Arkona returned to New York to perform at a sold out performance with co-headliners Heidevolk and Helsott.

On Sept. 7,  Arkona kicked off their highly anticipated North American leg of their “Pagan Rebellion Tour” to a sold out crowd at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn. This event was made possible by its hard-working and devoted founder Irina “Helsinki” Crane of Helsinki Productions. Helsinki Productions was founded in order to promote local musicians and the folk metal genre.

The goal was to unite the heavy music community by promoting concerts, and showcasing local talent. What started out as an idea has grown into an entity that has become a force to be reckoned with. In just three years, it has  successfully sold out back to back shows featuring established international musicians. The future seems bright and it is intriguing to see what Helsinki Productions will come up with next in the coming months.

Kicking off the show was the local favorite Yonder Realm, with their high energy performance setting the tone for the evening. These guys are no strangers to the stage, they have provided support for various folk metal bands in the past. Recently, the band has gotten signed by Maple Metal Records and have re-released their debut album The Old Ways. Up next was California-based Helsott.

Their presence on this tour package was a nice contrast to their European Folk Metal comrades, after all the concept of American Folk Metal is still somewhat unusual. Their brand of death/folk metal featured the stunning soprano voice of Bri Steiner, whose flute playing provided a nice contrast to the brutal tone of vocalist Eric Dow. Towards the end of their set, they lovingly dedicated the song” The Healer” to a doctor friend of the band whose wife is battling breast cancer. The song was captivating on an emotional and technical level.

Despite their set being cut short, Helsott finished their performance on a positive note with”Honor Thy Valkyrie” to a room filled with fans who were singing along with their fists raised proudly in the air.

Up next came Heidevolk, who made their second trek to the U.S. soil to promote their latest album Velua. This was their first time in the U.S. with new vocalist Lars Nachbraeker, which only added to the excitement.

The band played fan favorites “Saksenland,” “Nehalennia,” and “Vugaris Magistralis.” Heidevolk finished their set with a promise to return to the states in the form of their only English song of the night, “Vinland,” an oath that their fans cannot wait for them to make good on. These guys are used to performing on large festival stages,  seeing them doing what they do best on such an intimate level was a moment not to be missed.

At last it was time for Arkona to take the stage. It has been two years since they have graced the New York City stage. From the moment the group began playing their opening song, the title track of their new release Yav, fans’ headbanged in unison with their fists in the air.

The relatively small venue felt as though it would get swallowed alive by the circle pit that was only getting bigger. Two years were definitely too long! The immense power and versatility of lead vocalist Masha Scream only added to the energy of the crowded venue. Her growls were on point and the raw emotion of her clean singing voice had left the crowd mesmerized.

Fans screamed as Arkona performed the fan favorite “Goi, Rode, Goi.” They also kept their promise to fans to play songs voted on their Facebook page. The included “Slovo,” “Po Syroi Zemle,” and “Vyjdu ya na volushku.” The night ended on a high note, as the group ended their encore in typical Arkona fashion with crowd favorites “Stenka na Stenku” and “Yarillo” to a room of chanting fans who did not want the show to come to an end.

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About The Author

Anya was born and raised in Donestk, Ukraine, and emigrated to NYC when she was 8 years old. In her early teens she discovered Power Metal and many artists from the European metal scene. Her passion for photography grew from her concert experiences. There is nothing more exciting than capturing those small moments on stage that musicians have with their instruments. She enjoys taking photos from the crowd and is not afraid to step into mosh pit to take photos of the fans in action. Photography has influenced Anya in other ways. When she's not in the photo pit she can be found teaching preschool where photography is a big part of my daily curriculum. Photography is more than a hobby it is a passion, which allows her to combine all her interests into one.

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