Napalm Records
Street: 05.06
Arkona = Alkonost + Natural Spirit + Prarod
One of pagan metal’s best kept secrets is Moscow’s Arkona, who make every studio offering an epic one. Yav, the band’s seventh full-length album, is out to conquer all. It plays out as one of the band’s darkest offerings since Ot Serdtsa K Nebu. Yav stays dark and strong with a few moments where the old meets the new with folk instruments meeting some synths. They maintain ever-changing dynamics and boast probably the most enigmatic frontwoman in metal, Masha “Scream” Arkhipova, at their helm. Her singing voice is at its most powerful, and her scream is at its most shattering yet. Slower rhythms bring contemplative tones to an almost a trance-inducing feeling and then, when there is no expectation of it, the rhythm blasts hard and heavy—crunching like bones taking blows with battleaxes. Yav is easily the most interesting record Arkona have released in years and is up for debate as the band’s best yet. –Bryer Wharton