Heidens Hart Records, based in the Netherlands, delivers a variety of extreme metal artists in the form of CD, tape and vinyl.
Be sure to pick up a few of these titles and support this underground cult, I know I will be…
After a slew of demos and a 2006 split with Antiyou, Dutch wizards of melody Murw offer up their long awaited full-length titled ‘Kanker’. Four tracks of what I believe to be all new material awaits listeners on this 37 minute release. Layers of guitars form an atmosphere that is quite mystical, melancholic and, at times, breathtaking. The wailing guitars echo and moan to form a shimmering wall of sound on the 11 minute opus ‘Als Sneeuw Voor de Zon’, which roughly translates to ‘As Snow Before the Sun’. The album’s opening track jumps right into a driving rhythm but does so only set up the breakdown melody progression, leaving me a bit unsatisfied. ‘De Buitenstaander’ (The Outsider), like the other tracks, follows an unfamiliar path, leading the listener from one shadow to the next without a verse-chorus-verse structure to guide the way. An abundance of musicianship and songwriting finesse make a great impression on ‘Kanker’ and creates a unique album so that fans of well arranged extreme metal will have no qualms when recommending it to friends.
Ancestors Blood defies the ever-prevalent sound of Finnish filth black metal and offers up a grand and glorious soundscape on their EP ‘When the Forest Calls’. Often smothered in simple keyboard pads and driving rhythms, the epic nature of Ancestors Blood knows when to push and when to pull, giving each instrument a chance to shine its proverbial light. The blasting attack of ‘Reborn Spirit in a New Flesh’ hammers down the coffin nails while the instrumental ‘Metsapirtti (part 1)’ wanders leisurely with you against the mountainside, full sun on your face and breeze in your hair. On most days, this isn’t the style of music I want to sit around and listen to but it is done so damn well that it may just bend my otherwise iron will. With over-the-top atmosphere, it often does best as background music, working subconsciously to affect the listener with its dreamlike lucidity. Although an intro track that is barely a minute long on a 30 minute EP will never make sense to me, the solid ‘A Dark Passage from the Past’ grants plenty of forgiveness. Not to be overlooked by fans of epic metal majesty!
Now this is the release I have been waiting for! ‘Eens Weer Prevealeert Het Hediens Hart’ (Once Again the Pagan Heart Prevails), from the Netherlands’ Morhaedoth, contains nine tracks across 49 minutes of black blasts, neck-wrenching thrash, acoustic guitars and varied vocal styles, leaving an impression that the album is much longer than it really is. 7 minute album opener ‘Balder’, gives us a slow and eerie guitar line over a vicious rhythm section syncopation before punishing non-believers with a relentless black metal attack. The edgy guitar tone on ‘Beschermd Bij Den Hamerslag’ offers up a thrash riff to die for before breaking into a clean guitar and vocal passage that works well within the song structure. It seems that the material on this release was recorded at different times, as the drums, guitars and vocals all vary from track to track in terms of sound production. The album feels a bit displaced because of this but, on a positive note, it is also that much more diverse. ‘Bloodstorm’ is a good example, with its death crush of a chorus, thrash attack and ever-evolving song progression that really pushes itself upon the listener. Although the guitar leads get downright blues-y and stick out a bit, the overall impression from this release is a positive one, giving the listener much to digest and listen for again and again.
Show me the fools who dare stand in the path of Germanic masters Heimdall’s Wacht! Let their thin blood spill and flow wildly, for the 12 tracks that comprise ‘Nichtorte – Oder Die Geistreise Des Runenschamanen’ are akin to sharp blades in the hands of skilled and vengeful assassins. Weighing in at just over an hour, ‘Nichtorte…’ keeps a clenched fist at the ready throughout and offers up an audible assault that is utterly devastating, regardless of how you define ‘heavy’. Beyond the humdrum intro/outro bookends, tracks like ‘Maelstrom’ and ‘Der Wind gibt mir Geleit’ provide the perfect combination of black atmosphere and savage aggression, blotting out the blue sky with dark clouds and heavy rain. ‘Ignis Fatuus’ bashes everything in sight with ease before building up such a mosh-inducing climax you can’t help but clench your fist and shove everyone within arm’s reach. Drop a few instrumental interludes here and there, one with synthesizers, one with acoustic guitar, craft a slow and dreadful dirge of 8+ plus minutes titled ‘Waldeinsamkeit’ (Forest Isolation) and close the album out with a gloomy and patient melody of black metal despair and you have the ingredients for a near-perfect release. Heimdall’s Wacht set the standard high with ‘Nichtorte…’ , now would be a good time to get off your ass and give them a listen!
Razor-sharp guitars, blasphemous blasts and vile vocals await listeners on ‘Haatstorm’, debut full length from Dutch demons Zwartplaag. Building upon a string of demos that began in 2005, ‘Haatstorm’ delivers a hungry horde of wolves to the sheep, and with furious drums and all-encompassing guitar ambiance, the fold is quickly devoured. Although this release was recorded at the same studio as the aforementioned Ancestor’s Blood, it contains little of the same sheen and shine but plenty of the grandiose atmosphere, attitude and aggression. The instruments are, for the most part, audible and well-balanced, leaving the album’s most ‘raw’ quality to be the song arrangements. Most of the time, ‘Haatstorm’ wields a mighty melody but at times, we hear it progress too long or even appear on other tracks in similiar form. ‘Forgotten Tower of Moon’, ‘Countess of Blood’ and ‘Last Stronghold of Eternal Hate’ all fall victim to this trap and, although it does not turn the release to complete shit by any means, it does leave a little to be desired. At the end of the day, the bottom line is that ‘Haatstorm’ is violent, ugly and disrespectful to those who deserve no respect, the way black metal was intended!