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Review: Heidevolk - Uit Oude Grond
Uit Oude Grond

Label: Napalm Records
Year released: 2010
Duration: 50:21
Tracks: 11
Genre: Folk Metal


Review online: March 15, 2010
Reviewed by: Adam Kohrman
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.67/5 (73.33%) (12 Votes)

One night last year I got really lucky. After a show in my hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts. I found myself at a bar with the members of Korpiklaani and Primordial, along with a group of my friends. Before long, we tired of the asinine cover band playing at the bar and headed over to a seedy party at the Hampton Inn. As Alan "Nemtheanga" Averill looked over a girl's hard drive of music, he came across Heidevolk. He immediately averred, "Ah, Heidevolk. Now that is a proper band."

It's no wonder that Nemtheanga loves the band so much, as they're the darlings of the folk metal movement of which he is a part. The band has created music typifying the genre, complete with traditional instruments and chants juxtaposed with harsh vocals and simple rhythmic riffing. Their style might not be too much different from the plethora of folk bands occupying the scene, except that they can create the sound of folk metal without excessively using traditional instruments. Instead, Heidevolk use traditional chanting as the predominant vocal style, alternating it with death growls and screams. On their last few albums, this has worked well, garnering a devout fan base and critical acclaim. However, on Uit Oude Grond, the formula is executed isn't as well executed, not to mention that it's getting old as well.

Heidevolk open the album right where they left off, with their strong vocal style leading the way, accentuated by their violinist Irma Vos. One word I've loved to use for this style of music is "jiggy," in that it can incite the listener into a jig. That suits this album perfectly. But "jigginess" is pretty limited, and a band can't sustain a full album on that trait alone. Uit Oude Grond repeats itself throughout the second half, becoming stale and even boring. The music Heidevolk makes is undeniably cool, but its coolness doesn't last. For only so long can music that makes you want to jig be entertaining, unless you're dancing with a couple dozen people, but that probably won't be happening. As a result, the music is confined to this jiggy formula. The best song on the album is actually the instrumental "Alvermans Wraak," where Heidevolk break free of this formula, and pursue folk (as in not folk metal) territory. It sounds new and refreshing, and hopefully where they'll end up going in the future.

I don't want to be the curmudgeon reviewer wagging his finger at folk metal, though. There is a lot to like here, and my guess is that fans of folk metal will like it. Maybe not as much as their last few albums, but they'll still like it. Frankly, Heidevolk does have a cool sound, but they just overdo it. The low pitch chants are ridiculous, but let them be ridiculous. This style can be really fun. Hearing the music brings to mind a bunch of guys (who happen to fat for some reason) swaying around singing together, assumedly with beers in their hand. If you can't find the fun in that, then I'm sorry for you.

Heidevolk have something going here. They always have. But what they have going for them is the same formula that they (and a few other bands) have been utilizing for a while now. It's becoming tired. That said, they still convey a fun and jiggy atmosphere that only the surliest of metal fans can deny.

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