Heidevolk - Uit Oude Grond
Napalm Records
Folk/Viking metal
11 songs (50'21")
Release year: 2010
Napalm Records
Reviewed by Alex

Dutch Heidevolk throws another hat in the ring of densely populated folk/pagan/Viking metal. The home of Heidevolk, Gelderland, the site of the famous battle of Arnhem, is a province bordering Germany and exchanged hands multiple times during tumultuous Middle Ages. This quick excursion into European geography and the fact Heidevolk is likely to be influenced by Germanic mythology would be largely moot if the music was substandard. Thankfully, Uit Oude Grond is as much fun and ethnic as it is heavy and ballsy, the important distinction to deliver something catchy without losing the edge.

What sets out Heidevolk aside somewhat (and my judgment is based solely on the album in question) is their ability to incorporate edgy definitive guitars with a slightly diffuse slicing sound. The pronounced roughness in riffs and making vocals sound gang-style (there are two vocalists listed, and it shows) creates much-sought impression of tough manly tales of the past. Heidevolk are firmly in control of the cultural flavor of their music, beginning their gaudy drinking instrumental Alvermans Wraak with a clean and acoustic folk-sounding intro, but even there the band shows they are not going to be only about the gimmick and get serious. And just as Deemsternis is nature soft, blending electroacoustic guitar and violin, the album closes with Beest bij Nacht, its jumpy, heavy riffs almost illogical after Deemsternis. The aforementioned violin is definitely not overused, piped in carefully to accentuated melodic moments (Nehalennia). Solos, with their stand-alone finger picked notes (Nehalennia), taking on the bagpipe (Ostara) or flute (Reuzenmacht) sound, are not overextended and contrasting with the overall song fabric.

The other interesting side of Heidevolk is their ability to be multifaceted. The songs on Uit Oude Grond do not follow the same tempo, template or mood. Karel van Egmond, Hertog van Gelre is playfully Korpiklaanish, while Vlammenzee goes for blackish buzzsaw tremolo, followed by Bathory-esque doomy choral Een Geldersch Lied with its thick guitars. Nehalennia and Levenslot are very Tyr, especially its late incarnation, big melodies, double bass buildups sounding larger than life. From extreme power metal on these cuts to practically In Extremo tribal Reuzenmacht to completely unexpected blasting on Ostara (why be timid) – this album runs through a gamut of medieval life, not stagnating on any one life’s aspect more than the other. After all the life in the early days of yore, just like it is now, was about glory, sadness, fun and many other feelings in between. In that sense Heidevolk tell a story with many versatile chapters.

The genre may be overpopulated and every old duchy, county or province in Europe may have a band representing them these days, but the truth is you can do a lot worse than Heidevolk in the ethnic metal department.

Killing Songs :
Nehalennia, Ostara, Een Geldersch Lied, Levenslot, Deemsternis
Alex quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Heidevolk that we have reviewed:
Heidevolk - Velua reviewed by Alex and quoted 77 / 100
Heidevolk - Batavi reviewed by Alex and quoted 83 / 100
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