WYRD — Heathen (review)

WYRD — Heathen album cover Album · 2001 · Pagan Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
I will say that Wyrd's Heathen is the best pagan black metal album I've ever heard, but that said, I've only heard two 'offical' albums in this specific subgenre. That sort of discredits saying the first sentence completely. Anyway, Wyrd's first release certainly isn't lacking in ambition. A 51 minute single song that plays (mostly) as exactly that.

There are no real noticeable areas where the song appears to be simply stitched together, and in terms of the concept (as I like in concept albums) this is a singular united work. It begins deceptively simple, with a lone guitar strumming out a simple riff a few times over, then building, repeating, until just before the two minute mark there is a split second pause; which sends shivers down my spine as the real metal aspect of the album comes forth, and the black metal vocals come in, accompanied later on by less aggressive/narrated vocals.

The lyrics deal with the anger from the opposite side of the field in regards to the "Christianisation" of a Pagan village/settlement, and how they fight back against these invaders and their false god.

Two issues I have with this album are the slightly excessive length, which could have been shaved of five minutes and retained, if not increased the final impact of the album. The other issue is the production quality, which, despite its low fi nature, gives it quite a unique sound, but also points to some flaws in the different aspects of production. For instance, the clean parts on guitar are very, very clean, whilst the black metal parts are just laced with fuzzy recording. This doesn't withdraw from the experience, but for a first time listen, it is definitely noticeable. As the album progresses though, you'll soon forget about this aspect and get immersed in the atmosphere. For a debut, this is quite the powerful statement to make.
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