Jen found me another group to review, and this time they come from Russia; between them and the Ukraine there is a huge metal community I am finding out. Once again, she was right, and I really liked what this group was doing, so here is my review of Alkonost’s album, Песни белой лилии (Songs of the White Lily).
Alkonost comes from Naberezhnye Chelny,Tatarstan, Russia, and plays what their Facebook page calls, Epic Folk Metal. Well, it is epic, and definitely in Russian, because I can’t understand a word of it, or read it for that matter. However, I stress that you do not let these small details dissuade you from listening to this album, because the language barrier means absolutely nothing when it comes to music; it’s all about feeling, and sound. The group is fronted by Ksenia Pobuzhankaya, whose voice brings to mind acts like Epica, Eluveitie, and Tarja Turunen (minus the overuse of the soaring highs that Tarja employs, Ksenia uses these types of vocals sparingly). Musically, I would place them in the lines of Korpiklaani, Finntroll, Eluveitie, and bands of that nature. I love the genre, and completely enjoyed what Alkonost has created with this album.
Folk metal has long been in the musical community, and with television shows like the History Channels Vikings, and really the whole pagan resurgence, it seems to be looming ever larger. It is able to capture the essences of cultures with rich heritages, and spread knowledge of these cultures to people who otherwise would never have known of them. I mean, look at Wardruna (not metal per se, but it helps to prove my point), whose albums tell of the Viking runes that were discovered by The All-Father, Odin; they spread this knowledge through their music, helping to ensure that the runes will not be lost amongst the rubble of history. Alkonost adds to this great genre with their own brand of folk metal, and I truly wish I spoke Russian so I knew what Ksenia was singing about; I’m sure that they probably speak of similar cultural topics though.
The album is full of metallic edge, yet has all the folk music trimmings. The last two songs are acoustic, and beautifully performed. “Русалка”, means Mermaid, and sounds Celtic as far as the music goes. When the song is stripped down this way you can really hear the folk elements, and it is a wonderful track. The 2nd acoustic song is called “Птица-Печаль”, which means Bird Sorrow according to Google Translate. This is another beautiful example of what folk music can be, there’s violin and piano (2 of my favorite instruments), and mandolin I believe, alongside the acoustic guitar. Ksenia’s performance on these two tracks is amazing, and these acoustic numbers help show how talented Alkonost really is.
Overall, this is a fantastic album, and will wrap around you with its folk meets metal arms, hugging you tightly, and ruining your hearing with its greatness. Песни белой лилии (Songs of the White Lily) by Alkonost is worthy of checking out, so please, go and do so today!!!
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