Vera : Not even two years have gone by since ‘The Final Journey’ came out, yet we are delighted to be able to review the next high quality album of Black Messiah. In the meantime they have been touring regularly, mainly in Germany, and they even played a memorable show at Wacken last summer. Inspired by this milestone in the history of this band hailing from the Ruhr area, they have written eight new hymns for ‘Heimweh’. This time they did not use a concept to hang their mainly mythological lyrics upon, but they went for freedom and diversity in the song material. Yet the songs appear to be longer (from six to eight minutes) and more epic than ever. That’s what we like and they really come up to our high expectations.
It is common knowledge that Black Messiah uses to switch fluently from English to German lyrics, but ‘Heimweh’, just like the title suggests, definitely turns the balance to the German speaking side. Only ‘In The Name Of Ancient Gods’ happens to be in English. We have no objection, because the harshness of German language perfectly fits the vocal roughness of Upper-Viking Zagan. In addition his violin skills remain a strong trump for the band, which is especially featured in the second part of the album (more violin solos).
Regaled with any esoteric female chant, ‘Symphonia Pagana’ is quite a lengthy intro with cinematic allures; it is an excellent symphonic prologue to what is coming next. In ‘In The Name Of Ancient Gods’ our Ruhr Vikings kick off with sturdy pagan metal: juicy growls of Zagan, some black metal influences in guitar works and loads of lead parts that are inspired by folk melodies or by classical heavy metal glory. In despite of proper harshness of the music, it turns out very catchy, fetching and inciting. Then we switch to German in ‘Jötunheim’, where violin parts smoothly pass into a guitar solo. By the way, the beginning reminds me a bit of Iron Maiden, which is evidence for my earlier written statement that Black Messiah might also appeal to power/heavy metal fans. The guys like some humour and suddenly they are there with ‘Wildsau’, a folkloristic party song. The story-telling vocals are cheered up with tin whistles. This is a perfect song to party (watch the video clip!). With stalwart riffs and rhythms, but epic keyboards as well, they return to their bellicose areas again in ‘Edmund Von Ostanglien’. One can hear the well-known baritone voice of Markus ‘Mönch’ Wahlers in contrast with Zagan’s blackened screams. The accessible symphonic pagan metal is once again relished with a fine violin solo in ‘Nidhögg’. The title track ‘Heimweh’ instantly leaps to the eye, since cello, solemn clean vocals (Mönch), gloomy flutes and a choir make this ‘ballad’ the personalization of melancholy. A surprise and marvellous! Acoustic guitars and synths are the start of the dynamic ‘Die Quelle Der Weisheit’, another great Viking metal song. Mark the sound of that crystal clear source and the fast and furious guitar solo! And so… Black Messiah turned this sixth studio album into a stunner again. Do purchase this!