Rating:
7.4
Heidevolk - Batavi
2 March 2012


01. Een Nieuw Begin (A New Beginning)
02. Als Ons De Toekomst Lonkt (When The Future Beckons)
03. Het Verbond Met Rome (The Alliance With Rome)
04. Wapenbroeders (Brothers In Arms)
05. In Het Woud Gezworen (Sworn In The Woods)
06. Veleda
07. Als De Dood Weer Naar Ons Lacht (When Death Smiles At Us Again)
08. Einde Der Zege (The End Of Victory)
09. Vrijgevochten (Fought To Freedom)


Some albums can strike you as excellent examples of the genre with which they are labelled, the music contained within sounding exactly as one would desire and clutching closely onto the crux of said genre. On the other hand some give you a clear indication that they are just another run-of-the-mill output that fails to offer you anything beneficial. With their fourth release, entitled Batavi, Heidevolk offer an all too familiar tale of likeable folk/viking metal.

Question is who is going to be willing to partake of this piece of revelry? Well this satisfying set of songs drive onward with intense purpose and will leave many fans of the genre pleased. Tracks like "Wapenbroeders" are structured along that striving viking metal approach with hearty guitar work given a sweet flavour with the addition of the folk elements present in the violins and stylistic drumming. The rich vocals, both harsh and clean, are given much character with lively sounding accentuation of the Dutch lyrics, and the noticeable presence of the backing vocals in particular considerably enhances this.

Downsides? It holds on too tightly to its allegiances; that is it is viking/folk metal and little else. However stale or not you consider this genre to have become this album isn't one that is going to sway your opinion at all. There isn't anything unexpected here, it plays to a pattern and it does it well but nothing new is added. This is a failure of a great bulk of folk metal bands; there is generally an inability to inject just enough of an original presence within the genre in order to stand out. Yet there are those who may hold this album as an example of the creativity left within folk metal; an obvious competency for the delivery of music of a kind which appeals to what makes the genre an enjoyable one in the first place. Some might even find it to be a diamond in the rough, which is understandable considering the quality of song writing contained within.

This album invokes an excellent epic atmosphere which demands the attention of viking/folk metal fans. If you are less inclined to this side of metal you'll likely simply throw this atop your proverbial pile along with all the others which tasted like stale bread.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 9


Band profile: Heidevolk
Album: Batavi


 



Written on 27.07.2012 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
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Milena - 27.07.2012 at 15:49  
Great review as per usual! I wonder how did folk metal get in that state. I mean, you can swing any kind of folk music/influence + any kind of metal a million different ways, and yet people only go for two or three.
Marcel Hubregtse - 27.07.2012 at 16:17  
Heidevolk don't play Viking metal

The Vikings never got into the regions Heidevolk are from and sing about, namely Gelderland. And no viking instruments and musical structures used either. Pure folk metal this
R'Vannith - 27.07.2012 at 19:13  
Written by Milena on 27.07.2012 at 15:49

Great review as per usual! I wonder how did folk metal get in that state. I mean, you can swing any kind of folk music/influence + any kind of metal a million different ways, and yet people only go for two or three.


Thanks, and yeah I have no idea why this genre seems to have stagnated at a much quicker rate than any other. Metal which pulls in some folk elements is a broader spectrum to consider I suppose than stuff strictly labelled under the folk metal tag. Even so it's not very common that you hear it used in ways significantly different to whats already out there.
R'Vannith - 27.07.2012 at 19:19  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 27.07.2012 at 16:17

Heidevolk don't play Viking metal

The Vikings never got into the regions Heidevolk are from and sing about, namely Gelderland. And no viking instruments and musical structures used either. Pure folk metal this


That had me fairly confused initially, seeing them labelled elsewhere as Viking/Folk and their theme/lyrics deal with their own area which is not Scandinavian. This particular album is definitely stylistically Viking/Folk despite that, I would say. Much less of a Folk presence here than on some of their earlier releases like "Walhalla Wacht"
Marcel Hubregtse - 27.07.2012 at 19:25  
Written by R'Vannith on 27.07.2012 at 19:19

That had me fairly confused initially, seeing them labelled elsewhere as Viking/Folk and their theme/lyrics deal with their own area which is not Scandinavian.



