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Age and wisdom have won out - 75%

autothrall, November 12th, 2009

The debut from Finland's Wyrd was not something I first appreciated, but it's ambitious nonetheless for a first album; a single track over 50 minutes in length which ranges emotionally from acoustic folk bliss to sauntering, slow-paced black metal. The album is raw enough to appeal to the kvlt sect seeking out a tranquil experience, with lush atmospheric synthesizers, manly clean vocals alternating with black snarls and spoken word. It has gradually grown on me, there is a certain primordial charm to it.

At this point, Wyrd was simply Narqath, so all the instruments here were the work of a single man. The drums are programmed but thankfully rather low in the mix, efficiently carrying the weight of the guitars. There is a truly organic vibe at work. I've heard comparisons to (early) Agalloch and I can hear that, even though I enjoy Wyrd more. It takes a particular compositional skill to ramble on for 51 minutes and not bore the listener, and though many of the parts to "Heathen" seem similar, they create enough peaks and valleys to engage you throughout the playlength. There are certain points where the flow of the guitars, the cheap but adorable synths and the crooning come together to create pagan metal bliss, a sincere window into the vistas and landscapes of Narqath's atavistic environment. The lyrics are in English, but based in Finnish mythology. They create a narrative for the separate phrases of the song, but there is a little too much pagan 'chest beating' for my tastes, and often seem a little overboard for the actual music content of the album, which is mellowing.

'Proud in our hearts, unchained in our might we are pure heathen wrath unbound!'

The strength of the album lies in its ability to capture the imagination and stow it away in Narqath's world for almost an hour. I've come to accept and enjoy this release, but it's still a far cry from his later work: Vargtimmen Parts I and II are both quite incredible, and most of the other albums are also worth hearing. I may have been dismissive at first of this album's cheesier elements, but age and wisdom have won out: Heathen is ultimately a good record.


Pure Pagan Pride - 100%

koonze, February 18th, 2008

"Heathen" is the first full length album by the two-person band, Wyrd. The album contains only one song, although the length of the song is 51 + minutes long. The challenging part of creating a song is keeping the listener interested all the way through. I mean, I'm normally get bored by 10 minute "epic" songs by the likes of oh, lets say Opeth but Wyrd manage to keep the listener enthralled all through out the songs length.

Yes, this song is quite epic. It starts off slow with some acoustic passage and then builds into something "grim" after a couple of minutes. "Heathen" does many stylistic changes just like that one, from nice acoustic interludes, to pure black metal and even to some extent, some synth oriented parts. There are also a lot of folk influences on the album which just does a great deal to the atmosphere.

The guitar work all throughout the album is amazing. The more metal riffs never seem to grow old or stale and each riff seems to be more epic than the last. The acoustic parts really add a lot to the song as well. The drum work on the album is solid, nothing really spectacular but you do feel it's presence all throughout the song. The vocals are nothing short of amazing. Narqath does a really nice job with the vocals. From harsh, raspy black metal screams to some epic, deep, folky vocals he truly makes the album an enjoyable experience.

It's near impossible to summarize this album up in a word or a short sentence as there is a lot to it. I really do believe that this is one of the greatest pagan black metal albums of all time. From beginning to end, it is a beautiful work of music and makes the listener want to hear more.

Paganism in its truest form. - 98%

Visionary, September 27th, 2005

Wow this guy has balls of steel releasing a 1 song album of 59 minutes! Most albums of the sort get boring by the 10 or 15minutes marker but this one actually leaves me wanting more.

This album is Epic, Beautiful and very folk oriented. Beautiful and enchanting riffs combined with an extensive vocal range pays tribute to nature. No nature black metal band has won me over quite like Wyrd has on this occasion. Agalloch, Drudkh and Woods Of Ypres have produced excellent albums but none reach the quality of this.

Heathen sounds similar to Agalloch except with a greater sense of epic, passion and includes rough vocals. The riffs produce a very warm feeling that flows nicely through the album and changes a lot being dramatic ness and relaxation. Often acoustic passages are included that changes the song up nicely.

Now the vocals are just amazing on here. A lot of clean vocals are used here and the lyrics show a sense of heritage and tribute to the founding fathers. Long periods of time go by that don’t include any vocals and then they come out in full force and it kicks ass. The vocals are also raspy sounding like a heavy wind for a lot of the time. Often spoken passages are included with sounds of wind and rain (that do not at all sound cheesy) with very powerful lyrics and for once the lyrics actually have a positive effect on me rather than just sounding like some silly satanic crap.

There is a lot of variation on this album and the riffs repeat each other but only for short periods of time and change at just the right moment to keep the listener from getting bored. The intensity shifts throughout the album but flows perfectly so the listener feels like they are traveling some journey within the realms of the world Wyrd has created. Sometimes the song has a break and Wyrd builds up a very folk melody that makes me picture a bunch of happy people dancing around in the woods and I just want to dance with them.

This album could not be broken down into multiple parts for this is something that needs to be heard right from the beginning to end. Don’t let the fact that this is one song put you off. I usually dislike these sorts of albums because of my short attention span but I fell in love here. For fans of Agalloch, Woods Of Ypres, Drudkh or any other similar nature bands should go and check this out now if you haven't already.

Pagan Black Metal - 98%

stian_aarstad, May 13th, 2004

This is a great album. The only song present in this released is the result of a word started in 1998, and completed in the summer of 2001.There're no negative sides on this album: even if the sound quality is quite low, the song is able to give strong emotions to the listener. Slow and fast passages are alternated, sometimes mixed with the atmospheric rumble of a battle or the sound of the rain. Also the vocal side is great. Screaming vocals, clean vocals and sopken voice are incredibly well used by the finnish mastermind. Unfortunately the intonation of the clean vocals isn't very good but Narqath sings with a lot of passion.
I think also that the lyrics are simply wonderful. Try to listen to the song reading them. They express all the wrath and the desire of vengeance of the heathen tribes defeated and converted by the christians missionaries. And Narqath's voice express incredibly well all these sensations.
A masterpiece for all the pagan black metallers, especially for Bathory and Falkenbach's fans.