Live at The Key Club

Hollywood, California

December 7th, 2011

Review and Photos by Travis Baumann

Arkona revolve around a fair skinned, blonde haired woman who ensconced herself in leather and coyote pelts as she powerfully took control of the room.

This woman, despite being attractive and feminine, was also entirely dominant, violent, and forceful. While I would normally say this would scare the shit out of me, her charisma as an incredible stage persona, was unbelievably enamoring.

The band Arkona, consists of four men of high caliber talent building songs of Pagan Metal power but also adding an extremely inspirational note with the execution of ancient sounds and structures in modern clarity with songs that resonate through all time periods. These men are fronted by the aforementioned heroine.

They had moments of medieval bagpipes, lutes, leers, and percussion, accompanied by melodic female vocalizations that would suddenly turn into growled calls of aggression accompanied by building metal guitars and bass.

It was one of those indescribable moments that once you experience it, it pulls you eternally into Pagan Folk Metal, and in its heights, is a feeling akin to religious fervor that stirs in you. You feel their strength and vibrant energy run straight through their music.

It was incredible how the lead singer could build these atmospheres that brought to mind traditional chanting of native cultures combined with this aggressive medieval, almost barbarian intensity.

It was spellbinding and inspirational and was exactly what I needed to hear in all its building, intense, and expertly executed songs of power.

The audience was completely in their thrall and loved every moment they were on stage. When they left at the end of their set, they had resounding chanting for their return, but due to their position on the tour were not able to give the crowd what they wanted.

I brought two friends unaccustomed to their sound and they both were instantly won to the Arkona camp. The perfect mixture of modern metal with medieval sounds, funneled through their uniquely Russian background, puts sounds and emotions previously untapped in the veins.

Arkona sing entirely in their native tongue but perhaps use dialects and words not often sang about in modern times even in their own country. Their medieval tunics and pelts lent the appropriate mood that combined perfectly with their medieval slant on music.

Hailing from Russia, this was their first North American undertaking and they were direct support for Korpliklaani, a Pagan metal band out of Finland that are reknowned for their drinking songs.

Arkona definitley stole the show, as they offered a powerhouse of energy mixed with a very unique sound in an already unique genre.

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