And the ALKONOST history lesson continues with “Kamennovo Serdtsa Krov”. After “Pesni Vechnogo Dreva” had taken songs off their 2000 album “Songs Of The Eternal Oak” and their 2001 demo “Spirit Tending To Revolt”, this eight-tracker goes even further back into the beginnings of the Russians, taking songs off their first demos from 1996, back then still with English lyrics, really showing us, what everything sounded at the start of their career.
And the mix of styles (Gothic, Doom, Folk) already was in place, albeit for obvious reasons less refined yet, but that does not mean that what we get here is inferior material, as the potential clearly is coming through already, with the kind of beauty and the beast type vocal interplay between growls and female vocals, these great lead guitar melodies and varied song writing, but there is one quite surprising difference and that is the increased use of choirs on these songs, which, in my opinion, adds a lot to the songs and makes them sound even more complete and full.
The amazing level of quality throughout their whole career really makes me think, why there haven’t been any bigger labels out there scooping ALKONOST up, because they would deserve it at least as much as ARKONA, who also deservedly are seeing releases via Napalm and Vic (their back catalogue) now. Listen to the playful guitar of “Vremya Yarosti” and tell me that this is not something to lure people in and conjure up images of the forest and lush, rolling grasslands, which is furthered by the very nice implementation of a choir to continue building the atmosphere, great song!
I had described “Pesni Vechnogo Dreva” as beautiful and that also fits this CD like a glove, very organic and warm, if you already know ALKONOST’s newer works, then this is a great opportunity to check out their past, if you are a newbie, this is as good of a starting point as the new albums, if you have any affinity towards the mentioned styles, you should not be disappointed by the Russians, as they are among the best bands this country has ever produced!
(Online November 27, 2008)