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Hexenklad – Heathenheart

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 19 September 2021, 5:41 AM

From their Bandcamp page on the new album, the band comments: “we are extremely proud of this new Black Metal influenced Folk Metal album “Heathenheart”. It is a perfect representation of all of our varied influences and personalities. From the coldness and rawness found in Black Metal to the uplifting and memorable melodies found in Folk Metal, to the hooks and choruses found in Heavy Metal, this album has everything. It’s heavy, it’s raw, it’s uplifting, it’s honest, it’s uncompromising, it’s unique and it’s varied. Every song is different and yet connected. The album contains thirteen tracks.

Let’s get to some of the highlights here. “Heathenheart” leads off the album. It opens with a Classic Heavy Metal style sound, followed quickly by Black Metal madness. Harmonies are alive in the guitars, and a Folky atmosphere is present. The combination is styles here is impressive. “Huginn and Muninn” begins with a mash-up of Black Metal, Folk Metal, and even Melodic Death Metal. The transitions in and out of several styles is seamless. The vocals are harsh and grate against the music, while the guitars build melodies. “Dark Moon in Capricorn” opens with a more solemn tone, and slightly slower pace. A guitar solo is a bit surprising, but fits in so well with the darker themes here.

“A Thousand Paths to Wisdom” opens with clean guitar tones, leading to a flurry of activity in both the vocals and the instruments. Though an energy flows strong throughout this song, the despondent elements can easily be heard. “Old Gods Awaken” begins with melody in your face…the kind that hits you in the gut. The cadence of the verses sounds like a bunch of pirates sitting around an open fire, singing folk songs that they all know by heart. But the real magic is in the chorus…simply beautiful. “Upon the Wings of Valkyries” is the epic song on the album, clocking in at over seven minutes. It’s a sad affair, with piano, clean vocals and clean guitars. If you ever felt gutted by a song…later on harsh vocals come in, pushing the longing quality deeper and deeper.

“We Raise a Horn” closes the album, in grand fashion. Raise your horn, take a drink, and give homage to those who have lived a pagan’s life many years ago, in simpler times, in combat and in peace…the ebb and flow of life. You have to love the effort of the band here. They pour everything into their music…their hearts, their souls, and their collective songwriting skills. What results is an energetic trip through thirteen varied tracks with a central core, yet each with their own diverse sound. Long live HEXENKLAD, the diviners of Folk Metal.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Heathenheart
2. Cold Beauty of Winter
3. Huginn and Muninn
4. Dark Moon in Capricorn
5. Rootbound
6. The Raven Returns to the Knoll
7. A Thousand Paths to Wisdom
8. Olde Gods Awaken
9. Beware the Outstretched Hand
10. A Forest of Dead Trees
11. Upon the Wings of Valkyries
12. A Moment of Silence
13. We Raise a Horn
Timothy Voldemars Johnston – Vocals, Lyrics
Michael Grund – Guitar. Bass on songs 4, 7, & 9
John Chalmers – Guitar. Bass on song 13
Andrew Chalmers – Drums & Percussion
Clare B. – Keyboards & Orchestrations
Emmanuel “Audeath” Audet – Bass on Songs 2, 5, 8, 10, & 11
Matt “Coldcuts” Collacott – Bass on songs 1, 3, & 6
Nick Sauter – Guitar Solo on song 7
Alex Chalmers – Clarinet on song 13
Record Label: CDN Records


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Edited 29 March 2023

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