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Heidevolk’s latest offering ‘Batavi’ contains nine songs based on the history of the Batavian tribe who travelled to what is now present-day Netherlands in the first century BC and allied with the Romans. The album itself covers the time from the inception of the tribe to their eventual failed revolt against the Romans. But the band themselves describe the album as “a romantic interpretation based on true historic events”, so it’s not advised to base your history essays on this, although that’d be impossible for those whose Dutch is as non-existent as mine.

Interesting concept aside, the sound itself is Pagan Metal for grown-ups. The dual-vocals are rich enough to add an extra depth to the overall sound and the actual music itself is heavy enough that it loses most of the overt catchiness that many artists in this genre have. Looking through the liner notes, the band give an overview of what each song is about so even though the lyrics are not necessarily understandable to all listeners it is interesting to see that the general tone of the songs does tend to match the mood of the situation they’re trying to portray. So if you’re intrigued to know what a conspiracy of tribes against the Roman Empire sounds like musically, might be worth picking up this album.

Owing to the nature of the concept, the album does have a natural turning point where the music gets a little heavier (all that revolting will do that to you), but it’s not so noticeable as to be jarring and the album does have a good flow to it throughout. The album as a whole has been very nicely done and is very easy to listen to. The main purpose of the album, apart from the obvious element of wanting to make good music, seems to be to encourage their fans to find out more about their own history that they themselves find so fascinating. I think it’s safe to say that they’ve done pretty well on both counts.
Napalm Records
Review by Siân Williams
2nd March 2012
1) Een Nieuw Begin
2) De Toekomst Lonkt
3) Het Verbond Met Rome
4) Wapenbroeders
5) In Het Woud Gezworen
6) Veleda
7) Als De Dood Weer Naar Ons Lacht
8) Einde Der Zege
9) Vrijgevochten
"...Pagan Metal for grown-ups."