Arkona: Goi, Rode, Goi!

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Arkona: Goi, Rode, Goi!
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Arkona: Goi, Rode, Goi!
Folk Metal, Pagan Metal
Napalm Records
October 28th, 2009
Release length: 1:19:47
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Arkona‘s latest album, Goi, Rode, Goi! (which translates to Hail, Rod, Hail! and Rod being a Slavic God known to be the father of the universe), is one of those albums that, unless you speak or somewhat understand Russian, it’ll be a little hard to figure out whether the band is meant to be a silly entry into the Folk Metal world, or a serious one. At first glance, when things start, the album is a bit more uptempo and seems as though you should be downing pints of ale and dancing atop friends in a manner suiting to the period the music does it’s bes to emulate. However, it’s not long before the album does start to take a bit of a darker turn, and things become heavier and a bit more dire, which serves as a good thing considering what some of the songs stand for.

As stated, the start of the album comes off a bit silly, especially with the title track being a more victorious sounding track then anything. But then things get serious, and a hell of a lot heavier. Some of the tracks on here do have moments that seem to kind of kill the tension, such as with the track “Na Moey Zemle” and the bagpipes performance, or the more lighthearted Umpa (even Disco due to the bass) tinged Folk dance/jig-like tracks “Pamiat” and “Kupalets”, but doesn’t really interrupt the flow of the song. And, just as there is a wide array of emotions in the music throughout the album, as well as instruments, there are as many guests. Aside permanent member Vladimir Cherepovsky handling the flutes and bagpipes on this one, there are eighteen different guests involved on the project handling all the folkish instruments, as well as some additional vocals. While his may seem a bit too much or extravagant, it really serves two purposes for this album. The first being that most of these guests perform only on the track “Na Moey Zemle”, which is one of the best, and by far the longest, tracks off the album, and second being that it allows the actual band members more freedom to be able to approach their own instruments and concentrate on them to create the intense and hard hitting music that these guests only enhance.

There really isn’t much to say about this release that’s bad, musically the album is a very sound Folk Metal release. Each track on here has it’s own feel, as well as individuality when it comes to the music. The only real drag track on here would be “Pritcha” which is more of a spoken word interlude track with some ambient sounds in the background from the prior track, “Na Moey Zemle”, so it’s safe to assume that it is more of a conclusionary moment the band decided to keep seperate from the track. The dual vocals are nice throughout the album, and really works out for the lighter tracks. The only thing that feels odd would be the very out of place clean singing vocals on “Yarilo”, which do have some distortion on them, sounding as if they would be best used in a Demon Hunter song then here. Another issue with the album would be the production, as the quality just seems hollow when you first put it in. Once you become adjusted to it, it won’t bother you as much, but you can really hear it affect the drums as you go through, and once in a while there are moments that just sound way to jumbled that a better quality could have fixed.

Goi, Rode, Goi! is a great album that really stands out amongst the hordes of Folk and Pagan albums out there. The band does bring in a fun side to the music, but doesn’t beat that concept to death, and tries to stay serious throughout. Aside a few abrupt change ups in music, like during “Kolo Navi”, the music is solid, but could have been better with the help of a stronger production quality. Even the longer tracks on here are done well enough to hold your attention from start to finish and not begin to feel as if the band just decided to play the same riff or extend a certain bridge in an attempt to make the track longer and look more artsy. To be honest, once you hear “Na Moey Zemle” you’ll wish that there were more longer tracks like it on this release aside the closer track “Nebo Hmuroe, Tuchi Mrachniye”. If you have yet to hear Arkona, then Goi, Rode, Goi! is a must listen.

01. Goi, Rode, Goi! – 6:15
02. Tropoiu Nevedannoi (On The Unknown Trail) – 2:30
03. Nevidal (The Wonder) – 4:40
04. Na Moey Zemle (In My Land) – 15:09
05. Pritcha (The Parable) – 0:55
06. V Tsepiakh Drevney Tainy (In Chains Of Ancient Mastery) – 6:24
07. Yarilo – 6:24
08. Liki Bessmertnykh Bogov (Faces Of Immortal Gods) – 5:18
09. Kolo Navi (Kolo Of Nav) – 4:17
10. Korochun – 2:12
11. Pamiat (The Memory) – 5:46
12. Kupalets – 2:52
13. Arkona – 6:37
14. Nebo Hmuroe, Tuchi Mrachniye (Sullen Sky Lurid Clouds) – 10:27
Overall Score: 7.5/10

Digital review copy of this release provided by Napalm Records.