Stenka na Stenku (EP)

Written by: EW on 18/06/2011 14:12:55

My most reviewed band on are back and the folky treat Russian troupe Arkona have brought forth this time is an EP of material that, if it's any indication to their future direction, aims itself squarely at the burgeoning folk metal scene in full flow these days as the band are seen to be leaving some of their more serious, darker material in the past. Openers "Stenka na Stenku" and "Valenki" are done and dusted in less than 6 minutes; enough time for both to fly past at top speed in two bursts of carnival-esque, catchy-as-hell tunes that suggest if the band are moving into different territories it is one learned from their recent bouts of heavy touring across Europe. Gone is a lot of the (synthed-) backing music replaced in favour of battling riffs and a harsher tone from Masha 'Scream'.

The acoustic version of "Goi, Rode, Goi!", the title-track of their last album is much more the Arkona of old - slower, more passionately intimidating and in this case, an excellent reprise of a past track. "Skal" is backing to the original formula of the EP, with guest vocals from Freki of German paganisers Varg adding a decent backing to a song where the choral vocals seems to repeat the one German word everybody knows - Scheisse! - a fact I am sure to be almost certainly incorrect in, devoid as I am of a lyric sheet or knowledge of German (and Russian). "Duren'" is another slower affair, extolling the vocal talents of Masha and a more liberal uage of the band's favoured folk instruments to lead the way and closer "Noviy Mir" the most natural offering here and classic Arkona material to boot.

As a pre-cursor to their upcoming full length, "Slovo", this is a great listen and enticing for what is to come.

Download: Stenka na Stenku, Valenki
For The Fans Of: Korpiklaani, Turisas
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 01.06.2011
Napalm Records

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