At 13 tracks and an hour of music, Hexenklad’s recently released second album Heathenheart is a substantial body of work, and a wide-ranging one. Although “folk/black metal” or “pagan metal” are genre labels you might see attached to the band, Heathenheart moves among episodes of wintry blackened moodiness, warlike savagery, grand pageantry, acoustic folk tales, and a lot more.
As the band themselves report from Ontario, “From the coldness and rawness found in Black Metal to the uplifting and memorable melodies found in Folk Metal, to the hooks and choruses found in Heavy Metal,” the record is a broad representation of the members’ varied influences and personalities, and it brings to mind bands such as Moonsorrow and Dissection, Primordial and Insomnium.
Among all the varying experiences offered by the album, the title track is one that’s truly moving and inspiring, and it’s the subject of a riveting guitar playthrough video that we’re premiering today, which focuses on the talents of Hexenklad guitarist John Chalmers.
Photo by Vikki Kay Photography
As we all know, “epic” is an overworked and cliched term, but “Heathenheart” (the song) truly is epic — gloriously epic. Book-ended by a magnificent and majestic dual-guitar melody and heroic singing, the song is a fiery, soaring spectacle of sound, racing to battle on a grand scale. The vocals are absolutely and relentlessly unhinged in their ravaging barbarism, but the music repeatedly whirls and soars as it hammers and gallops. A jolting riff sets the stage for Chalmers‘ stirring guitar solo, and then the music becomes a sweeping, heart-swelling panorama of mythic grandeur.
On top of all that, the video is a great thing to watch. Apart from being really good at what he does, John Chalmers himself has a commanding presence, like some clan chieftan from an ancient time, that seems entirely in keeping with the atmosphere of the music — and you can tell he’s feeling what he does, without “showing off”. He tells us:
“Heathenheart is a folk metal anthem. As soon as it started to come together, we knew this had to be the single we released first. It is just so memorable and so poignant and relevant to the times we are all going through. It is a song about being alone, yet all connected. All Lone Wolves yet all part of a larger pack. About protecting and raising each other up. The song feels like its message. It is uplifting, powerful, memorable, anthemic.”
Heathenheart (the album) was released by CDN Records on July 23rd, and the label recommends it for fans of Moonsorrow, Amon Amarth, Ensiferum, Insomnium, and Windir. We’ve included a full stream of it below the following links, as well as the previous official video that Hexenklad released for the same song we’re featuring today.