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Heidra - Awaiting Dawn Award winner

Heidra
Awaiting Dawn
by Erika Kuenstler at 23 June 2014, 11:12 AM

Every now and then the combination of boredom and YouTube recommendations results in you stumbling across phenomenal bands you’ve never heard of before. One such of my fortuitous discoveries was HEIDRA, a Danish Folk/Viking Metal band founded in 2006. So when I saw their debut album “Awaiting Dawn” was up for review I could not resist. Coming up with a decent demo with only a few songs each is one thing, but could they maintain their high standards over 45 minutes throughout an entire full-length album? And the short answer is yes, they can.

Starting off with the epic “Prelude” that sounds more like the sound-track to some Lord of the Ring style movie than an intro to an album, the listener is gradually taken along a crescendo which launches you straight into the bombastic start of the title track “Awaiting Dawn”, a heroic anthem full of sword raising moments that makes you simply want to put on your war-paint, grab your weapons, and head out into the fray. Admittedly incorporating a more Power Metal vocal style than is typical with other Folk Metal bands such as ENSIFERUM or TURISAS, this track nevertheless does a good job on setting the overall atmosphere for the rest of the album. Using sounds such as a cawing crow or a sudden clap of thunder intertwined with sweeter harp-like melodies, and then amalgamated with familiar themes such as lost kingdoms, family feuds, and routed battles portrayed in raspy vocals, the song “Betrayal” shows off HEIDRA’s more archetypal Folk Metal side. “Witch of Prophesy” is perhaps my least favourite song on the album, with a lot of the riffs seeming very scale-based and repetitive; however, I can imagine that this even this song performed live would have the power to blow the crowd away. One of the most outstanding tracks, on the other hand, is “The Eyes of Giants”: with galloping fast-paced melodies interspersed with slower strains, this track is a tempestuous maelstrom that sweeps the listener along. The raspy vocals are also countered by more Power Metal-like clean vocals that bring the more grandiose moments to shine. My overall favourite song though is “Wolfborn”. This is one of the most folky songs on “Awaiting Dawn” but is done in a darker and more trollish way, similar to how ENSIFERUM capture a more sinister sound in their song “Goblins’ Dance”.

Overall, “Awaiting Dawn” is a good album, and an excellent debut. Sure, there are some kinks to be worked out, and compositionally-speaking, it is clear that HEIDRA lack the experience that would make them masters of their genre, but they do show a hell of a lot of potential. HEIDRA is definitely one of the up-and-coming Folk/Viking Metal bands, and I shall be keeping a close eye on them as they set sail to undoubtedly conquer the genre.

 

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Prelude
2. Awaiting Dawn
3. Betrayal
4. Witch of Prophecy
5. Into Cursed Lands
6. The Eyes of Giants
7. Wolfborn
8. The Power of Gods
9. Harbinger of War
Lineup:
Morten Bryld - Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitars, Choir
Martin W. Jensen - Guitars
Carlos G.R. - Guitars
Danny Svendsen - Keyboards
Morten Kristiansen - Bass, Acoustic Guitars, Timpani, Choir
Mikkel Køster – Drums
Record Label: Mighty Music
     


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