Saturday, December 10, 2011

Punched In The Face With A Bear.

I wasn't going to write a post about Arkona yet.  I wanted to let things percolate a little.  But these Russian pagan folk metallers have been on my mind lately, for two main reasons.

1. I'm going to see them play (with Korpiklaani) in a couple of days, and:

2. This post by a folk musician and pagan rocker for whom I have mad respect, (the incomparable Sharon Knight) over on the pagan music hub The Movement Of Sound, which seems to suggest that even in a big city like SF the turnout for an Arkona show can be disappointingly small.

Clearly, I am not going to be able to rest on my laurels and say 'job well done' for making a couple of posts here about folk metal.  Clearly, action needs to be taken.  Clearly, not enough people know about this band.  Also, Wolves has declared a state of Bear-Punching Emergency: everything (the Year-End Rear-End best of 2011 list, blog template fiddling, pants) must be dropped immediately so I can roll out this five-alarm fucker of a post about the greatest Russian band you aren't listening to, ARKONA.

I reviewed their most recent album (Slovo) over on my favourite metal blog No Clean Singing, which you can check out here. In it, I described Arkona frontwoman Masha Ahripova's voice as being "like getting punched in the face with a bear."  Not BY a bear; WITH a bear.  I just want to make that clear: getting punched by a bear is bad, because they get a lot of body weight behind their swing, and it's really not so much a punch as a disemboweling claw attack.  Getting punched with a bear is worse, because you're getting the whole bear.

In the face.

Okay, so Arkona is a pagan metal band from Russia.  "Pagan metal isn't a genre," you say, "it's a lyrical style,"  to which in all forthrightness I respond that "lyrical styles are just as valid for BLAH BLAH SUCK FLAMING BALLS." Because I'm mature like that.

Arkona is folky and metally and booze-drinky goodness, with a big chunk of Slavic culture bleeding all over the top of it, and Masha's voice is astounding in its intensity whether clean or growled.  Here's a video for which you will say 'sbasiba' to me profusely and repeatedly until you embarrass yourself with the magnitude of your gratitude.

Arkona - "Yarilo"

You see what I'm talking about?

Maybe that's too metal for you; admittedly not everyone has the giant glacier-iced balls to handle the demon bear-goddess Masha's scream for which she is duly named ("Masha Scream"...you see how that works).  To those people I say folk you:

Arkona - "Slavsia Rus"

Again, you're welcome.  The North American tour is almost over; here's your chance.

Dec 11: The Hangar, New Orleans LA
Dec 12: The Social, Orlando FL
Dec 13: Masquerade Music Park, Atlanta GA
Dec 14: Alrosa Villa, Columbus OH
Dec 15: JAXX, Springfield VA
Dec 16: The Reverb, Reading PA
Dec 17: Palladium, Worcester MA

If they are coming within a bear's punch of you, GO SEE THEM.  Did I mention they're from Russia? I don't think they get over here too often.  GO.

6 comments:

Phro said...

You know what's flowery Russia than North America? Japan.

You know what dates I don't see? Japanese.

Let's get the bears to fix that shit, eh?

islander said...

I saw Arkona and Korpiklaani in Seattle a week ago. I was 100% sold on Arkona. Couldn't take my eyes off Masha, and the music was so damned cool. There was a pretty packed, enthusiastic crowd for that set.

After Arkona finished, there was an anti-climactic feeling when Korpiklaani started, but damn, they really recovered -- played a long set and really got the whole place rockin hard. They seemed to be having so much fun that they didn't want to stop. I had never been terribly enthusiastic about Korpiklaani's recorded music, but they put on one HELL of a live show.

Ørsaeth said...

Unfortunately, I missed Korpiklaani and Arkona when they came to Vancouver (for the reason of lack of monies to buy a ticket with) but I am definitely a fan of both. Slovo really impressed me.

Also, I heard Polkadot Cadaver got a bad reaction from the crowd when they played their set before Arkona's.

valleyofsteel said...

Funny, as I am reading this post I am wearing my Arkona 2011 North American Tour t-shirt.

I agree: that Arkona was an amazing sight to behold, live; that they were a tough act to follow; that anybody who has a chance to see them should totally not hesitate; that Polkadot Cadaver were a horribly ill-conceived fit for this tour.

Trollfiend said...

Well, I was impressed by the turnout here for The Agonist/Blackguard/Alestorm/Kamelot so maybe Florida will surprise me and there will be a decent showing.

islander said...

Polkadot Cadaver was indeed a bizarre addition to that Korpiklaani/Arkona tour. The best thing they did in Seattle was a cover of "Billie Jean".

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