Heidevolk – Velua (Napalm)

Tuesday, 24th March 2015
Rating: 8/10

With Heidevolk’s fourth album, Batavi, the band sought to put a bit more aggression into Heidevolk’s sound. For the most part, it worked, and provided a bit more power along with the traditional realm of chanted vocal harmonies that are the band’s trademark. But what happens when the vocal duo that has been around since the beginning of the band loses a member?

The burning question in most fans minds has to be if Heidevolk still sounds like Heidevolk, following the departure of Joris Boghtdrincker. Well, in short, Heidevolk still maintains the high caliber of vocal harmonization, with original vocalist Mark Splintervuyscht meshing quite nicely with new co-vocalist Lars NachtBraecker. In fact, with all respect to Joris, you’d be hard-pressed to say that the band even missed a beat! The harmonies the duo have crafted in tracks like “Urth” and the title track are some of the finest the band has crafted to date.

With the trademark vocals getting their due, Velua does contain some equally compelling music to add to them. One particular highlight is that of the acoustic beginning to “Richting de Wievenbelter,” which almost has a feeling of an old In Flames instrumental before it starts gaining momentum (and vocals). Lead-off track “Winter Woede” and “Drankgelag” shows the band capable of pulling some more melodic death metal riffs into their traditional folk sound without compromising it. Then there is “Vinland,” which not only contains the band’s first even English lyrics (inspired by their Paganfest 2013 appearance), but some nice, stomping riffs and a killer solo.

While Velua merely continues a progression that the band has been moving in all along, it’s an undeniably enjoyable album. Providing just the right balance of beauty and heaviness, Heidevolk prove they are still capable of their unique folk take with a new vocalist.

Heidevolk official website