Heidevolk - Batavi

Pagan metal is kind of an interesting genre. Either people really seem to like it or they really seem to hate it. One of the beefs that I've had with Pagan Metal in the past is that oftentimes it seems kind of silly with a bunch of scruffy looking dudes in battle armor singing what sounds like traditional songs to a metal beat. Lots of times it just doesn't work and the band in question just seems to come off as goofy.
Goofy is definitely NOT the case with Heidevolk's latest "Batavi". According to the press release "Batavi" is some sort of concept album about Germanic tribes fighting against the Roman Empire.
Damned if I know what the hell the band is singing about though as the singing is all in Dutch. Usually I hate albums that aren't in English but this is most definitely not a usual album: Even though I have no idea what these guys are saying, the songs are so powerful that they literally convey the image of a heroic fight against one's enemies. The songs are epic and give the general feeling of going into battle. One thing in particular that I want to mention is the vocals: While some Pagan Metal bands try to ape Amon Amarth with Death Metal style vocals, much of the time it just does not suit the music. In my mind Pagan Metal with their hymns to battle should have some quality singing to back up the anthemic songs. Heidevolk's singer can actually carry a tune and his singing actually puts the band over the top. Good stuff and highly recommended to even those who don't normally like Pagan metal. (8.5/10)