So, apparently Napalm has dibs on every awesome folk metal band in the universe and Dutch metallers Heidevolk are another one of their excellent pagan folk metal bands. These six guys came together for the first album in 2002 and are conceptually fairly unique, focusing on the local culture of Gelderland, what is now a province of the Netherlands located along the border with Germany. Heidevolk sing in their native Dutch, as one would expect, but this never causes any issues with understanding as the record is musically deep and entrancing.
What’s so cool about folk metal is the variety of places it can take you as a fan. It is true that many folk metal bands are similar, but there is also a tremendous amount of variety in what is considered folk metal. In the case of Vintersorg, for example, it was basically Ulver influenced post-black metal in its earliest form, whereas Otyg was producing music that were folkvisor in the old Swedish style, both of them are considered folk metal. Heidevolk, also folk metal, sounds a lot like Falkenbach, but they have a certain power metal kind of charm to them. Lots of straight beat, highly melodic music with great guitar solos and lots of guitar harmonies. But what differentiates these guys from power metal is that they focus on broadening their sound, including folk melodies and instruments.
Another thing that really stands out for me about Heidevolk is the intensely gorgeous vocals that permeate every crevice of this record. Choirs and harmonies have a strong appeal to this Angry Metal Guy and have since I was an Angry Metal Kid, and this love is satiated by nary the existence of a single vocal line on this entire album that doesn’t have a harmony and sometimes there are two or three of them. These harmonies are powerful, haunting and add a very unique sound to something that might be otherwise not as unique. This combination of catchy melodies, beautiful harmonies and well-written music creates a formula that is addictive as hell and draws the listener back to this album again and again (and again and again).
Clocking in at 50 minutes, Uit Oude Grond is definitely worth picking up, particularly if you’re a fan of folk metal. Tracks like the opener “Nehalennia”, “Best Bij Nacht” and, probably my personal favorite, “Dondergod” will weed their way into the gray matter you’ve got floating around there and not let go. There’s a reason that Heidevolk is becoming better and better known in the scene: it’s ’cause they’re fucking awesome. And Uit Oude Grond just re-enforces this point.