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Black Messiah - Heimweh

Black Messiah
Heimweh
by Angela "The Hunter" at 18 November 2013, 4:32 PM

For those of you who have not yet heard of BLACK MESSIAH, allow me to remedy that situation. This symphonic Viking Metal band has been raiding and pillaging the music scene since 1992, and is only getting better. Previously a Black Metal band, BLACK MESSIAH has embraced the Pagan / Viking Metal genre and made it their own. Their latest release, “Heimweh”, marks their 6th album to date. Now that you have been educated, let’s get on with the fucking review, eh?

“Symphonia Pagana” opens the album with ethereal and haunting vocals that lead into an epic and broad symphonic score of horn and stringed instruments. Keyboards float and intertwine with the vocals to keep the tone light and airy. Battle drums are soon added to the score creating excitement and anticipation. The intro gives you the feeling that you are about to partake in an epic battle, and it is now time for you to draw your sword. I really have not heard an intro quite as epic as this one in some time. Next up is “In The Name Of Ancient Gods” a song which carries the energy and excitement from the intro right on through to its end. The galloping drums and high intensity strings blend seamlessly with Black Metal screams to create a wickedly hybrid song. Add an epic solo and balls out bass work and you my friend have a, well, a damn good piece.

From there we hit “Jotunheim”, a riff monster of a song that opens with brutal rhythms and double bass dominance. The song keeps its fierce momentum until nearly halfway through when a melodic break is reveled in for a moment and then its right back to brutality. “Wildsau” is next, and quite a departure from the brutality of “Jotunheim”. It begins as a Folkish tune heavy with violin song and upbeat drums, plus bit of accordion to give it a dance beat. That is until 1:03 in the song, where the mood changes and the dancing go to flat out moshing. The previously lyrical vocals transform into angry snarls while the guitars burn through some epic riffage for the chorus. Then we go right back into the dancing for the main body and then back to mosh inducing music. I can only imagine what the crowd will be like when this song is played live. Oh and there is a badass violin solo… this song is just way too fun.

“Edmund Von Ostanglien” is next and unexpected song on the album Clean vocals, rolling rhythm work, and a more pronounced bass are really the hallmark of this piece. The song lends itself to being very open and broad musically even when the tempo kicks it up and notch and the vocals get low and primal. But that really describes the album as a whole; brutal and forceful yet broad and open with a few unexpected twists.

“Nidhogg” (Old Norse Níðhöggr, literally “Curse-striker” or “He Who Strikes with Malice”) is beastly song that opens with other worldly growls and snarls that aren’t human to quicken the heart and engage the listener. An intricately woven guitar intro leads you from the growl of the unhuman to growls of the unholy as Zagans’ vocals break the trance. The song’s pounding rhythms and well placed keys keep the energy high right through till end. The next song, “Heimweh” (homesickness), is rich in melody and mood. With soothing strings, clean vocals, and beautifully haunting choir is it a simple but powerful piece. Much longing and sadness are felt throughout its imploring lyrics. Last but not least is “Die Quelle Der Weisheit” (sorry I couldn’t find the translation…I should really get off my ass and learn German) another furious and adrenalin fueled romp heavy on keys and rolling riffs. It’s really more of the same but in a good way, and a great way to end the album.

“Heimweh” is another fantastic release for 2013. The balance could have been a little better; the vocals outweigh almost every other instrument which can overshadow intricate nuances in the songs. Other than that, I have nothing but positive things to say about it. For a rating, I would say an 8 out of ten. As always my dear reader, stay well and live free!

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Symphonia Pagana
2. In the Name of Ancient Gods
3. Jotunheim
4. Wildsau
5. Edmund Von Ostanglien
6. Nidhogg
7. Heimweh
8. Die Quelle Der Weisheit
Lineup:
Zagan - Vox, Violin, Guitar
Frangus - Guitar
Garm - Bass
Meldric - Guitar
Agnar - Keys
Brøøh – Drums
Record Label: AFM Records
     


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