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Heidevolk - Velua Award winner

Heidevolk
Velua
by Matt "Wolverine" Johnson at 28 March 2015, 7:48 PM

Sometimes I wonder how cool it would be to know Dutch, Finnish, or German so I could better understand the lyrics of bands I follow and listen to. As a band who call The Netherlands home, HEIDEVOLK have captivated audiences the world over, whether or not the listener knows the language present in the music. Their brand of Pagan Folk Metal is delightful and full of energy and that same statement rings true in "Velua", their newest album released in March and April of 2015. The word used in the title references the mystical and glorious natural lands of the Veluwe in their native country and tells tales of the related folklore, while giving praise to nature itself and drawing on early Pagan traditions.

Despite my utter ignorance to the complexities of the Dutch language, I am still in awe of the beauty and splendor of the words coming out of the music through the medium of deep vocals that have the air of a monastery, as the multiple singers harmonize and chant. Similar to the style heard in FINSTERFORST's "Mach Dich Frei", the voices are clear and concise. No harsh vocals are needed nor employed. This element adds to the folk atmosphere and compels the listener to join in the chorus.

Other features I enjoyed are, the use of sound effects (the trample of animal hooves and the pull and release of a bow and arrow at the start of "De Vervloekte Jacht" and a lightning strike followed by thunder at the end of "Een Mit de Storm") and various symphonic instruments, such as the violin. These give the album a fullness and depth as if to say that you are not just hearing Metal, you are hearing the story in the music and the band's life force materialize in the sound waves. The instruments are brilliant and original. Much like the stories surrounding each song, they have their own character and flavor in the same way that various wine blends do.

…And those stories in the songs are well-described in a feature I was given access to in order to better understand them during the review writing process. They are beautiful descriptions and I would like to share them in paraphrased form. "Winter Woede" is in regards to soldiers of war turned plunderers in the winter when the war was over. "Herboren in Vlammen" tells of a heartbroken man who loves the woman his brother has married and sets fire to the wedding venue while everyone was inside, and as punishment, he himself ignites each night and runs across the lands screaming in pain. "Urth" tells of a Norn figure who spins the threads of life deep in Veluwe, which neither man nor god can escape. "De Hallen van Mijn Vaderen" references his fathers' halls which the storyteller heard legends and stories of Veluwe since childhood. "De Vervloekte Jacht" speaks of a hunter who was warned not to hunt but took forsaken those warnings and returned to discover his home was no longer there, doomed to hunt for it forever. "De Wandering Light" is about a man who falls victim to the light of the will o' wisp and becomes one, as he then lures others to the same fate. "Drankgelag" is an invitation to the weary traveler to rest his bones and join in the drinking festivities until the dawn. "Velua" calls the listener to fly over the Veluwe during ye olde times and take in the people and the nature of the land. "Een Met de Storm" is about embracing the inevitable storm of change. "Richting de Wievenbelter" tells of a horseman who has stumbled upon the mound of souls who have not found peace and is forced to run for his life. "In Het Diepst der Nacht" can be about no other than a fiendish goblin who torments man and beast alike. "Vinland" is a separate track unrelated to the "Velua" theme, hailing the "land of wine" as Leif Eriksson called it, which is modern day North America.

Needless to say, this is a theme album and is as complete a musical product as the Folk Metal aficionado could ask. I was engrossed in the music and the stories, and the imagery in my mind ran wild of a forest in a faraway land at night, trees silhouetted against the moonlight sky. I must sing the praises of HEIDEVOLK or "Heath People" for their fifth album shows the evolution of their coerciveness as a band, songwriters and musicians. Keep up the great work, and HAIL!

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Winter Woede
2. Herboren in Vlammen
3. Urth
4. De Hallen Van Mijn Vaderen
5. De Vervloekte Jacht
6. Hey Dwalende Licht
7. Drankgelag
8. Velua
9. Een Met de Storm
10. Richting de Wievenbelter
11. In Het Diepst Der Nacht
12. Vinland
Lineup:
Mark Splintervuyscht - Vocals
Reamon Bomenbreker - Guitars
Kevin Vruchtbaert - Guitars
Rowan Roodbaert - Bass
Joost den Vellenknotscher - Drums
Lars NachtBraecker - Vocals
Record Label: Napalm Records
     


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Edited 12 November 2019
 

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