Written by: Blackie Skulless
One of the quickest ways to pique my interest, especially in black metal, is to use a bleak painting or photo of what resembles middle-aged architecture or geography. So, Norway’s Heimland secured my attention with that alone. Composed entirely in Norwegian, their debut album entitled Forfedrenes taarer followed a brief EP that landed less in terms of memorability but gave enough of a heads-up for what was to come. As is usually the case with black metal that I eat right up, this sits right in between that warmer Hellenic melody drive and the fierce, recklessness of the band’s homeland origins.
For the most part, this definitely rests on the punishing side of blistering speeds carried by blast beats, tremolos, and the classic shrieks that give no sign of comprehension. But the comforting aspects make an appearance mainly in two ways. For one, the more rhythm-oriented riffs are not only produced in a way that brings their massive punch right to the front, but their integration into the deep abyss of everything else feels very refreshing. Going kind of hand-in-hand with that, the songwriting itself is also superb, and compelling.
This is made evident right off the bat with the creeping “Doedens foerstning” intro spilling right into the lead guitar sequence of “Ved doedens vugge.” Like many of the longer tunes, it disperses the different avenues really nicely, and its return to steadier form following a chaotic center was impressive. Others feel very direct, aiming to get to the point faster, such as “Skugger fra ei svunnen tid,” not feeling out of place at all. If anything, the concentrated effects of the warmer rhythms and explosive drive lay an even more haunting foundation. “Lagt i ruiner” amps this up to extreme temperatures in its outro, introduces tremolo basslines.
For every moment of unrelenting blows, there’s also a helping of steady riffing that helps with the flow of an otherwise unforgiving ride. Maybe the wheel isn’t being reinvented, but Forfedrenes taarer certainly shows that Heimland knows how to spin it properly. This tape is very much one that I can see sitting well with any fan of black metal, not being a very divisive one. Even if you hate it, you’ll only lose about thirty-five minutes of time.
Heimland - Forfedrenes taarer was released May 5th, 2023 via Edged Circle Productions
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.