Heathen Foray had never left the battlefield.
Since its formation in 2004 in Austria, the band composed of Jürgen Brüder (guitar), Robert Schroll (vocals), Markus Wildinger (bass), Alex Wildinger (guitar) and Markus Kügerl (drums) has been developing Melodic Death Metal with Epic Folk influences, which they unveil again in 2023 with Oathbreaker, their sixth album.
Oathbreaker, the eponymous track, immediately throws us into the middle of the battlefield, letting bloody riffs settle on a jerky and motivating rhythmic, accompanied by impressive vocal parts. The heady melodies don’t let us rest and lead us to Leben, a longer composition which develops a melancholic introduction before letting the band charge with a much more aggressive approach. Folk inspirations are clearly audible in this track with leads worthy of the greatest chivalrous flights, reinforced by a martial Death Metal, and we also have this mixing on the catchy Ahnenreih, which offers heavier and sometimes haunting tones to create a contrast with the most lively and sharpest elements. There are a few wilder parts, followed by Heimdalls Spross and its steady groove which will soon have the whole pit united, strengthened by a heavy sound and heady leads before Allvoll sets the scene with an energetic rhythm. The jerky riffs honoring alcohol slows down to let the vocalist offer us a unifying chorus, then 1000 Years Of Human Flesh goes back to more melancholic elements to accompany its thick and dark rhythmic. Dissonance is very present on this haunting track where leads are legion, decorating the dark curtain with soaring melodies and creating a contrast with the massive and slow basis which accompanies us to Raiment, a composition mixing the warlike atmosphere with lighter harmonics. The alliance of the two opposite elements wonderfully works, letting one or the other take over before finally giving way to the joyful Covenant Of Swords, which will place dancing leads on a lively and motivating rhythmic, allowing the band to close its album with a catchy touch.
The combination of warlike Melodic Death and catchy Folk touches allows Heathen Foray to create effective and heady riffs which are skillfully anchored in the darker or more joyful sounds. Oathbreaker is more than a weapon of choice, it’s an obvious pick!