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Strong, but stereotypical - 70%

zaebangad, April 24th, 2010

I must admit that Heidevolk are relatively new to me. Although I've known this band for a while, I never really bothered too much to acquire their stuff. Their video (for Nehalennia I believe) sparked a new interest and I decided to check this album out.

What really stands out about Heidevolk is their vocal work. Unfortunately, if one dismisses that, then the band has really nothing going for it, since everything else is quite average viking metal fare.

The album is off to a nice and energetic start. However, Nehalennia is just too long a song to keep it up. The few first songs, although masterfully sung, lack a great deal in dynamics - the guitar, at first driving, becomes stale as it keeps at it for several minutes without changing tempo, or the general composition. And, as folk instrumentation is scarce, it falls down to the guitars to drive the album. All too quickly it wears down and loses momentum.

The true trick to viking and folk metal as employed by many good bands of the genre is to build atmosphere, either one of fast, ale-swiggin' n' battle-lovin' folk-fest debauchery, or one of slow, sky-reaching viking hymns of epic proportions. Heidevolk fail to build any atmosphere for a great deal of their album, and herein lies its true ailment, its rampant staleness.

However, as the album progresses it does become significantly better. Perhaps it's a greater use of melodies, as opposed to the first few riff-based songs. It's as if at this point Heidevolk realize that just the vocals can't carry the whole weight. What follows is a series of good to excellent songs that really make the bulk of the positive about Uit Oude Grond, such as Reuzenmacht and Alvermans Wraak. The more blatantly folk melodies employed, the better Heidevolk become. At this time, the stale, linear riffing of the beginning disappears and gives way to a much better song dynamic. The whole thing ends up a bit short, however, as the album reaches its peak somewhere in the middle and closes with a finish that is just satisfactory.

In conclusion, this is a pretty OK album, even with the fluctuating quality of songs. Some real gems in there, but also some satisfactory and some barely passable material. However, apart from the singing style, Heidevolk don't do anything genre-breaking. Standard viking that doesn't really dare break the mold. For viking enthusiast who want nothing else but a pure, no-nonsense and quite standard example of their chosen genre. For those that wish for something more substantial, however, there are other, better bands out there.