And more importantly the Vikings never reached
R'Vannith - 27.07.2012 at 19:41  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 27.07.2012 at 19:25

Written by R'Vannith on 27.07.2012 at 19:19

That had me fairly confused initially, seeing them labelled elsewhere as Viking/Folk and their theme/lyrics deal with their own area which is not Scandinavian.



And more importantly the Vikings never reached


Probably would have come into contact with Vikings but culturally different yeah. This makes me wonder what is "Viking" about Viking metal, and if it's just based on theme and that sort of thing then this album hardly qualifies as Viking.
Fredd - 27.07.2012 at 23:34  
Written by Milena on 27.07.2012 at 15:49

Great review as per usual! I wonder how did folk metal get in that state. I mean, you can swing any kind of folk music/influence + any kind of metal a million different ways, and yet people only go for two or three.

I dont know. But when the majority of folk bands are Scandinavian or psuedo-Scandinavian, they are bound to repeat each other. Maybe if we had similarly large Mid-Eastern/Asian/South American folk metal movements, it would have been different.
Paradox0 - 28.07.2012 at 08:15  
Written by Milena on 27.07.2012 at 15:49

Great review as per usual! I wonder how did folk metal get in that state. I mean, you can swing any kind of folk music/influence + any kind of metal a million different ways, and yet people only go for two or three.


I know I might be over generalizing here a bit, but I think the reason why Folk Metal has gotten "stale" rather quickly is because the philosophy behind the genre doesn't aim to go to extremes or to out do anyone else in the genre. Unlike Power, Death, Thrash, Progressive and Black metal which hold a certain unwritten philosophy of trying to break new boundaries, showcase a new level of technicality, become faster, hevier, brutalier, eviler, more majestic, les g@'/, etc., Folk Metal's philsophy is more rooted in reviving and celebrating the past of the band's culture, or love of folky instruments. In Folk's case, there really doesn't seem to be a goal of being more folky than other bands either, because there is a mutual respect for other bands who share their own philosophy.Outside of a few exceptions, there really arn't many examples of crossing Folk Metal with other metal genre's as well, which I think is because to combine Folk with other contemporary genres like Prog kind of defeats the purpose of many Folk Metal band's philosophy. Same goes with combining wildly different types of Ethnic music (example: Asiatic and Germanic) as a Folk Metal album because that really isn't what Folk Metal is about (although this would be interesting to hear, would it be labeled as Folk?).
lord-metreveli - 28.07.2012 at 12:19  
Yeah! i love this album!:banger2::banger2::banger2::banger2::banger2::banger2:
AngelofDeth - 29.07.2012 at 03:11  
Written by Paradox0 on 28.07.2012 at 08:15

I know I might be over generalizing here a bit, but I think the reason why Folk Metal has gotten "stale" rather quickly is because the philosophy behind the genre doesn't aim to go to extremes or to out do anyone else in the genre. Unlike Power, Death, Thrash, Progressive and Black metal which hold a certain unwritten philosophy of trying to break new boundaries...

Its just natural evolution of music scenes; a few people start doing something new and do it well, a few other bands will tagalong early in the scene and usually they are all quite varied because the genre is a loose template, yet to be defined.

As it gains popularity record labels start signing bands like crazy to try and make a quick buck off the scene and try to push the "next big band". So you get this explosion of mediocre bands getting signed due to their genre, not their talent or originality and the genre gets saturated.

On top of that its rare for bands to produce great record after great record(usually somewhere around #4/#5 bands wane) which many of the big bands bands of the scene are at that point right now. So the genre is rotting from the bottom-up AND the top-down at the moment..

Virtually every genre gets to be in this state at some point, though some worse than others. And one of the genres you listed - Thrash is the worst culprit of genre stalenes..


ANYWAY about this particular album...
I find it nothing too groundbreaking but the clean singing makes it stand apart from the rest of the copy-cat bands. Some would say its too much like TYR singing but im not really a fan of TYR so I dont mind that. and its a nice break from the screaming dominated trend of modern metal I'd give about the same score - 7.4
Opethian - 30.07.2012 at 00:28  
I wish i knew how to speak Dutch haha. I Loved the vocals, as well as the entire album. This wouldn't be my favorite release, but a solid release indeed

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