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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Awesomely Spooky Music IV

There are quite a few musical works that I enjoy that evoke that magnetically dark and “spooky” atmosphere that I love in works of art. I thought that, as we approach the quintessentially spooky holiday of Halloween, I would make a few posts about some of my favorite pieces of Halloween-appropriate music. This is number four in the short series.

In the early-90’s, after not playing video games for a few years, I bought a SNES game system and two games: Mario Brothers 3 and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I put many, many hours into each. I had already seen the Dracula movie on which the game was based at the movie theater with my sister and two friends (in 1992, I think); I didn’t enjoy the movie quite as much as my sister did but I was interested in playing the game based on it. It was a good game for its time and a little hard for me to finish. I recall that it was one of those games with limited lives and once they were gone, I had to start the game from the beginning. The music was one of the high points of the game and is eerie enough in many cases. Hearing this soundtrack, I can still picture every level that each piece of music accompanies.

Edit: Shame & disgrace forever for my originally writing “Maria Brothers 3.” I can only blame the beer …

Awesomely Spooky Music III

There are quite a few musical works that I enjoy that evoke that magnetically dark and “spooky” atmosphere that I love in works of art. I thought that, as we approach the quintessentially spooky holiday of Halloween, I would make a few posts about some of my favorite pieces of Halloween-appropriate music. This is number three in the short series.

Nox Arcana have created a rather large number of albums, all with varying dark themes but all quite dramatic and impressive. Some of the albums tend to sound a bit similar to my ears, but they do a good job at making each themed album unique enough to stand out in some way from the others. Their newest, Season of the Witch, would make a particularly perfect soundtrack for any Halloween-themed endeavor:

And if you’d rather summon the Great Cthulhu, try their Necronomicon title, in particular the track, ‘Ritual of Summoning;’ ‘Ïa! Ïa! Cthulhu Fhtagn!’:

You can find Nox Arcana’s “Music for Creatures of the Night” and some sweet “Gothic Gear” on their website

Awesomely Spooky Music II

There are quite a few musical works that I enjoy that evoke that magnetically dark and “spooky” atmosphere that I love in works of art. I thought that, as we approach the quintessentially spooky holiday of Halloween, I would make a few posts about some of my favorite pieces of Halloween-appropriate music.

I would call the works of Lustmord more atmospheric soundscapes than music in the traditional sense, but his works definitely have an eerie vibe and can kind of take you on a mental journey. Apparently, his live shows incorporating sound and sights can be quite transcendental. This video gives a short taste of his type of performance.

Awesomely Spooky Music I

There are quite a few musical works that I enjoy that evoke that magnetically dark and “spooky” atmosphere that I love in works of art. I thought that, as we approach the quintessentially spooky holiday of Halloween, I would make a few posts about some of my favorite pieces of Halloween-appropriate music.

I’m starting with this gem of intense witchification, Hexerei im Zwielicht der Finsternis, by the group (solo artist?) Aghast. I don’t think that they/she ever did any other albums (if I’m wrong, please let me know), but this one would be at the very top of my all-time occult-sounding works. It’s creepy, eerie, “witchy,” and sublimely beautiful in a darkly fun way. Listen for yourself, and enjoy!

 

More from “Dreadful Folktales”

Video

Last month, I posted regarding the exhibition/book release in Norway for Dreadful Folktales from the Land of Nosferatu. The book is authored by Gina Sandulescu and illustrated by Costin Chioreanu, both of Romania. Costin has now posted a short movie about the exhibition, including interview clips with members of the bands Einherjer and Vulture Industries:

Music for Cthulhu’s Awakening

Video


 

Heavy, dark, intense, slow-grinding doom metal at its best. Catacombs is the one-man project of John Del Russi (currently doing projects under the name Xathagorra). This is a track from his 2006 recording, In the Depths of R’lyeh. Put out the lights and sink into this album’s oppressive transcendence. This is meditation music for the rest of us.

The Dark Beauty of Bach

From: hdw.eweb4.com/out/948282.html

From: hdw.eweb4.com/out/948282.html

This is the first in what I plan as occasional posts of music that I find related to the Dark or Dark-Light current. I don’t think that anyone plugs into that current the way that Johann Sebastian Bach does in many of his works, and most particularly in this one, the Passacaglia from the Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 582. Mysterious, sublime, terrifying, unrelenting and cathartic, it captures, to my mind, most perfectly Jacob Boehme’s Ungrund concept. It can pluck you up and hurtle you deep within the darkest cosmos and spit you out to bask in the searing fire of illumination. Maybe it only affects me that way. But – it has to be performed well, as in this recording by Michael Murray. I have a recording of the work by another, very accomplished organist, and that performance leaves me very cold; while it may be technically perfect, it does nothing for me on an inner level.

The person who uploaded this YouTube video has put up the complete Michael Murray recording, which includes some other works; I tried to set it up here so that it would begin at the Passacaglia, but if it starts at the beginning for you, as is likely, then click forward to exactly the 20:00 minute mark, which is where the Passacaglia begins. I may replace this with my own video of just the Passacaglia at some point, if I get around to making one.

Head Angel

Lorenzo Mattotti, from "The Raven" by Lou Reed/Lorenzo Mattotti; Fantagraphics Books, 2011.

Lorenzo Mattotti, from “The Raven” by Lou Reed/Lorenzo Mattotti; Fantagraphics Books, 2011.

I have a guardian angel

I keep him in my head

When I’m alone and become afraid

He saved my life instead

When I’m alone and become afraid

He saved my life instead

— from The Raven (“Guardian Angel”) by Lou Reed, illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti: Fantagraphics Books, 2011.

 

This is from a book of the lyrics from Lou Reed’s musical based on the life and writings of Edgar Allan Poe, and illustrated by an artist whose works I’ve long admired, Lorenzo Mattotti. If you get a chance, check it out.