Heathendom – The Symbolist
After their interesting debut „Nescience“, which received good reviews all over the worlk, the greek dark metal band Heathendom published now their second output „The Symbolist“. The band, that was formed back in 1998, said that they have put some thrash and horror movie elements in their sound now, without leaving the doom vibes as well.
And the album starts with the stunning title „Endistancement by the Null Position“. Atmospheric begin like Mercyful Fate/King Diamond. Vocalist Dimitris Koutsouvelis performs not that high parts as the King himself, but is near to it. Midtempo song, powered by guitars and vocals. Yes…it is dark and mystical. Back in time with a timeless sound.
„Alternate Sickness“ starts with a guitar riff that lead to dark vocal lines. Similar to the first track it is also held in midtempo. Again near to King Diamond in arrangements and vocals with faster parts in the middle and a guitar solo fast at start, slow in the end.
Fearful symphonic part opens the title track. „The Symbolist“ is a song with more speed. I can hear out some Rob Halford vibes in vocals. The drums push it but the guitars pushin the brakes sometimes to slow it down. Dimitris performance here sounds a little weird, but that is like he wants to create the horror atmosphere in the sound of Heathendom. Fastest song so far with some slower breaks to keep the excitement.
„My Obedience“ is started with hard guitar riffing. The vocals are doom as hell but the guitars speeds it up. So we can say we have a speedful doom song here. Curious, but great played. Cool scream of Dimitris in the middle and some choirs from hell rounds it up. Very interesting.
Dark Pianos and organs open „Black Euphoria“ interrupted by guitar riffs. Suddenly a „what shall we do with the drunken sailor“- guitar part appears and also the choir vocals remember to that old pirate song. How can this fit with the ground horror theme? Well…it can. The song is brilliant arranged with tempo changes, hard guitar riffs. Clear vocals in duet with higher screams as we know it…yes…from King Diamond. First I had to smile in the beginning but in the end I can put my thumb up.
Back in doom with „Sanctified“. Typical vocals for that kind of music. Slow and mighty. But at the end the song is getting faster and moves to a smasher. All in all this is a pure doom song.
The beginning of „The Concept of Reason“ remembers a little to Black Sabbath’s Headless Cross. Powerful and pumping. Dark and doom reigns the scene. Guitars riffing all over. Here we also can find something like a refrain for the first time. Most powerful song so far. And again we find one of the rare guitar solos of this album in this song. I would not say there are thrash elements but this is the hardest song of The Symbolist for sure.
„Die Insane“ starts with acoustic guitars, spanish style, before riffs and drums break the wall. Midtempo song with violins supporting the dark scene. Aggressive vocals without growls on higher sound. The violins lean the song a tragic touch that stands opposite of the brutal vibes of the rest. Good against bad. Great song !!
Marching drums and silent guitars starting „Prescience of the End“. Great guitar part to follow. Dimitris decided to perform clean again. From whispering to suffering to high screams. Pest performance of the vocalist so far. Slow in tempo with hard guitar lines. Lot to do for drummer George here. I want to say that George is always pushing the songs forward if they get in danger to stop. For me this is the best song of the whole album, cause of the brilliant vocals and strong arrangements.
„An Angel a Demon and a Dying God“ ends this interesting album. Weird start followed by short guitar entrance direct to the vocals set in. With more than 7 minutes the last song is also the longest. Vocals and instruments….that all sound here a little disharmonic. Does it mean that the demons made it in the end to eat our brains ? Characteristic vocals again, some keys in the back. Who is the angel, who is the demon ? Seems that they all play together. But who will win in the end…the dying god ? The base of song is the play of riffs against slowness. Not easy listening allowed in that song. It takes some time to explore it. But it offers all the music quality that Heathendom owns. Perfect ending of a horror story musically performed by one of greeks most interesting bands.
Ok. Really I couldn’t find thrash elements in the sound of Heatendom. The Symbolist is an album of fans of Mercyful Fate/King Diamond and other horror metal bands in that style. It is not an album for listening in your cars, you should listen at home to find out all the facettes of the sound and arrangements the band put in this album.
Not the newest innovations in music but good food for all fans of dark and doom metal music.
For me, better than most of the outputs in the last months, cause of the musically talent and the great voice of Dimitris. And for me as King Diamond fan it is a must have for sure.
review by Kerbinator