Heathendom – S/T   Leave a comment

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It goes without saying that the Greek Heavy Metal scene has always had great but very underrated bands. I don’t if its a isolation thing but the Greeks have always found it hard to rise up to the next level of success even though they made have solid following’s in Greece. The same can be said for Italian bands, that is a real shame because the Greek Metal scene has produced some of the most classic Metal ever, no more classic that Heathendom. Their full length debut “Nescience” was released 10 years after the formation of the band, on July 15th 2008 and that is a sheer masterpiece in its own right. A review for that album will be published in the coming weeks, the band are also preparing to release a album titled “”The Symbolist”, that album should see the light of day in October. According to their Myspace site, the band are moving away(slightly) from the Doom Metal elements into a more dark US and Scandinavian Power Metal approach, i hope they don’t forget about the doom too much because the two albums i have heard are a perfect blend between classic HM and old-school melodic Doom Metal. For now though, i am reviewing the self-titled album which was originally a demo recorded in 2005. It has been re-released on vinyl by Metal On Metal Records with new artwork by Jowita Kaminska and they have re-recorded the track “Haunted Within” and merged that with another tune called “Hell Within” to create a 20 minute epic titled “Haunted In Hell”.

After a short intro piece titled “Angelus” that sets the epic-metal vibe perfectly comes “Poem By Rote”, a harrowing doomy slice of emotional and atmospheric metal. The old-school approach is everywhere on this album and “Poem By Rote” contains all the elements that made early 80’s Metal so timeless. You have strong cascading melodies, exciting lead work, powerhouse drumming and a vocal range that at times verges into King Diamond territory. There is however a strong backbone of vintage and epic Doom Metal to this and the other tracks on the album. Just like how Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus know how to take a emotional, atmosphere melody and make the emotions soar even higher, Heathendom are also very decisive at making the songs soar with powerful, dramatic and expertly delivered musical segments. “War And Pain” is another example of breath-taking riffing and vocal athletics combining with solid drumming which features pummeling double-kicks. The guitar work of Lefteris Vourliotis and Michail Vlavianos is exceptionally tight and while they do follow a very well-worn musical path, they also play with a character and flair that is uniquely theirs alone.

The instrumental “Mental Pabulum” is a showcase for those talents, one part Mercyful Fate and another part that is very symphonic, this is a track that whirls around your head especially if you turn this up through a powerful surround-sound system which i did. “Silent Mangling” begins with semi-classical guitar before building into more epic power Doom Metal. The vocal range of Dimitris Koutsouvelis is truly stunning as he offers a plethora of different vocal styles, sometimes its a lower register, other times he soars into high notes that can break beer glasses. This gives the songs some real diverse elements as he change character’s within songs and does it with seemingly no effort at all. That leads you into “Haunted In Hell”, a 20 minute extravaganza full of dramatic high and lows. Symphonic in parts and very orchestrated in the epic metal sense, its a melodic journey that gets a little tedious in parts but most of it is a masterful, tasteful and most of all entertaining epic metal drama. The basic vibe is like a horror-movie soundtrack that builds in its cinematic quality. The vocals of Dimitris Koutsouvelis are again truly captivating and while the entire piece is a little long for the style, its a glorious adventure just the same. This self-titled album from Heathendom is one that will appeal to the old school metal fan the most but riff lovers and people that crave adventurous guitar work and arrangements should find this a exciting release. You don’t hear too much metal these days like this so enjoy it while you can. Heathendom is definitely a band that should be on everyone’s radar so check them out. 9/10

Heathendom @ MySpace
Metal On Metal Records

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Posted July 22, 2010 by doommantia in Heathendom

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