Heidevolk_Velua2Talk about coming full circle. I remember visiting the pages of Angry Metal Guy for the first time in 2010 and reading the review for Heidevolk’s Uit oude grond by our esteemed Mr. Angry Metal Guy. I bought that album and the two previous ones that fucking day (so don’t lose too much sleep over spending money on AMG recommendations; it’s been happening for years). To this day, I agree completely with Angry Metal Guy’s score but I have a tough time choosing between Walhalla wacht and Uit oude grond as my favorite Heidevolk album. The latter was definitely the logical progression from the former; providing budding musicianship, unified Viking themes, and the catchiest of vocal arrangements and choruses. However, Uit oude grond was the last album I enjoyed of theirs, as I felt that Batavi was less cohesive (which is a bummer for a concept album) and the band opted for a heavier and crunchier approach to their formula that felt like an attempt at accessibility. Their fifth full-length Velua continues the heavy trend with, not a concept, but an overall theme about the myths and legends of the respected Veluwe of Gelderland. These Dutch Vikings are back so fill your horn with mead and warm your vocal chords for folkish sing-alongs (you’ll be so drunk no one will even notice you’re not singing in Dutch) filled with burning wedding venues, Urth spinning the threads of life, swamp-lured victims, and harassment from a dickish goblin.

As with many of Heidevolk’s openers, “Winter woede” pummels your ear drums from the first note and drives hard with some crushing riffs and the signature Heidevolk vocal style. This clean, harmonizing approach has grown by leaps and bounds from their debut De strijdlust is geboren and mainstay Mark Splintervuyscht (and noob Lars Nachtbraecker) continue to fertilize it. Velua mostly employs big, melodic Vintersorg-ear Borknagar choruses with timely inclusions of the harsh vox found on Batavi. In the case of “Winter woede,” they meld these vocal styles for an outro that combines harmonized harsh vox with a top layer of Mark’s clean pipes. Cool shit and a great start for the album.

Heidevolk_2015a

Thankfully, the opener isn’t a one-hit wonder. The rest of the album follows suit. Filler is minimal and Velua is all folked up with the kind of culture and concept you expect from Týr and the memorable melodies of Borknagar and Vintersorg. “Urth” is a fine example of soaring Vintersorg/I.C.S. Vortex similarities that bind you tighter than the threads of Fate (not that you would want to escape anyway). “Het dwalende licht” is similar in approach but expands on it by dropping subtle orchestration and violin melodies that do their part to nudge you up a staircase of anticipation toward a chorus that is downright Týrannical in delivery.

The beauty of Velua is its cohesiveness and variety minus the somewhat forced variability and conceptualism of Batavi. Like their classic releases, Heidevolk’s tactics are subtle; dropping in dashes of orchestration to bring emotion to Nirvana levels and loading up violin bows with resin for that captivating cherry-on-top in songs like “Urth,” “Het dwalende licht,” and “Velua;” the title track being the prime example. The first half of “Velua” is blanketed in acoustic balladry that seamlessly switches gears to a riff stamped with “BADASS” on its side. Conversely, the Viking-tavern anthem “Drankgelag” and the closing, English-sung “Vinland” bonus track are straightforward folk ditties that force you to raise your horn and spit their catchy choruses across your nappy beards (be sure to toss back your drink before committing a party foul during the Iced Earth-like riff of “Vinland”).

All and all, I am quite pleased with Heidevolk’s newest outing. Fearing the continuation of heaviness in order to reach beyond their fanbase with the “OK” Batavi, 2015 finds Heidevolk reaching for something local and familiar in theme. The result is an album swelling with respect and passion for culture and tradition, and it radiates convincingly through its hour-long length. Heidevolk (much like Týr) are at their strongest with rich content behind them. Though it is much heavier than their earlier releases and sports a snazzy (and brickwalled) modern production, Velua feels like the Heidevolk of old. So maybe Heidevolk still sits on the second tier of folk metal greats, but Velua does a fine job of keeping them in the top seat.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Napalm Records
Websites: HeidevolkOfficial | Facebook.com/Heidevolk
Release Dates: EU: 2015.03.20 | NA: 04.07.2015

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  • Robbert Feunekes

    It’s such a shame that y’all can’t quite understand the lyrics. It’s the recognition in their words combined with the melodies that keeps giving me goosebumps on this one.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      I may not be able to understand them but I get the same feeling. I think Heidevolk would lose it’s charm if the lyrics were in English.

      • Robbert Feunekes

        Agreed. Perhaps that’s what makes ‘Vinland’ sound so out of place and cheesy.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Bingo! It’s my least favorite on the album but it’s still a fun one.

  • Hulksteraus

    “The first half of “Velua” is blanketed in acoustic balladry that
    seamlessly switches gears to a riff stamped with “BADASS” on its side.”

    Niiiiiice :)

  • Martin Knap

    New Pagan Kids Turbo.

    • De2013

      Hail Maaskantje!

      • Martin Knap

        Niemand fickt mit Maaskantje.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Great review, Dr. Looking forward to spinning this. Now if we could only have a new Týr album.

    Great album art too, but that band photo… It looks like a metal version of the Last Supper, except they all look like Jesus.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Thanks dude! I appreciate it! Also, yes, I need me some new Tyr. Glad this was here to fill the void in my folking heart.

      The band pic is definitely ridiculous. But if I was going to the Last Supper, I’d be stoked to meet Viking Jesus and eat me bunches of deer meat from the bone. Also, there is booze at Lord Viking Jesus’ Last Supper, so that’s cool.

  • De2013

    Thank you for the review. Will check it out.

    This is also why I love this site, you guys and girl are so country agnostic! Reviewing stuff from around the globe.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      No problem :) Enjoy!

  • Wilhelm

    Sounds too brickwalled, I’ll pass.

  • That fucking little asshat knocked an arrow with two fingers below the goddamn nock! All credibility lost. Fucking folk band doesnt even know how to shoot a bow? FAIL.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Fingers?? Bows are shot with teeth. We are good. :)

  • ZEbyiUWvbe

    Note that the people of the low countries in the middle ages were no vikings. Vikings were feared raiders from the north (e.g. attacks on Dorestad in the ninth century)

  • Sounds good! Will check it out.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    If thats a goat pelt on the table…We have band photo of the year sorted.

  • Alexandre Barata

    I know I might be the only one, but I hear Die Apokalyptischen Reiter on folk… lol It’s kinda funny, but not the best thing I’ve heard.