The Blackening Tide - Heidra

... So it is not my stridshjelm!

I liked Sworn two Vengeance, and in Front of Dawn was a brilliant debut, however, The Blackening Time is not a worthy sequel – unfortunately. But even the best sagas and the oldest eposser have småkedelige chapters and passages, which feels redundant.

My stridshjelm has three bumps, three bumps, my stridshjelm!

Danish Heidra began in earnest their outgunned back in 2014 with their first album Awating the Dawn. Fire years later they're ready with the followup namely, The Blackening Time, which also continues the story they started to tell on the first album. The gentlemen presents itself as being an "epic power/black/folk metal"band, and if you combine it with the lyrics, it is clear that it is easier to boil it all down to "vikingemetal". It must be understood that it is heavy and angry, but also cheerful and magnificent – as a Danish counterpart to the swiss Eluveitie minus the incomprehensible passages in the old-gaelic, of course.

...And has it not three dents...

One of the first things you discover at the album is that the eight songs are all quite long. The shortest number, "A Crown of Five Fingers", is approx. five minutes, while the longest, "Hell's Depths", is a little over seven minutes. I personally have nothing against long tracks, but it can be difficult to get all the seconds to be equally interesting, when you write such long numbers, and therefore, there are some passages in The Blackening Time, which seems redundant – unfortunately. For example, they could well have shortened a number as the "Lady of The Shade" with a half to a full minute. Another thing you quickly notice is the production, which therefore is somewhat curious. It is not bad, but the soundstage is a tad crooked in the sense that there is a lack of depth, and at times it sounds almost as if all the sound comes out of the same amplifier. It also makes that sound becomes muddy, and the guitars are going to lack impact – a problem that neither their debut in Front of Dawn or their ep Sworn two Vengeance had. Further I have a know it difficult to distinguish the eight songs from each other, in spite of the different intros they end up with to follow the same pattern and structure. Unfortunately it does work therefore, really there are only three-four songs on the album instead of eight. A third problem is also, that the way they mix the "epic power" with the more traditional black and death makes is that the pace often fluctuates too much and too sudden, and the result is anything other than epic.

But there are also positive things to say about the album! You need to recognize Morten Brylds clean-vocal, which most of all makes me think of good old Matt Barlow (yes, him from Iced Earth). And if one is to guitarlir and bombastic solos, as is The Blackening Time for a self-service buffet of epic proportions, if they are just not sounded so muddy and undervældende. I have not experienced Heidra live (yet), but I think that it is only when one gets their music thrown durk in the face, that such a right makes sense.

>> Check the songs and lyrics here