Uit Oude Grond
posted on 4/2010 By:
I was a huge fan of 2008's Wallhalla Wacht from these Dutch folk-metal newcomers (new at the time, at least). When I heard that 2010 would see a follow up, I almost soiled my loincloth. And I was not to be disappointed as Oit Oude Grond ("From Old Soil") delivers a follow-up that certainly puts Heidevolk into the upper echelon of folk metal bands.
As with the second album, the focal point of Heidevolk is the dual vocals of Joris Boghtdrincker and Mark Bockting, who combine for some simply brilliant clean croons that remind me of a dual-layered, slightly more baritone Vintersorg circa Till Fjalls (and that also remind me of the Swedish chef from The Muppets). Virtually every tune is a sing-along, harmonized gem backed by solid melodic death / heavy metal that’s enjoyable and slightly flocked with the usual instrumental suspects in folk metal (violin, etc.).
As with Wallhalla Wacht, the album starts with two outstanding up-tempo tracks in the rousing “Nehalennia” and “Ostara,” which features a blast beat that climaxes in some brilliant harmonized vocals. It’s not all bouncy party songs though: “Een Geldersch Lied” slows things down to a somber (but again, superbly harmonized) ballad pace, but “Dondergod” returns to the fist-pumping and stands as one of my personal favorite tracks, “Reuzenmacht” truly highlights the engrossing vocals with a glorious opening chant. “Alvermans Wraak” is the expected bouncy instrumental number, though slightly unnecessary, but “Karel van Egmond, Hertog van Gelre” returns to form. while “Levenslot” and instrumental interlude “Deemsternis” are yet another couple of slightly somber tracks. All of the tracks are based around those vocals, some catchy, sturdy riffs and an adequate folky element, but none of it is overdone or forced--it all comes across as genuine.
The album closes with my very favorite track, “Beest bij Nacht,” arguably one of the catchiest songs of the year so far--an opinion that is seconded by my 9-year-old daughter--ending a damn fine album on a damn fine note and signaling that with this and the Svartsot disc, Napalm Records seems to be able to dig up some of the most entertaining Viking/Pagan folk music around. (And it offsets their overabundance of female-fronted Gothic metal.)
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