Rarog (Рарогъ) is another fine example of the huge Russian pagan folk metal scene. They were formed in 2004 and their debut album “Аз Бога Ведаю!” came out in 2006. After many line-up changes and a long absence they returned last year with the amazing “Взойди Солнце”. In 2012 they offer us their 3rd full-length “Сыны Сокола” released like their previous one by the largest Russian label of the genre, SoundAge Productions.
Рарогъ try to build their personal sound, following the footsteps of bands like Arkona and Alkonost. So they play Slavonic pagan metal, with the characteristic dialogues between epic folk female vocals and brutal black metal screams. Their beautiful singer Aleksandra “Rys” Sidorova has a more staccato and loud way of singing and her vocals don’t sound too soft and ethereal. She chooses a more folkloric epic way of singing and she is quite good at it. There are only a few parts where I believe she should control her voice better and everything would be perfect. I think this album is faster and more aggressive than most works of the genre, still very melodic. Of course they use many traditional and classical instruments, combining them with somehow faster guitar riffs and drums, in a very harmonic and balanced result. Even though I believe their production could be much better, I still like their sound very much, because everything sounds very natural. There are 11 songs in “Сыны Сокола” with a total duration of almost 45 minutes. Their compositions are all very interesting, with a lot of variations in tempo and power, moving from acoustic folk, to epic ballads, folk metal and brutal pagan metal. Except for female vocals, Рарогъ have also male vocals, mostly in black/death style, but they have added some amazing choirs that give a very majestic epic tone to some of their songs! Like most Russian pagan metal bands their lyrics are in their native language. They have also covered Manowar’s “Blood of my Enemies” in a hardly recognizable, thus very interesting, Russian version entitled “Кровь Наших Врагов“.
“Сыны Сокола” is an album that pagan folk metal fans will appreciate, especially if they are into Russian bands. Рарогъ is a group with only quality releases so far and I wish they continue this way in the future, hoping for a better production to advance their rich orchestrations. The amazing cover artwork is by Kris Verwimp, who did also an excellent job in the inner pages of the booklet with many illustrations. You can follow the links below to get a personal taste of their music.