Arkona – Goi, Rode, Goi!
Rating: 4.0/5.0 – Gripping and great, but too damn long
Label: Napalm Records
Website(s): arkona-russia.com | myspace.com/arkonarussia
Release Date(s): EU: 30.10.2009 | US: 11.02.2009
Sure, folk metal is Europe’s deathcore, but somehow it’s so much more enjoyable as a genre! It probably has something to do with the accordions. Oh, and the lack of breakdowns. If folk metal is Europe’s deathcore, than I’d have to say that Arkona is the equivalent of The Red Chord or Between the Buried and Me: so much better than the genre-title implies. Many have come to associate folk metal with the silliness of Korpiklaani and written it off as too much for their tastes. Then there are other people who get a little bit nervous about the sort of nationalistic shit that could easily be associated with a band like Arkona in a land where right wing extremists are definitely an issue. But as far as this Angry Metal Guy is concerned: Arkona is not your average folk metal band and Goi, Rode, Goi! is definitely not your average folk metal record.
No, instead Goi, Rode, Goi! is an gripping and eclectic folk metal album filled with everything that I like about folk metal: the accordions, the mouth harps and the catchy-as-hell melodies. Then, using that formula, they add in very smartly used keyboard “orchestras” and even harmonized “lai, lai, lai” sections. The music is well-paced, though mostly fast enough to encourage copious amounts of headbanging and, generally epic as hell.
There are a couple of things that stood out to me, as well. While many bands push their way from one record to the next using the same style and writing songs that are nearly indistinguishable from their previous album, Arkona seems to have completely avoided this trap. While Goi, Rode, Goi! definitely shares elements with Ot Serdca K Nebu it is actually much less death metal influenced than the previous album. Instead this record shares a lot more in common with Finntroll and Ãsmegin and other more black metal influenced folk metal on this album. This isn’t necessarily an improvement, as I was pretty fond of how brutal Ot Serdca K Nebu got, but in general it works. And since the band produced Goi, Rode, Goi! in about a year since the last album, I’d say it’s definitely worth the change.
Honestly, this record is pretty awesome. I think my only complaint is that it’s a little too long. By the end I’m pretty much ready for it to go away. I think one bad thing about the dawn of the CD was the idea that bands should use the whole thing, instead of saving material for other projects. While some people like long CDs, I find that if a disc overstays its welcome then I never listen to the whole thing after the first couple listens unless it’s The Wall. Sure, the melodies and rhythms and speed are addictive and they’re fun to listen to, but there are actually few chances when someone has an hour and 19 minutes to spend listening to an album.
But how often does a reviewer get to say “they give us too much!” This album is great and while it’s maybe not genre defining (since the genre defining stuff happened before these guys got signed), it is still an excellent album in the folk metal genre and totally worth your time and effort. I strongly suggest you pick this album up if you like the genre even a little bit. Arkona does it extraordinarily well.