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.