Heathen Foray - The Passage review
|Release date:||April 2009|
01. Fading Tree
04. Fortress Of Faith
06. Dragon's Eyes
07. Ancient Secrets
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
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| Doc Godin
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