POLISH BLACK METAL VETRANS ARKONA DELIVER THEIR BEST ALBUM TO DATE
Pioneers of the second wave of Polish Black Metal Arkona have delivered, including this latest offering 'Lunaris', six full lengths and an impressive collection of splits, demos and compilations since their inception in 1993.
This latest offering of six tracks spanning forty-seven minutes still encapsulates that original mood and atmosphere of their debut release, 1996s 'Imperium', but the passage of time and subsequent releases has seen them hone and fine tune those skills and features that emerged on that original classic release considerably.
Although there has been a lot of line-up changes over the six albums there is still the one constant member, Khorzon, covering guitars, bass, keyboards and samples and this current line-up is completed by their former live guitarist Nechrist along with Zaala on drums, both from Polish Black Metal band Taran and is the strongest yet, judging by the overall sound of this album which is bolstered by guest/session vocalist Necrosodom (Anima Damnata, Azarath) whose superb rasping vocal delivery cuts through the riffing like a rusty knife.
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All the lyrics once again are all in Polish giving a mystical quality; I like native tongue Black Metal for that very reason, especially when added to the well intonated delivery. Add to this, cascading rhythms over classic black riffing and well considered layers of orchestration along with a tempo that has both slower reflective movements and majestic yet intensely crushing segments and the overall effect is one that is haunting, intriguing and wholly engaging.
The whole album is a great listen end to end but there were two tracks which stood out in particular. 'Śmierć i odrodzenie'; I was drawn in right from the opening organ build which runs beneath pummelling precise drum work. It's rich with intense rolling waves of riffing, haunting melody and has slower mid-point movements that add reflective atmosphere. The whole track just sweeps you along in its wake.
The other was album title track 'Lunaris' which has a haunting yet intense quality and the extended vocal delivery is quite stunning.
The artwork for 'Lunaris', a stark yet stunning depiction, is by MentalPorn.com, and the album was recorded at both Church Of Chaos Studio and Metal Sound Studio, mixed and mastered at Left Hand Sounds and out on Debemur Morti Productions and available as either Digipack CD, Gatefold 12" LP available or Digital download.
Having heard much of the back catalogue by Arkona, this is for me definitely their finest to date. If you enjoy Black Metal with just enough orchestration to add melody, depth and texture but without being over symphonic you should find this a rewarding listen.