Arkona – “Slovo”

(Napalm Records)

Russian pagan metal band Arkona have been making quite a stir on the live circuit especially after the release of their “Goi, Rode, Goi!” EP that saw them expand their sound as well as their audience. Now with “Slovo” it all comes together in showing a band that has come of age in bringing together the elements making up Arkona from the folk to the shamanic to metal, all with a distinct Russian flavour complete with Stalin’s singing masses and da-da-da groove! “Slovo” is also the band’s most ambitious project to date, bringing together orchestras and choirs like on the intro ‘Az’ before the metal suddenly assaults you like a T34 tank brigade and Masha’s macho vocals kick in. On the more upbeat tracks like ‘Leshiy’ there is an almost dance beat but elsewhere like on the delicate folk melody of ‘Tam Za Tumanami’ show the incredible, yet genuine diversity this band have. This is probably no more apparent than on the spoken word prayer of ‘Predok’ where’s Masha’s hushed, almost ghostly echoed words give way to the battle cries of ‘Nikogda’. But for me, it is the epic closer of ‘Zimushka’ that brings it all home, with it’s tempered tribal drumming, wailing trance like vocals and folk flutes, producing a strong spiritual vibe that gives a very ancient feel to this song. If you only buy one album of this genre this year then simply make it this one, as you will be simply not be disappointed.

Coma Divine – “Dead End Circle”

Coma Divine
“Dead End Circle”
(SPV / Oblivion)

This is the latest symphonic and gothic rock creation from regarded dance, art and vocal talent Sonja Kraushofer, who is well known for singing in L’Ame Immortelle and Persephone. But this band is different. Right from the album cover of a burned out child’s doll to the West Coast nu metal meets electro goth sound complemented by the band’s own post apocalyptic look (straight outta ‘The Crow’), they sorta remind me of Coal Chamber when I first heard the upbeat opener ‘Burn Sister’, to the bass end heavy ‘About A Girl’. But elsewhere like on ‘Secret Lover’ it’s pretty much straight goth rock a la The Mission or the brooding emotional epic ‘Praise The Fallen’, complete with cellos and violins. Sure to appeal to zillions of tennie goth chicks with mascara running, mebbe there’ll be a few guys in there too LOL!

CORNERSTONE “Somewhere In America”

“Somewhere In America”
(Atom Records)
Everything about this album screams America. Yet I’m not too sure that they’ll break big in America. Don’t get me wrong. Cornerstone are not bad but they don’t seem that conformist too make it big on radio in the US. What struck me the first time was how much the first track made me think of Jingo De Lunch. Continue reading

ENTRAILS “The Tomb Awaits”

“The Tomb Awaits”
(Dark Descent/FDA Rekotz)
The album cover might look like an Entombed cover at a distance but this is Entrails second album. I missed out completely on the first one but this time I’m on top of things. This is old school death metal the Swedish way. Think the break of the 80s and 90s. Think Grave, Dismember, Entombed, Carnage etc. and you get a pretty good picture of where this will take you. Continue reading