Arkona - Slovo

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Nobody could say that Arkona aren't a productive band. Whilst not exactly in the big leagues as far as folk metal is concerned, Arkona have built a solid reputation, being held in high regard even by the most staunchest of folk metal critics. Some of this reputation can probably be traced back to the band's schizophrenic musical palette, exemplified by lead singer Maria "Masha Scream" Arhipova and her shifts between full black metal scream, traditional Russian folk singing and just about everything in between. This in some ways is a very good trait to have – don't like the heavy black blasts of Bol'no Mne? Well don't worry, because polka jig Leshiy is only a few minutes away, and the epic, nearly symphonic Zakliatie is straight after that. With that in mind, Slovo is mostly a very entertaining record, with enough unusual ideas to keep the album interesting and diverse through its run time. There are times where it desperately feels lacking a real identity though; the band are very capable of putting together a wide selection of folk metal songs, but what they lack in general is consistency. The album feels all over the place, with little keeping it together. When all is said and done, Slovo is an imaginative and lively album, but its continuous style shifts can come at the cost of making Arkona feel oddly generic, even when they really aren't. Thankfully, though, this doesn't stop Slovo having a good tune or two, and that is the most important thing.

Written by James Donovan
More: 2011, Albums, Folk Metal, Quick.Play Reviews,

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