My Favorite Heathen Metal

When I first seriously began to explore Northern Heathenry in 2006, there seemed to be a greater quantity of small, interesting, non-political websites related to Heathen subjects than I find now. The sites were not necessarily slick and beautiful (although there was a very beautiful Anglo-Saxon Heathenry site that I can no longer find), but I found much information on those sites and they made the exploration both fun and deep, and always compelling.

On one of those sites, I found a listing of Heathen bands, none of which I had ever heard, and there were MP3’s of a couple of songs for each one. Giving them a listen, one band jumped out at me in a major way: the Dutch band Heidevolk, whose lyrics were also only in Dutch. The two songs on that site had, to my ears, a perfect blend of an arresting folk sound mixed flawlessly with hard-driving metal and clean, masculine vocals. One of those songs was “Krijgsvolk” and someone had made a video (featuring Lego toys) for it on YouTube at the time (the beginning music is actually from the Heidevolk song “Het Gelders Volkslied”):

I was hungry for more, but at the time, I couldn’t find their nearly two-year-old album De Strijdlust is Geboren at any U.S.-based store (maybe I didn’t look carefully enough). I waited a while, but finally decided to order the album from the band directly. Their 3-song EP for the soon-to-come 2nd album (Walhalla Wacht) had just become available, so I was able to order both recordings.

I’ve just got to note that Heidevolk’s customer service was as good as their music. Within two weeks of my order, I received the package from the Netherlands at my home in North Carolina. They had included a small handful of these promo cards:

Heidevolk

Heidevolk Promo Card (front & back)

I won’t even guess at how many times I listened to those recordings, although I found the re-recording of “Het bier zal weer vloeien” on the EP much less pleasing than the original. I do, however, prefer slightly the version of “Wodan Heerst” on the EP to the version on the full LP. The third and last song on the EP, their cover of Normaal’s “Vulgaris Magistralis,” helped to get me through a difficult time, although not in the way most people talk about songs doing that for them. Music can purge as much as console.

When Walhalla Wacht, including the violin talents of Stefanie Speervrouw, came out the following year, I ordered that from the band directly, as well, along with this awesome t-shirt (this is just the back of the shirt):

Heaidevolk T-Shirt, Wodan Heerst

Heaidevolk T-Shirt, Wodan Heerst

Completing Heidevolk’s trio of glorious albums was 2010’s Uit Oude Grond, but it was, in my opinion, the spiritual swan song of the band. Two years later came Batavi, but I never enjoyed the album and it was the last Heidevolk album that I bought. It seemed to me that the folk aspect had been left behind for a middle-ground metal sound with less to make it unique. They also afterwards ended up losing both of the two main original vocalists (Joris and Mark), and this was a great loss, indeed. The band continues in its present form, but I’m just grateful for the early recordings that have brought me so much enjoyment over the years.

And here is the link to a blog post that I made about Heidevolk on the Grundfus blog back in 2011:

https://ungrundfus.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/nehalennia-by-heidevolk/

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