I never get tired of repeating it, but metal is the gift that keeps on giving. Today I discovered Arkona through a stream of their new album (which is fucking rad) and low and behold, this is a band that’s been around since the 90’s and according to some has produced a couple of underrated black metal classics. Of course that peaked my interest, along with the really digging the new album so I figure what better place to start with this band then the very beginning with their first album.
Poland, as far as black metal goes, had a unique and interesting involvement with the scene in the 90s. They took a more native folk inspired route to their music and some of those early Polish black metal bands put out incredible material. But there weren’t that many of them back then so I was surprised that Arkona floated so far below my radar. Maybe I just didn’t realize and thought they were the Russian pagan/folk metal band of the same name, and just blew off anything about them. Whatever the reason, the mistake has been rectified.
This first album is a heavily Norse influenced, raw, symphonic take on black metal. It’s got the buzzy guitar sound, and the lo fi production quality typical of the early Norse sound. Given this albums fury, angry, evil vibe, plus those distant, haunting symphonic keyboards/organs, I would say it’s like the evil conjured forces of early Dimmu Borgir and Gehenna. Yeah, that evil. And fucking atmospheric. Nasty atmospheric.
This could very well be an overlooked black metal classic. Poland has a few of those laying around and this one fits right in. If you like your black metal raw and evil, this is the thing for you.
You can get all their albums at their Bandcamp page.