Type: CD Company: Napalm Release: 2016 Genre: Traditional Reviewer: Greg Watson Published: 11/10/2016
An incredible piece of pagan metal mastery
Heidevolk is an ever rising folk/pagan metal outfit from the Netherlands and have been weaving their folklorish spell over metaldom for 10 years now. "Velua", the bands fifth album, is an incredible piece of pagan metal mastery and despite the songs being in Dutch is an album you will find yourself singing along with, regardless of whether you can speak Dutch or are just phonetically singing what you think the words may be.
The band follows a formula that is very similar to Borknagar vocally as the main vocals are clean with more harsh, death growls thrown in for some added oomph from dual harmonization between singers Mark Splintervuyscht and newcomer Lars Nachtbraeker. Opening track "Winter Woede" begins with just a banger of a riff and seems to slowly fade away to a more driving, groove-oriented riff that keeps your head bouncing throughout. The dual vocals are in full effect on this song and the harmony of Splinter and Nachtbraeker is phenomenal. The song takes a more folkish turn as the track nears its end, all the while keeping the driving rhythm going.
As the album continues, this seems to be the formula that the band follows and while it may seem repetitive, it really keeps you listening as you get the contrast of the heaviness and the folk metal playing well off of each other. From what I was able to learn of the band in research, the prior albums had a more Viking-centered theme whereas "Velua" focuses on a more local mythology specific to the Netherlands. Again, the language barrier is a bit of a hurdle as you don't know what exactly the band are singing about but that is not that big a deal as the spirit and energy of the band come through loud and clear as the album plays out.
The Limited Edition also features covers of "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin, which is a pretty solid cover, "Rebel Yell" by Billy Idol, which though seemingly out of place sounds good and a song called "In The Dutch Mountains" which was originally done by the somewhat obscure band The Nits.
All in all, this was a very enjoyable listen and something I will go back to again in the future. While this doesn't set them apart from any of the other folk outfits out there, Heidevolk have a great sound and a very promising future ahead of them.
About this Writer: Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.
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