The Pagan Rebellion tour made its way to the legendary Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood, California. The tour featured Russian folk metal band Arkona and Estonian folk metal band, Metsatöll. Italian dwarves Wind Rose were supposed to be part of the tour, but were forced to drop out due to visa issues. Even with these two bands, it was still a great lineup for European metal fanatics to enjoy. The Whisky was alive with metalheads even on a Wednesday night.
Metsatöll released their seventh studio album earlier this year titled Katk Kutsariks. As you have probably noticed, Metsatöll right their titles in their native Estonian language. Translating the names and lyrics of their songs can be tricky given that there is no real English translation. Regardless, European metal fanatics are known for not caring about language and care more about the music itself which is a good thing. Metsatöll came out and started the show with toona. Right away, you could feel the energy that Metsatöll gives off. The first thing you’ll notice is that aside from traditional band instruments, Metsatöll also makes heavy use of their culture by adding bagpipes, whistles, flutes and other traditional folk instruments. Metsatöll next played the title track from their newest album, Katk Kutsariks. Metsatöll kept the energy up and made the audience sing and dance as they played fun folk songs like Kivine maa, Ebavere, Kurjajuur and See on see maa. The band members were very energetic as they ran around on stage with nothing but smiles and made sure the fans were having the time of their lives. Metsatöll finished their performance with Metsaviha 2 then left the stage for the headlining band of the night.
Arkona released their eighth studio album Khram in 2018. Their lyrics are influenced by Russian folklore and Slavic mythology. Singer Maria “Masha Scream” Arkhipova sings her music in her native language of Russian. The lights went out and the band members came out one by one with Masha being the last one to go on stage. She started beating on her drum center stage which was also covered by a big bull-like skull. It was the intro track, Mantra. The first track played was Shtorm. Right away you can hear the folk metal music which sound beautiful yet brutal combined with Masha’s growls. The next tracks played were Tseluya zhizn’ and Khram. Arkona has a great stage presence with all the band members actively moving around on stage and interacting with one another. Lots of headbanging was also seen as well as singing along by fans. Arkona never had a dull moment on stage as they played hits like Goi, Rode, Goi!, Zakliatie, Arkaim and Stenka na Stenku. Masha showed off her impressive vocal range with a mix of traditional folk metal growls and beautiful clean chants. The show seemed to be over at one point, but the fans kept chanting the band’s name. Arkona listened and came back out for an encore. The encore was one of their most popular songs, Yarilo. It was the last chance the fans had to let loose and they did not disappoint. Arkona finished up the show, bowed and left the stage once again. A great performance by one of Pagan metal’s best bands and for sure the Hollywood crowd can’t wait until Arkona returns.