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Nice, relaxing black/folk-infused metal - 84%

SvalbardDave, January 21st, 2008

Alkonost has been around for quite awhile in the timeline of black/folk metal. The six-member beauty-and-the-beast formula that was popularized by most widely-known Nightwish is present here. Their sound, however, is their own and nobody else's.

This recording, Pesni Vechnogo Dreva, is a partially re-recorded collection of songs from earlier works Songs of the Eternal Oak and Spirit Tending to Revolt. Different from their other recordings, you can hear a better balance of vocal styles on this one: baritone death vocals, clean male vocals of different types and operatic female singing.

The melodies on this album can be very haunting and mesmerizing, that is, if you are the type of listener to seek out melody and musical theme. Take, for instance, "Solntse Nashei Zemli", the second piece on the album, that has a one-bar, ballad-pace guitar riff in a major key, which is somewhat unusual in folk music, let alone folk metal. It stands out as a melody that will stick with you long after the album is done. For the most part, you can definitely hear a strong influence of black metal as well as folk, and Alkonost delivers the style very competently.

All of the songs on this album, save one, are in a ballad pace, which has the potential to bore some fans of folk metal who might want a rousting, rollicking tune now and then. The last song on the recording, "Den Posledniy Moi" is the lone exception, a slightly more upbeat number that nicely rounds out the eight-piece album.

While the fact that most of the songs on this recording come off sounding the same might bother some listeners, one can also choose to look at it as "sticking to what is proven to work."