Heathen Rites - Heritage
Svart Records
Doom Metal
7 songs (29'11")
Release year: 2021
Svart Records
Reviewed by Alex

I haven’t heard a note of Finnish Burning Saviours AD, yet Heathen Rites is the work of Burning Saviours member Mikael Monks (Mikael Marjanen). In Burning Saviours Mikael moved to vocals from guitars, so he is basically versatile, therefore doing everything for Heathen Rites must be a natural feat. Why not?

Heritage is billed as an epic and melodic hymn to northern nature and history, inspired by Nordic folklore and ancient landscapes. So it is fair to expect a folkish and ambient affair. Thus when Eternal Sleep roars onto the scene with a heavy bearish riff Candlemass would have been proud of, diffuse cleaner notes being dominated by plenty of distortion, one is forgiven to think we will be dealing with more standard classic doom metal. … And you would be wrong again, as Heritage makes it a point to cycle through almost all doom subgenre points in its short seven tracks. Autumn also takes a rather harsh approach with its muscular riffs being punctuated with percussive drum rolls. The chorus is grumbly but expansive, and I think I hear some angular keys in this composition. Yet on Midnight Sun Candlemass, Pentagram and Trouble disappear somewhere yielding to dreaming, drifting, gliding, and lonely Hallatar. Not excruciatingly heavy or sorrowful, so not quite Swallow the Sun or, indeed, Hallatar, Midnight Sun is very contemplative, affirming why I call Finns the Kings of Somber Music. It is only on Gleipner where folky acoustic intro makes an appearance, but burgeoning heaviness with nervy guitar picking and reserved screams still prevails. Violin (or so it seems to me) finds its way to the top spot on Gleipner later on. In this first half of the album Mikael also colors the palette with variety of vocals, very bottom feeding at the end of Gleipner, but otherwise higher register, more soul tearing voice.

Things change yet again with Sons of the North and Here Comes the Night, where doom rock is on display, and piano and noble heaviness have almost gothic Sisters of Mercy flair. Not to forget those nature promises Kulning is a short crazy fairy screams, with birds chirping and other nature sounds.

Short in duration, Heritage is very eclectic and will take you by surprise at many a turn. Mikael dealt with self-imposed twists and turns quite admirably, so even though Heritage swings from one corner to the other whatever plane any given composition is on, you can still make sense of it and fully enjoy.

Killing Songs :
Midnight Sun, Gleipner, Here Comes the Night
Alex quoted 78 / 100
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