Pagan metal icons Heidevolk surely need no introduction, having now released several well-received albums and playing massive shows all over Europe. As of a few days ago they released their latest album ‘Vuur van Verzet’ which translates to ‘Fire of Resistance’, which has already taken the world by storm with the help of teaser single releases Ontwaakt and A Wolf in My Heart, both the first songs on the album.. so, shall we begin?
Ontwaakt begins in full swing with Heidevolk’s classic driving rhythm and strong clean vocals. Midway through the track there is a long instrumental period which then has the song take a dive into darker depths, though promptly swings back up into the soaring vocals the band is renowned for.
A Wolf in My Heart displays the type of sound that made Heidevolk who they are today, with powerful emotion inducing vocals, accented with storytelling sections as well as growls accompanied by epic instrumental work and group backing vocals making this track an absolute masterpiece in and of itself. There are even sections in which you can hear howling included in the mix which I though was a nice touch.
Onverzetbaar has a lovely soft acoustic intro which soon augments with guitar, then shortly escalates. You’ll notice in this album Heidevolk have decided to showcase their instrumental work more so than in the past, slightly understating the vox over the top; save for particular moments where commanding vocals take wing. We then have Ynwaz’ Zonen, the shortest track on the album which opts for a more acoustic clean acoustic pagan chanting approach, not unlike that of Wardruna.
We then come to the song Britannia which brings the sound back to one of metal rather than pure folk, the song advances with a fast build of riff as well as a quick drum build into their trademark vocal work, augmented by a choir of backing vocals. The track slows down for a good portion whilst not in chorus and is supplemented by a beautiful combination of acoustic and electric strings, the song really ends on an impressive note by combining all elements mentioned in an awe-inspiring manner.
The Alliance is an interesting contrast of darker themes with much lighter tones, then comes in with a late 70’s to early 80’s almost power or thrash vocal inserts which take you off guard but are certainly not disappointing, almost like that of Dio. A truly curious but wonderful piece.
Tiwaz, Norse rune for Tyr, god of law and justice, is a folkier, driving and very upbeat song with a strong melody much like a lot of their music on the much loved 2010 release ‘Uit Oude Gronde’, and is one of my personal favourites off of the album.
Following this is Het Oneindige Woud, a short acoustic instrumental folk addition to the album, slow and calm in nature it is an undoubtedly pleasant, even magical insertion to the collection.
That was, of course, the calm before the storm because Heidevolk come back with Gungnir. Beginning with a strong hammer in, this song is one you’ll find easy to break your neck to with sturdy consistent percussion all throughout the track; save for a brief vocal and string solo halfway through which soon transitions back, demonstrating an unyielding intensity alongside soaring vocals.
The domineering feel doesn’t fade with Woedend, with a fortitude to the piece that had me windmilling in my room uncontrollably upon first hearing it; the perfect balance of musical beauty and brutality.
Het Juk der Tijd kicks off with a very distinctively acoustic folk vibe which, while short lived, progresses well into a relaxed yet still dynamic sonic experience of heavy metal you still find yourself swaying to until the very demise of the track as it slows down and falls into a gradual diminuendo.
The last two tracks are bonuses, the first being Drink op de Nacht, which as the name suggests, is a fun, intimate acoustic piece, accompanied by strings, guitar, clapping in time, shouts, jeers – really, the vibe you’d expect of a peaceful night’s drink around the campfire (in fact you can actually hear the sound of a burning campfire alongside sounds of nature near the end of the track) jamming with ones brethren.
The next bonus track is titled Een Wolf in mijn Hart which as one would assume is the Dutch version of A Wolf in my Heart, the second track of ‘Vuur van Verzet’, I honestly cannot choose which of the two I prefer as not much changes but the language, both are thoroughly enjoyable listening experiences.
All in all I think Heidevolk did amazing with this album. I cannot say it’s necessarily my favourite of their works but that could be the nostalgia bias talking. I will say however I did find ‘Vuur van Verzet’ absolutely riveting and am honoured to have had the opportunity to review the album. It’s definitely worth a listen whether you’re a fan of the genre or not!
Get your copy of ‘Vuur van Verzet’ here.