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Pagan Fest - Arkona Live in Eindhoven

Pagan Fest - Arkona Live in Eindhoven, March 3, 2013

The first encounter with Arkona was on the Female Metal Voices Fest 2012 in Wieze (Belgium). Their energetic and interesting gig at that event made it a no-brainer when they visited my hometown in The Netherlands for a show as part of the Pagan Fest. They lined up with Bornholm, Wolfchant, Ex Deo, Thyrfing and Alestorm.


I was in the lucky position that de Effenaar arranged a short visit to the band before the show. Because their English is very poor it was challenging to communicate. Anyway, through the manager they expressed that they were very happy to be able to play as part of the Pagan Fest and that they are pleasantly surprised by the support outside Russia. All their songs are in Russian and most visitors are not able to understand Russian. I see it as evidence that music unites even without speaking the same language. I also got the new special celebration live album "Decade of Glory" signed by the band.

As said the songs are in Russian and responsible for almost all songs is Maria Arichipova better known as Masha "scream". If you meet her back stage she's a friendly, tiny and fragile looking lady, almost completely the opposite when on stage. Not that she's tall on stage but for sure you can't overlook her. She's dominantly present and constantly bringing her energy to band and crowd.

Arkona played as the one before last. The Fest opened with Bornholm and Wolfchant. During their shows I was backstage. When I came back to the concert area at the end of Wolfchant's gig, the security guy asked me if I really wanted to go in there because he never heard so much noise before. Looking from his viewpoint to the crowd, I immediately realized the music wasn't his taste, the audience seemed to be very happy with what happened on stage. Some in the crowd were really well prepared for the Paganfest, Viking helmets, many pirate outfits and a lot of horns for beer. They had a good time.

Ex Deo from Canada did a good show and illustrated by their Roman appearance in the gig how they are known in the metal world. They play Symphonic Death Metal with roots in ancient Roman history and mythology.

Ex Deo

Before Arkona the Vikings from Sweden landed on stage. The way Thyrfing brings their music is like the Vikings concurred the world. Come to land, concur and leave the crowd devastated. It was a perfect warming-up.


And now Arkona, why I was at Pagan Fest. They opened with ''Kolo Navi'', a song that almost directly proved why it's Marsha ''scream''. But it goes quickly over into Arkona’s typical more traditional Russian folk, garnished with a good portion of metal.


In the opening of the next song ' Zakliatie'' Masha shows that she can do more than scream, the almost a cappella opening ends in again a song where traditional and metal combine very well. The traditional instruments (gaita gallega - bagpipe, flute) played by Vladimir Reshetnikov (Volk) are integrated in a natural way.

In the second part of the show Arkona had a kind of cooling down with a almost classic idyllic "Slav'sja, Rus'''. And then full speed ahead with '"Arkona", referring to the band's name. They closed with "Yarilo". This song could be seen as a reprise of all the elements that is comprised in their music; scream, guitars, gaita, traditional, folk., metal ... all in a mix that's was highly appreciated by the crowd.


The energy of Masha and her ''gang'' -- Ruslan Rosomaherov (''Kniaz'', bass), Vladimir Reshetnikov ("Volk", gaita, flute) Vlad Lyovushkin Sokolov (''Artist'', drums) and Sergei Atrashkevich ("Lazar", guitar) -- was clearly transmitted to the audience. And they all loved it.

The closing act was Alestorm. You don't need to ask these Scot's about their favorite hobby. Their music refers to pirates, drinking and adventure. The show brought the pirate feelings up in the mind of the crowd. It became a big Fest including crowd surfing, maybe a little influenced by the length of the Fest.


I had a great evening. Although I primarily came for Arkona, the other bands created with the crowd a great evening. And I enjoyed it too.