Heidevolk made a huge impression upon the folk metal landscape with their ‘Walhalla Wacht’ record back in 2008 with punkish, traipsing riffs and axe-wielding shouts that helped them stand out a great deal in the cluttered tail end of folk metal’s upsurge heading towards the end of the decade. With bands like Thyrfing peaking, Moonsorrow and Falkenbach both taking extended breaks, bands like Heidevolk more than filled that void for me. Though I don’t feel like the band really hit upon anything nut-shattering until ‘Batavi’ showed the band’s ability to sing-and-slash with stronger, less subtle melody, heavier instrumentation and boldly layered vocals. ‘Vuur van Verzet’ is in many ways a slight return to the bombast of that album, with respect for the calmer oaken spirit of 2015’s ‘Velua’.
If nothing else, the world of classic heavy metal and ye olde peers like Týr are more alive in Heidevolk’s detailed compositions than ever before. The best example might be the standout track “Wolf in my Heart” which is a banger of a folk anthem and one of the several songs entirely in English, a relatively new ratio for the band. It is a rousing and catchy song that really shows proof of concept for a newer, more modern bit of folk metal from Heidevolk. I will say I missed the previous singer (now in Wederganger) on ‘Velua’ but here they’ve found their distinctly layered baritone and warrior cadence again. The ‘viking chorus’ is back and with seemingly increased ranks. With it the band have regained a lot of the personality that seemed to drift away on the previous album in general.
Another standout track comes in the middle of the album with “The Alliance” which has a slight lean towards Borknagar‘s more recent operatic folk metal sound on the second half of the track. It shows Heidevolk reaching out for new inspiration and the English/Dutch mixed lyrics sort of help drive home the concept of the song. The one main criticism I’ve seen of this record so far is that it might not be “folk metal” enough; though to my ears the pagan black metal influences and heavier semi-power metal instrumentation that pop up never obstruct the folkiness of the record. Heidevolk continue to be one of the heaviest, most energetic folk metal bands on the planet. Their loosely woven tale of an unknown man rising as a warrior to lead a resistance movement is perfectly placed in 2018 and it helps that the band has never sounded better.
|Released||January 12, 2018|
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Learn to trust the wolf within. 4.0/5.0
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