalist Masha ‘Scream’ Arhipova alternatively singing, growling and screaming – it’s easy to see where her nickname comes from. This lady is good enough to go up against Arch Enemy’s Angela Gossow in the ‘fearsome female vocalist’ stakes, with the added bonus that her clean vocals are amazing, high, clear and strong without even a touch of the rather dull operatics that the Metal scene seems to be getting flooded with these days. Harsh male vocals also pop up here and there, and the interplay between the two is spectacular.

As a debut album, this is great stuff, far better than you’d expect. It’s full of anthems, from the heady title track to the Korpiklaani-esque Speed Metal of Black Raven, to the keyboard-heavy glory of Russia, the atmospheric chants of Brother Slavs... there honestly isn’t a weak track amongst them, and that they’re still enjoyable many listens later is a feat that few Folkies in the Metal realm can reproduce. Come on, as much as we all love the aforementioned Korpiklaani, how many of us can actually sit down and listen to their discography from start to finish? Well, with Arkona you can, a single fact that’s sufficient to propel them to the upper realms of the Folk Metal hall of fame.

In terms of the Arkona (not to be confused with the NSBM horde of the same name) discography itself, Vozrozhdenie is the debut, and lives up to that. It’s a great start, but is a rough take on a formula perfected on later albums, and as such might not be the best place to start, although if you do you won’t be disappointed, as even in this early form Arkona’s brand of Folk/Pagan Metal is second to none.

Killing Songs :
Koliada, Into The Svarog’s House, Revival, Black Raven, Russia, Solstice, Under The Swords, On Animal Path, Call Of Ancestors
Goat quoted 81 / 100
Thomas quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by Arkona that we have reviewed:
Arkona - Khram reviewed by Alex and quoted 91 / 100
Arkona - Yav reviewed by Alex and quoted 91 / 100
Arkona - Slovo reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Arkona - Stenka na Stenku reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Arkona - Goi, Rode, Goi! reviewed by Thomas and quoted 89 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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