Heidevolk – Batavi
text: Basak Gunel
Heidevolk is a band from the Netherlands which was formed in 2002. Those six men, were first formed under the name of ‘Hymir’ but the band changed its name to Heidevolk (meaning ‘heath-folk’ in Dutch’) later. The genre of this band can be considered as folk/viking metal and their songs are mostly based on the history of Gelderland and the Germanic mythology.
All of the lyrics of this band are in Dutch. Their style is a bit different from the other folk metal bands such as Ensiferum and Tyr: instead of fast and technical guitar riffs, the clean vocals are more dominant.
The band has released six albums in total. Their first album ‘Het Gelders Volkslied’ was released as a demo in 2004, but it was their fourth album ‘Walhalla Wacht‘, released as a full-length album in 2008, which made the band known worldwide. Heidevolk recently released their latest album ‘Batavi.’
The first song “Een Nieuw Begin” from the album ‘Batavi’ begins like a typical folk metal song. One thing that is recognizable is the dominance of the heavy guitar riffs and thundering drums instead of the clean vocals. Compared to old songs like “Saksenland” or “Nehalennia”, this can be considered as a change for Heidevolk.
This change can be felt quite well in songs like “Einde der Zege” or “Als De Dood Weer Naar Ons Lacht”, where the the heavy guitar riffs, and even guitar solos, become dominant instead of clean vocals and folk-ish elements. Especially in the song “Het Verbond Met Rome”, the brutal vocals show us that Heidevolk did not only change musically but they improved as a band.
One song that caught my attention was “Veleda”. This song is the only slow song on the album. But it describes the mood and the concept of the album so well, that it makes me shiver. It can also be considered as the summary of the album ‘Batavi’. This song tells about the war and struggle of Germanic tribes against one Roman Empire in north-western Europe.
As a folk metal fan, I really enjoyed listening to this album despite the change of style of the band. However, for the fans of old Heidevolk songs, this album may sound a bit too fast and not like Heidevolk at all. Bands do change though and I think Heidevolk used this change of style in a positive way and added some elements like guitar riffs to their sound. It makes the music more dynamic.