A slap. This is what Arkona’s newest album is. It is true that since Vo Slavu Velikim, magic and surprising celebration ; Ot Serdca K Nebu, and Goi, Rode, Goi ! lacked a bit of flavour, when Slovo left us unsatisfied. It’s with great enthusiasm, I hope, that you will discover Yav, which, in addition of being a masterpiece, has the great advantage to have a name you remember easily !
It appears that for Yav, Arkona have left their catchy partying melodies apart, to give more importance to a darker and bewitching atmosphere. Oh don’t be afraid, folklkloric melodies are still there and relevant, but softly wrapped in a gloomy and electric shell. This is what the cover artwork seems to remind us, where we can see a skinny young girl, leaning over the skeletal reflection that a strange river returns to her, in the middle of an as strange and quiet forest.
This ritual lasting a bit more than a hour opens on the fascinating Zarozhdenie, with ay strong electric side. True forewarning of the new direction the band is taking on this work. Folkloric melodies, and dancing ones tend to disappear, giving the place to some ambient and atmospheric pagan black metal. And that is not to displease us… Indeed, the rhythm of this album is perfectly controlled. We are driven by alternate beats once depressive and nagging like « Gorod Snov », once energic and unleashed like in « Chado Indigo », and finally explode in the eponymous title of the album.
Arkona are giving us here without an hesitation their most complex and elaborate work in term of structure and rhythm of the tracks. Those are long (average 7’30) and are composed of each a multitude of rhythms, beats, and paces very different from each others. In addition to the numerous folkloric instruments, it’s the omnipresence of unusual acoustic instruments that in a way surprise, but also delight your ears. Some piano moments incorporate a melancolic and gothic dimension, in the literary sense of it, when the acoustic guitar remind the folk dimension in the darkest tracks of the album.
And that acoustic arrangement pairs up perfectly well with metallic sounds we like so much.. And that’s putting it mildly ! The guitars are particularly put under the spotlight and express themselves though epic and aggressive flights that hit the nail on the head, reinforced by the unique and transcendent singing of Masha Scream. The vocal part was also very well worked. We can find a furious screamed singing as well as clean singing based on pain and supplication, that takes us in an emotional lift.
You got it, this album is excellent. Very complex, it is impossible to me to examine it wholly , and even if I was willing to, I would find it hard to say in words what the ear gets. For sure, this album will be a pillar for the band, a classic for folk metal that you absolutely need to listen to over and over again .
Note : 9.5/10
2. Na strazhe novyh let
4. Zov pustyh dereven’
5. Gorod snov
7. Chado indigo
9. V ob’jat’jah kramoly
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