|Alkonost is a Russian folk metal band formed in Naberezhnye Chelny, Tatarstan, Russia in 1995. The current lineup consists of Elk - Guitars; Alex 'Nightbird' Solovyov - Bass, Vocals; Anton - Drums; Almira - Keyboards; Alyona - Vocals; Dmitriy Sokolov - Guitars. Starting small and gradually building a local Russian fanbase, they are now known to rock fans throughout Eastern and Northern Europe.
The band is best known amongst heavy metal fans in their native country of the Russian Federation. However, their music has been discussed and shared on the internet, particularly on Newsnet, and they have found new audiences in Nordic Europe. Signed to Metalism Records, their albums are available with English titles, although the songs themselves are predominantly sung in Russian. In 2007, for the first time, the band was able to perform outside of Russia, touring Ukraine, Belarus, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, where they were warmly received.
The band's material is based on Viking and Russian pagan mythology, and the melodies are drawn from indigenous Russian folk music, but the arrangements and riffs are drawn from power metal, death metal and symphonic metal, consisting of simplistic power chords under intricate "shredding" lead guitar (characteristic of power metal), male guttural rasping vocals (found in death metal) and soaring female operatic vocals (as found in symphonic metal). This has led them to be categorised in all these genres, as well as doom metal and folk metal.
The band was the brainchild of bass guitarist Elk who was interested in the idea of fusing Russian folk music with Heavy Metal. After recording some experimental demos he decided to switch to lead guitar and recruited Alex Solovyov (nicknamed 'Nightbird') as new bassist. By 1997 the band was touring the local rock circuit and had cut their first promotional demo, titled "Shadows Of Timeless" with a further demo entitled "Shadows Of Glory" following shortly after. In 1998 drummer Vladimir Lousshin was recruited and first proper studio album "Songs Of The Eternal Oak" was recorded. To "fill out" the sound, Almira was recruited on keyboards the following year.
In 2000, "Songs Of The Eternal Oak" was released on the Latvian label Beverina. A promotional video was shot and at the end of the year female soprano vocalist Alyona was added to the band. This lineup recorded new demo "Spirit Tending To Revolt" that December. In 2001 Vladimir Lousshin was replaced by Anton on drums. A further demo, exclusively in Russian titled "Nevedomye Zemli" (translation: Unknown Lands) and promo video, followed.
The band's "big break" came with a record deal with the Northern European label Metalism Records and eponymous second album "Alkonost" was released in July 2002. Albums "Between The Worlds" and "The Path We Never Trod" followed at two-yearly intervals.