Label: Napalm Records
Date: June 16th, 2023
Humans… the highest and the most beautiful creation of the Gods, their messengers on Earth or, as Christianity says, men are made by the resemblance of the God. We are perfect by those words, ha? I think someone put high expectations there. We as controllers of our world put effort to hurt everything around us from our living space to other’s lives. Earth is angry and by all the bad situations that are happening in the world right now this is how she is getting back to us making our “Kob’” (destiny) really unpredictable. This is the name and the idea of the new album made by the most popular Russian pagan metal band Arkona. Maybe I said the point but there are much more things to say.
They made their appearance on stage twenty-one years ago as a refreshment in the metal world from far Russia. Their Slavic folk style and music is still making them one of the most unique metal bands. As the best representatives of their genre, they have nine full length albums. The last one “Khram” was published in 2018. It’s the same year of their last concert in Serbia. With that last album they made a step out of their traditional folk metal genre and by publishing “Kob’” they convinced their fans that they really are moving forward to darker depths. Some would say they completely changed but I don’t agree and I am going to explain why.
“Kob’” is one layered album of Arkona. From music, idea to lyrics and style this band really did make a huge step and surprised us fans who got used to their traditional music. With a whispered monologue “Izrechenie. Nachalo” Arkona gave us a hint of what we will be dealing with. Those whispering moments are something Arkona is known for and it gives a vibe of some magic spell. In albums like “Slovo” or “Vo slavu velikim” this is present all the time but surely gives goosebumps.
Although this is a conceptually made album, monologue which is overture opened us doors of story of human katabasis and our sins that made us miserable as we are. When it comes to music if we compare “Kob’” with their previous work, Arkona stepped into combo of black and death pagan metal. If nothing, “Kob’” song definitely will convince you of this. Even in the musical video, the dark side of pagan ancient world really fit into this musical death / black metal change. Next to video which is fantastically produced, this song is actually explains the message of the album and in my opinion next to “Razryvaya plot’ ot bezyskhodnosti bytiya” is the best song of the album.
In songs like “Ydi”, “Mor” or “Ugasaya” synth moments really surprised me and that’s what I consider as big change. Long doom riffs and guitar solos are not a mark of Arkona but that proves their musical abilities. Masha’s specific singing style and growls were always, as now, her way of expressing her feelings. Every scream here is on purpose and they hit really hard.
Okay, “Kob’” isn’t something you expected. There are no dancing Slavic melodies and okay, there is no vibe of beautiful Russian traditional village but this is something much more important. Earth is dying, we are primal cause of that and we should be ashamed. Masha, with her lyrics in “Ugasaya”, “Mor” and “Na zakate bagrovogo solntsa” really put an effort to explain us why are we actually killing ourselves. She, as true pagan warrior and someone who feels the nature, is hurt. She wrote her emotions on paper and “Kob’” was born.
There… That’s why this album is so dark, in some moments sad and awakes anxiety in your guts. Arkona stays true to themselves but this is something they had to say through their music because music is their sword. As someone who can identify as one of their biggest fans, I respect Arkona’s decision to present us themselves in different light. I actually always saw something dark in their songs and now with this it just got to the surface. Until their concert, I am going to let myself process this album. Even after reviewing it can’t lay down properly. The subject was hard and even harder is our “Kob’” we are making every day. All glory to Arkona! Слава!