Arkona

Lepta (Reissue)

Written by: EW on 26/12/2008 22:50:22

“Lepta", also originally released in 2004, represents more of a small step forward rather than giant leap for Arkona, bearing a sound recognisable to anyone who knew "Vozrozhdenie" well as the synth of Dimmu and Nightwish, coupled with Masha's femininised screams and the folk element of Turisas (undeniably used heavily before Turisas broke it big) give the band a fairly unique sound. While "Lepta" does have some good songs in it's cast, the flow and element of catchiness has somewhat deteriorated from "Vozrozhdenie". "Lepta O Gneve" stereotypes much of "Lepta" - the early section of the song being basically BM (think Satyricon) and it's second half merging bouncy folk-infused choral chanting and dramatic synth for atmospheric purposes, of course. While one can appreciate the fact Arkona have gone for varied dynamics within songs, it could be noted that less genre hopping within the structure of songs wouldn't be a bad thing. The greatness of Turisas' "Battle Metal", the defining folk metal album for me, is down to the usage of a colourful palette with it's tones being used sparingly to create stronger, more involving sections that don't jump around like a hyperactive child on Christmas sugar.

Because of Arkona's tendency to change track on a frequent basis, much like "Vozrozhdenie", the songs within "Lepta" are not the most varied and by the end have begun to lose much of what made them interesting at the beginning. The negative reaction that you may have perceived from this review is not the indication of a bad record, just that of a band yet to know what works best for them. Like many other bands where the most attention is on the singer, the music within can be seen to be lacking in purpose and direction - in "Vyidu Ya Na Volushky" the riffing sounds shallow and forced, existing it seems as the interlude to the more entertaining periods of folkiness that come round every so often. Thankfully with so much attention given to Masha's Sabina Classen-like (Holy Moses) vocals it's lucky her convinction is hard to fault throughout, and though I haven't a clue what exactly she is singing, the decision to sing only in Russian is to be admired given the Slavonic pride upon which Arkona are arguably built. Another solid, if unspectacular album, from a band still on the ascendancy at this point.

5

Download: Lepta O Gneve, Vyidu Ya Na Volushky
For The Fans Of: Turisas, Forefather, Korpiklaani
Listen: Myspace
Buy: iTunes

Original release date 30.12.2004
Sound Age Productions (original release)
Vic Records (re-issue)

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