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Heimdalls Wacht - Geisterseher

Heimdalls Wacht
Geisterseher
by Lauren Fonto at 18 January 2017, 2:48 PM

Like many black metal bands before them, HEIMDALLS WACHT has found inspiration from the folklore of European paganism. With a long list of fascinating myths and old traditions, there is plenty to explore. This theme also serves as a way to reject modern religion, a common theme in black metal.

The band was previously signed to the label CHRISTHUNT, known for working with some national socialist black metal (NSBM) acts, but as indicated above, they’ve cut ties with them and released this album via TROLLZORN RECORDS. The band deny holding far-right views, and since they’ve moved record labels I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. This is a hard-hitting, riff-driven album which clearly had a lot of thought put into it, which is impressive given the rate at which the band puts out releases.

Songwriting is a strength of the band, since the tracks sustained my interest despite being somewhat meandering. The band shows great musicianship throughout the album. The riffs and hooks are catchy, and the tempo changes kept things interesting without seeming random. Winterheart gives a strong performance on drums, although his parts seemed to be mixed higher than necessary at times. Besides good songwriting, another interesting aspect of the album was its non-black metal influences – “Der Kommende Gott (Treffen mit Sabazios)” has a thrashy feel, and “Taedium Vitae” begins with a stripped-back intro.

Skjeld performs the expected rasps and shrieks to great effect, with the addition of beautifully done chants by bassist Saruman here and there. The clean vocals on “Taedium Vitae” were particularly well done. Additionally, Skjeld is adept at injecting passion into his performance; although I didn’t understand the German in which the lyrics were written, I couldn’t help but feel moved. I daresay there’s truth to the idea that music is a language that’s universal.

While the band deals with paganism in their lyrics, they didn’t include folk instruments, which I thought was a bit of a pity. I’m not saying that they need to convert to writing lyrics in English, but there’s a chance that the pagan theme may be lost on some listeners. And although old school black metal is known for sounding “rough”, I felt that the drums could’ve been mixed lower (as mentioned earlier). The music also had a kind of loudness that hinted at a compressed mix.

Despite a few flaws, “Geisterseher” is a great release from HEIMDALLS WACHT- they’ve created an entertaining and interesting take on black metal. This is a well-thought-out album which nonetheless sounds natural and not at all like the band is trying too hard. Horns up to HEIMDALLS WACHT for that.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 6



3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Spökenkieker
2. Wir sind die Wächter
3. Der kommende Gott (Treffen mit Sabazios)
4. Sycomantia – Der Thron im Schatten
5. Tairach
6. Taedium Vitae
7. Anderswelt
Lineup:
Teja – Guitars
Saruman – Vocals, bass
Herjann – Guitars
Winterheart – Drums
Skjeld – Vocals 
Record Label: Trollzorn Records
     


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