Thursday, November 19, 2009

Heathendom - Nescience

A level of skepticism is in order when dealing with power metal hybrids given the mixed track record of late, but when it comes to this album it would be best to just throw caution to the wind and let its epic doom and symphonic additives work their magic on you. Whether it’s something in the water, or just the will of Mt. Olympus, Greece has put forward some astonishingly good doom projects in the past couple years, and Heathendom has instantaneously become a personal favorite of mine.

The contents on here definitely point towards a slight tilt in favor of epic doom metal, achieving dark and haunting atmospheres very much in line with the Solitude Aeturnus model. The power metal elements mostly come in the form of epic riff construction in the mold of Manilla Road and Virgin Steele, though some occasional commonalities between their elder Greek forefathers Sarissa also pop up. The average tempo of the album is just a little too fast for an all out doom band, but definitely falls short of the common speed metal emulation common to the mainline power metal bands of Western Europe. The most intriguing part of the band is the vocal delivery, which establishes this oddly fitting blend of a Messiah Marcolin’s solemn and depressing baritone with King Diamond’s ghostly falsetto harmonies.

But in spite of all the interesting individual attributes brought together here, the sum proves to be much more than the parts, as everything from start to finish superimposes innovative songwriting with a perfect blend of atmosphere and riff work.
The theatrical atmosphere resonates throughout the album, from the King Diamond-esque into and subtle use of keyboards to the epic Candlemass-like process of building up tension within the song.

Indeed, Heathendom seems to exploit the use of metaphors and allegory quite a bit to convey their ideas, the imagery being especially powerful throughout. The pseudo-horror King Diamond influence and the sense of the ancient past from Candlemass in the lyrics are a perfect fit for the music, and the dramatic and emotive vocal performance ties in well with the songwriting overall, assembling a very cohesive recording here in the form of Nescience.

Recommended. Awesome album

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