With 2014’s Yav, Arkona fully projected themselves onto my pagan metal radar screen. Even though they’d cranked out some seven studio albums since 2004, it somehow took ’em until last year to really leave an impression on me. With instrumental diversity and impressive vocal work from Masha Scream, Arkona offer a unique take on a genre that can tend to lack exactly that. As a result, the positive reception of Yav was very much deserved. And now, with the new music video for “Zov pustyh dereven’,” we can finally combine Yav’s sound with imagery.
On the whole, Yav presents a variety of styles and emotional qualities that make for an exceptionally enjoyable listen. It’s dark at times, yet still maintains a certain folk quality that’s far less burdensome. “Zov pustyh dereven’,” however, is extremely sinister. The melancholy environment created around its listeners is immediately apparent and never wanes, generating parallels to more traditional black metal styles rather than folk or pagan.
But with a varying pace enhanced by entrancing violin work and plenty of deviation in vocals from Masha, Arkona stay true to form. Her performance here really is one to appreciate. Obviously she has an incredibly unique sound to her voice in both clean and harsh styles, but the way she fluctuates from one sound to another truly is impressive. She adds another element to the overall sound that few other singers can match in any genre. So, overall, “Zov pustyh dereven'” is quite the listen.
But we’re here to talk about the video. Our location is one of little surprise, I’m sure: a standalone home in a dark forest, shot in black and white. An elderly woman wanders out for water, while simultaneously, a man of a younger generation (perhaps her son?) is moving with haste in her direction. It becomes quickly obvious that their lives are somehow connected, for in the woman’s return she collapses to her death. At the same instant in time, the man also loses his footing. Eventually, he reaches her home to find her dead just outside. Through this story, we frequently cut to images of Masha Scream as she howls out the accompanying vocals. The imagery is stunning, with incredible footage of the landscape, and the tale is one of loss and pain. In short, it accompanies the music well. But that’s just my take. Take a look and listen below.
“Ein Bier… bitte.”