Heidenblut – Freesenleed

Here’s another blind trade item I got a while back from a German friend.  Heidenblut is a rather obscure black/viking/folk metal band, but it probably doesn’t sound like what you’re imagining from that description, especially because it’s only accurate on about half the tracks, the other half of which are fairly straightforward, Norwegian derived BM.  It makes for a rather uneven listening experience, particularly when you randomly throw in a ten minute track based on simply, rockish drum machine rhythms and plaintive piano melody.  It’s not a bad album, but due to the excessive variation and strangely indefinite style, it ends up being more a curiosity piece than a frequent player.

Heidenblut seems to employ a drum machine, which contrasts strangely with the otherwise rather warm production.  A myriad of riffing styles are used, from late Bathory-style epic plodding to straight tremolo, and the melodic sense is equally varied with notes taken from, again, late Bathory, German folk metal, and the original Norwegian black metal artists.  Vocals are similarly varied, sometimes opting for harsh black metal style vocalizations and other times a declarative clean.  To be honest, nothing really seems wrong with the release; the song structures are fairly interesting despite their length, all the instruments are played well, the riffs generally seem good, etc.  It’s hard to criticize for any one reason.

But still, something seems… off about the music.  It’s weirdly hard to enjoy.  Maybe it’s the noisy production and guitar tone which tends to obscure the riffs, or maybe it’s the riffs themselves, but there’s something unsatisfying about the album as a whole.  I think the fact that the album as a whole is such a stilted listening experience is definitely part of it; it seriously lacks a coherent flow and feels more more like a compilation of one-off songs than a complete work.  There seems to be a disconnect between the songs and the listener; the gap isn’t bridged and you always feel detached from the decently-composed but weirdly sterile music.

I guess I just don’t get it, even though it’s something that should be gotten fairly easily.  If you’re interested in it, I guess you should give it a listen, but I can’t particularly recommend it.  There’s nothing wrong that I know of, but there’s definitely something that I can’t quantify that keeps this from being the experience it should.

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~ by noktorn on May 30, 2008.

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