Heathen Foray - The Passage
24 April 2009

01. Fading Tree
02. Northstar
03. Winterking
04. Fortress Of Faith
05. Chants
06. Dragon's Eyes
07. Ancient Secrets
08. Wolkenbruch
09. Theatre Of Battle
10. Wilderness Lore

By now it's quite a long time ago since I considered myself a fan of folk metal. I sucked up every single torrent of bands labelled as either folk, pagan or viking metal like a dry sponge. The next thing that happened was that I probably overplayed the style, and taking into consideration that the genre can't exactly boast with its variation between different bands, folk metal soon began to bore me. With every new band shooting out of the ground I always thought "ah yes, I've heard this before" or "oh, isn't this riff extremely similar to the one on that other album I listened to yesterday?". And after all bands like that were shooting out of the ground a dime a dozen. Consequently I started caring about this kind of music less and less and there were only a few bands that still managed to hold my attention.

And now I have this album, "The Passage", the debut of the Austrian band Heathen Foray (not to be confused with Heathen Foray from the UK), lying before me. At first I was thinking to myself "OK Bas, I know just as much as you do that the chances are huge that this CD will suck hairy donkey balls, but you're a reporter, you have to give every CD a fair chance." But then as I listened to the first track, "Fading Tree", my jaw nearly dropped. This wasn't very original and I had a faint feeling that I've heard something very similar before, but I couldn't care less, this was just a fantastic song.

When thinking of folk and pagan metal one usually thinks about very heavy usage of the keyboard, traditional instruments like flutes and violins and a very big emphasis on atmosphere, Heathen Foray don't use any of these three in their music. What they do is just string a shitload of fast and hyper-melodic guitar riffs - most of which could just as well have been on a power metal release - together and add some ass-kicking solos, fast drumming (head-banging at their concerts is guaranteed) and vocals somewhere in between harsh singing and grunting. Of course the album is filled with clichés, and the lyrics are dripping with heard-that-before too, but then again, how many fans of this genre actually care about lyrics?

Unfortunately not all songs are on the same high level and most of them are pretty similar, an exception being "Wolkenbruch", the only German song, but on the other side there isn't a single song I'd really consider "bad". So if you're looking for music that can be best described as melodic pagan battle metal with a lot of fast and melodic guitar work and no folk instruments whatsoever; I present to thee, Heathen Foray.

Best track: Fading Tree

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 5
Production: 7

Band profile: Heathen Foray
Album: The Passage


written by Bas | 19.04.2009


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Comments: 13  
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Lily_Lazer - 19.04.2009 at 18:48  
Hmm, I guess I might give it a try aswell. It's been ages since something folkish really got my attention o.o;
Elio - 19.04.2009 at 20:16  
Should give a listen to this album, considering that Eluveitie is not that good and Finsterforst fall in the "already listened" section
Doc Godin - 19.04.2009 at 23:51  
The first paragraph is something I can identify with 137%. But alas I'm a sucker for awesome album artwork, so I suppose I'll check this one out.
Ask - 20.04.2009 at 01:09  
Reminds me of the Falkenbach song. I may look into this.
bard - 20.04.2009 at 02:27  
I can definitely hear what you mean about the hyper-melodic guitar riffs from what I heard on their myspace samples, there's some fun energy there...but with no folk instruments or even keyboard imitations of them...and without much of a folk atmosphere, doesn't this fall more into the category of something like extreme power metal?
Raiden - 20.04.2009 at 04:15  
Written by Ask on 20.04.2009 at 01:09

Reminds me of the Falkenbach song. I may look into this.

I thought this too. Perhaps they're influenced by Falkenbach.
Bas - 20.04.2009 at 09:05  
Written by bard on 20.04.2009 at 02:27

and without much of a folk atmosphere, doesn't this fall more into the category of something like extreme power metal?

Well technically a lot of the riffs and especially the solos could also have been used in a different context on an extreme power metal album, but if you listen to it again you'll realize that it still feels much more like folk metal, in your post you said there's a lot of "fun energy" around, what you're referring to is probably the same as what I call the folk metal spirit of the album
Janne - 20.04.2009 at 19:34  
Is it something Falkenbach rip-off?
Janne - 20.04.2009 at 19:51  
Anyway I'll give it a listen.
Pétur - 21.04.2009 at 17:02  
Liked the samples of there myspace, but I have a feeling that it gets repetitive fast if I hear the full album. Kick ass cover tough.
enumaelis - 05.05.2009 at 15:30  
I have noticed that I knew one band called Heathen Foray, but they were from UK and this band is from Austria... and both play viking metal and both active right now!!
I'm listening the one of the review and sounds not really creative but powerfull and melodic
JÄY - 22.02.2010 at 23:18  
After one listen, i like...thank you 2009 MS awards for the suggestion!
Sulac - 09.07.2010 at 06:01  
Written by JÄY on 22.02.2010 at 23:18

After one listen, i like...thank you 2009 MS awards for the suggestion!

Yup! Agree with this completely.

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