Out of Russia comes a band that is taking a rather unconventional route to get noticed. Instead of them creating commercial radio friendly singles in order to take off in Russia, Europe, and beyond, they are utilizing their talent in order to create their brand of metal to the masses. On January 19th, Arkona released their latest recorded entitled “Khram” via Napalm Records
So we can understand, “Khram” is the Russian word for temple. When we think of temples, we think of a place that is on holy sacred ground for whichever religion/faith that one chooses to partake in. It is a place that is not only sacred, but a place of refuge and solitude for its followers. It can also be a mystical place, a place that can bring about mystery especially if it appears desolate amongst a backdrop. A desolate location is where Arkona is likely talking about in the lyrics.
The intro was a lot to take in as it sounded lurking and a demonic in the intro, like something was lurking in the shadows. It would’ve been fine for a one-minute intro, but for someone that likes to absorb and take in the album, I ended up skipping through the intro as I felt that it was too drawn out for my liking.
The parts of the album that I did appreciate and enjoy was when they took a more opus feel to it, where they incorporated an angelic voice to go along with woodwind instrumentation and an atmospheric feel in the tracks “Tseluya zhizn” and “Rebionok bez imeni”. Those two tracks clock in with a total time of almost 29 minutes, yet it didn’t feel like it. The harmonics in the guitars and the rhythm section really told the story in the opuses of the two songs.
There are elements where it feels more chaotic and more black metal in the songs “khram” and “shtorm”. The vocals, when they do the screaming and the throat singing, were more difficult to digest, although the blending of the clean vocals in “khram” strangely worked, however, I cannot explain to you why it strangely worked, it just did. Case in point, in the track “V pogonie za beloj ten’yu”, it started off absolutely awesome with the classical piano arrangement, then it picked up, and then they went to the screaming almost chaotic feel, then it completely slowed down, again, a lot to take in, making it to where someone is going to have to listen to this a few times in order to maybe acquire a taste for it.
“Khram” by Arkona, has a couple of awesome opuses in the second and third track of the album that really showcases the talent of the band. It is quite difficult in this generation of instant gratification to make a 17 minute song be able to sustain your attention and Arkona successfully does that with those two aforementioned songs. However, when they sounded metal and chaotic(they classify themselves as black metal), it was hard to digest. Patience will be a virtue when it comes to this record, I just felt like the arrangements were all over the place, and I like it when it’s more seamless in the transitions and the progressions of the music. For those that are into bands like Dimmu Borgir or Kataklysm, then this will be your cup of tea. I will probably pull out this record for the two opuses again, but that’s all I got out of it. I rate this a 5 out of 10 stars. For those that are into this genre, I would give it an extra 3 stars, it’s just that they’re music is not for everyone, but I can recognize their talent in the music. Here is the track listing below. Overall, I prefer it when they get folk and atmospheric in their music as opposed to when they go black metal on the listener.
- Mantra (intro)
- Tseluya zhizn
- Rebionok bez imeni
- V pogonie za beloj ten’yu
- V ladonyah bogov
- Mantra (outro)
Arkona will be on tour with Korpiklaani, Heidevolk, and Trollfest! Check out tour dates below!