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City: Moscow
State/Province: Moscow City
Country: Russian Federation
Genre: Battle / Folk Metal
Label: Napalm Records
Times Viewed: 662
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The roots of Arkona are to be searched for in the beginning of 2002, when the members of local pagan community Vyatichi  Maria Scream Arhipova and Alexander Warlock Korolyov decided to form a band, according to their ideology and musical tastes.

Initially, the band was called Hyperborea, it consisted of: Maria Scream Arhipova (vocal), Eugene Knyazev (guitar), Eugene Borzov (bass-guitar), Ilya Bogatyryov (guitar), Alexander Warlock Korolyov (drums), Olga Loginova (keyboard). In February 2002 the band was renamed into Arkona. The musical materials of the band were pagan/folk metal based and the lyrics had an idea of ancient national beliefs and history of Slavonic Russia .

In the end of the year it was decided to record several songs as a demo-record. The process of recording took place in December 2002, at CDM-Records studio. The demo consisted of 3 tracks  Kolyada, Solntsevorot and RusNow this record is included into live-play album Zhizn vo slavu (2006) as bonus material.

Since the beginning of 2003 the band has started its concert activity. Many people heard them for the first time at Yazycheskaya Rus fest, which was held 8th February 2003 at Estakada club. Other bands that took part there were Butterfly Temple , Pagan Reign, Svarga, Rossomahaar.

Until summer 2003 the band performed a few local concerts, and then the question of debut LP recording was raised.   Unfortunately, by that time, several band members had lost interest for the further musical creativity, and in September 2003 the band Arkona dissapears.

Maria decided to keep on solo and asks her Nargathrond project mates for help in recording an opening LP. She got all the orchestration written down and musicians obtained them for learning and training. By March 2004 the first LP Vozrozhdenie was recorded without even a single rehearsal.

Nowadays this LP is spread all over the world and has received its recognition. It is recognized as one of the most successful Slavonic pagan metal LP ever. Immediately after studio work, Maria dedicates herself to the creation of new songs, and by the end of summer 2004 the material for the second album Lepta was ready. It was recorded the following autumn with the same musicians. The album was released in December 2004 and, though LP continues the same old themes from Vozrozhdenie, it is done in more dark and gloomy style. In the recording of this LP (as in the recording of previous one) took part a poet and vocalist Lesyar ( Nevid, ex-Butterfly Temple ), not only as a performer, but also as lyrics writer (the song Zarnitsy Nashei Svobody). By the moment of LP release, Arkona revived as a band - it consisted of musicians, which took part in recording of two first LPs. They were: Sergey Lazar (guitar), Ruslan Knyaz (bass-guitar), Vlad Artist (drums). Since the beginning of the year 2005 the band could be seen again performing live.

Irrepressible creativity of Maria doesnt let her stop and by summer 2005 the band starts recording the third LP, the most complicated and varied album Vo Slavu Velikim. The band decided to give up on using any synthesized instruments and used real ethnic instruments, so the list of musicians, that took part in this recording, considerably extended. One of the invited was a famous folk-musician Vladimir Cherepovskiy (Mervent, ex- Voinstvo Sidov, Veter Vody, Trio Mario) and members of bands Svarga and Alkonost.

The orchestration for the songs sometimes included over 100 record tracks, but the band overcame these difficulties and in September 2005 the LP gone gold. During its presentation the live performance was recorded and was released as a DVD and also included into live LP Zhizn vo Slavu.   In May 2007 Arkona started recording the 4th album Ot Serdca K Nebu (From Heart to the Skies), where the previously started theme of the rebirth of culture and native Slavic religion found its continuation.

As for the music of this album, it represents the mix of modern metal styles: from brutal death metal (Shrouds of Celestial Sage) and raw black metal (Over the Abyss of Ages) up to beautiful ballad rock (Oh, My Sorrow, My Anguish) and lofty epic metal (Long live Rus!, Kolo Rolls), and also somber doom (The Arrow).

All the variety is saturated with the atmosphere, characteristic for all works by Arkona, and plenty of Slavic folk. As it was on the previous record, all parts of ethnic wind instruments were composed by a very special musician, a specialist in ancient music, Vladimir Cherepovsky (gaita, gallega, small pipe, hurdy-gurdy, tin whistle, low whistle, sopilka, pipes, pan flute, ocarina, zafun). Also the vocalists of the Byelorussian folk choir Gostitsa took part in recording.

The design of the album cover was developed by the famous Belgian artist Kris Verwimp.

The March of 2008 was a turning point for the band. Arkona performed as one of the headliners at the biggest European pagan metal fest called Ragnarok Festival V. The performance was eagerly supported by more than 5000 pagan metal fans from every part of the world.

When they got home, there was a nice surprise waiting for them: a proposition to sign a contract with one of the biggest European labels Napalm Records, concerning the release of the album Ot Serdca K Nebu and future works of the band.

After Napalm Records released it, the band went on a 30-day tour in Europe, which ended with the performance at the great festival called BRUTAL ASSAULT.

Back at home the band decided not to go on a long hiatus and in October 2008 started working on their 5th album Goi, Rode, Goi.

The level maintained on the album Ot Serdca K Nebu was very high, but the band aimed to make a very unique album, something that had never been done before by them.

In the breaks during recording the band managed to release and present the second DVD Noch Velesova in May 2009 at Napalm Records, and also Arkona performed at the German festival Winternoise.

The work on the album was finished only in June 2009, and we can say now that it was the most laborious and time-taking recording, where more than 40 musicians participated.

For the first time the band used a full-fledged chorus and a string quintet, and the special pearl of this album is the 15-minute saga Na Moey Zemle which is about the adventures of a Slav in European countries, with the participation of the musicians from such bands as Manegarm, Obtest, Skyforger, Menhir and Heidevolk.

The parts of ethnical instruments on this album are performed partly by Vladimir Cherepovsky and partly by Vladimir Volk, who has become a full-blown member of Arkona recently.

The album cover design was done by Kris Verwimp, known to many. He carried out enormous work drawing a series of conceptual illustrations for each song of this album.
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