REVIEW: Regnat Horrendum - Heathenland


(REPOSTED From BrubbADubb, who is me so... who cares)

I firmly believe that most musical endeavors are capable of transcending the language barrier, especially so in within the realm of metal. It only makes sense that a emotionally charged genre would be able to carry that emotion past the thinly guised nature of lyrics. Though, when it comes to certain bands and sub-genres - things can be more about theme, especially with black metal, so this review is partially an experiment - with my hapless guinea pig being: Regnat Horrendum and their album 'Heathenland'.

First and foremost, however, I have to say that Regnat Horrendum is by no means a terrible band. Heathenland is a wonderfully composed black metal album that isn't afraid to veer off into whimsical, sometimes cheesy-as-hell, territory. The album begins as somewhat typical, though competently produced, black metal fare, but that doesn't really last past the first track. Afterwards, a slew of experimentation begins. Regnat Horrendum loves the synth, piano, a tiny bit of twangy Hills-Williams influence, and they are not afraid to dip their tracks in it - sometimes even drown everything in hideous late 90's level synthetic technology. Really, with most bands this could be considered a horrible thing, but I find that it adds a little charm to the generally biting style black metal is known for. Think, I suppose, Turisas with a black metal vocal style - within the medium of writing, that is probably the only real way to explain what Heathenland is.

It's not always a great time though, I feel like piano solos can be a great addition but when it comes to metal a whole lot has been done. At this point, its just a little too typical for me - especially when it's just there to add 'prettiness' to a ugly genre like it is here. Perhaps if something more unique had been attempted, I'd feel differently, but nothing was. Because of their abundance, the last bit of Heathenland is a snore fest and almost completely loses the fun factor. Things become way too... symphonic. Truly, this is a top heavy album.

Now, as for if the general themes and tones of the music can be understood by the average English listener? Well, I suppose I'm not average, but I can't understand anything going on in Heathenland. Then again, I don't exactly know Russian, not in the slightest. I'm not sure that really detracts from the entertainment value though, Regnat Horrendum could be howling about the woes of catching a VD from a herd of sheep and I wouldn't know it - but the lack of understanding does allow the vocals to be considered more of a instrument. Though, it's black metal dude, most of the time you can barely understand what is being said by most of it's bands anyhow.

As for Heathenland? It's a good listen, a great album with very few short comings, a few goofy moments (mostly because of cheesy synth), but a whole lot of effectual metal for those who love more experimental black metal offerings. It can be a little slow though, and there can be way too much keyboard, but if that doesn't detract you at all - by all means, give the album a go.