EPK – Hexenklad – Heathenheart (CDN Records) (2021)
Publicist – jon[@]ashermediarelations[.]com
For fans of Moonsorrow, Amon Amarth, Ensiferum, Insomnium, Windir
Album Title: Heathenheart
Release Date: July 23, 2021
Label: CDN Records
Distribution: CDN Records
Hexenklad is a Canadian Folk/Black Metal band. Think folk melodies akin to Moonsorrow with twin guitar leads like Dissection, the depth of emotion of Primordial and the overwhelming depth of Insomnium.
“We are extremely proud of this new Black Metal influenced Folk Metal album “Heathenheart”. It is a perfect representation of all of our varied influences and personalities. From the coldness and rawness found in Black Metal to the uplifting and memorable melodies found in Folk Metal, to the hooks and choruses found in Heavy Metal, this album has everything. It’s heavy, it’s raw, it’s uplifting, it’s honest, it’s uncompromising, it’s unique and it’s varied. Every song is different and yet connected.” – Hexenklad
“At 13 tracks and an hour of music, Hexenklad’s recently released second album Heathenheart is a substantial body of work, and a wide-ranging one. Although “folk/black metal” or “pagan metal” are genre labels you might see attached to the band, Heathenheart moves among episodes of wintry blackened moodiness, warlike savagery, grand pageantry, acoustic folk tales, and a lot more.” – No Clean Singing
“The black metal is savage and grand in scope and the folk elements are well implemented, sometimes recalling vintage Hexvessel and Falkenbach.” – Angry Metal Guy
““We Raise a Horn” closes the album, in grand fashion. Raise your horn, take a drink, and give homage to those who have lived a pagan’s life many years ago, in simpler times, in combat and in peace…the ebb and flow of life. You have to love the effort of the band here. They pour everything into their music…their hearts, their souls, and their collective songwriting skills. What results is an energetic trip through thirteen varied tracks with a central core, yet each with their own diverse sound. Long live HEXENKLAD, the diviners of Folk Metal. 8/10” – Metal-Temple
“The album is a blackened, folky journey through the great expanses of white north, and features guest and session spots from Raphael Weinroth-Browne (Woods Of Ypres, Musk Ox), drummer Sterling Dale, and bassist Alex Snape (Unbowed).” – Metal Injection (2017 – Spirit of the Stone review)
“From beginning to end this album has made me feel everything from depression to excitement. I absolutely recommend this beautifully written masterpiece to fans of metal of all genres. I am really looking forward to the next one from HEXENKLAD.” – Metal-Temple.com (2017 – Spirit of the Stone review)
Album Title: Heathenheart
Release Date: July 23, 2021
Label: CDN Records
Distribution: CDN Records
1. Heathenheart (5:02)
2. Cold Beauty of Winter (4:52)
3. Huginn and Muninn (4:14)
4. Dark Moon in Capricorn (5:13)
5. Rootbound (4:13)
6. The Raven Returns to the Knoll (4:33)
7. A Thousand Paths to Wisdom (4:26)
8. Olde Gods Awaken (5:53)
9. Beware the Outstretched Hand (5:21)
10. A Forest of Dead Trees (4:32)
11. Upon the Wings of Valkyries (7:03)
12. A Moment of Silence (1:00)
13. We Raise a Horn (4:07)
Album Length: 1:00:36
Timothy Voldemars Johnston – Vocals, Lyrics
Michael Grund – Guitar. Bass on songs 4, 7, & 9
John Chalmers – Guitar. Bass on song 13
Andrew Chalmers – Drums & Percussion
Clare B. – Keyboards & Orchestrations
Emmanuel “Audeath” Audet (Black Empire/Winterfog) – Bass on Songs 2, 5, 8, 10, & 11
Matt “Coldcuts” Collacott – Bass on songs 1, 3, & 6
Nick Sauter – (Treats for Addicts) Guitar Solo on song 7
Alex Chalmers – Clarinet on song 13
All songs by Hexenklad
Song 2 written by Jon Kal and Hexenklad
Lyrics on songs 4 & 8 by Michael Grund
Recorded at Shiver Sound Studios by John Chalmers
Audeath’s Bass recorded at Black Amp Studio
Mixed at BWC Studios by Greg Dawson
Mastered at West West Side Music by Alan Douches
Cover art by Darek Zawiązalec of Black Forest Forge
CD Layout by Robo of Element 6 Custom lmn6.ca
Photography by Vikki Kay Photography
Canadian Content (MAPL)
Live Band Line Up:
Timothy Voldemars Johnston – Vocals
John Chalmers – Guitar
Steve Bowen – Guitar
Matt “Coldcuts” Collacott – Bass
Andrew Chalmers – Drums
The album as a whole:
An intense Black Metal-influenced Folk Metal album full of Heathen anthems to raise a horn to. The Heathen’s heart is full of chaos, creation through destruction, Hagalaz, and this is a journey into it.
Track by track:
1. Heathenheart – A Heathen, Folk Metal, Melody heavy, upbeat, Headbanging anthem for the Heathen-Hearted. A song about being united, though physically distant. We are all lone wolves yet the pack is calling.
2. Cold Beauty of Winter – This is probably the most Black Metal song on the album. It is more raw and heavy than most of the rest of the album. It is a song about being in a storm in Winter, enraptured by its beauty, and communing with our ancestors.
3. Huginn and Muninn – There is a real mix of Folk and Black Metal melodies in this one. It’s got a good pace and a rawness, yet the choruses bring it back to the Folk side. The lyrics are mostly written in Kenning and are about Odin’s Raven’s–about what they are, what they represent and why that matters. When I first heard the melodies, it made me think of flying over the world and looking down and seeing how everything was made small and how to the one looking down, everyone below would suddenly look like one folk, one people and that in order to be recognized in the mass’s, one’s deeds must indeed be great and worthy and like a beacon in the dark. There’s also a theme of what it would be like to lose one of the integral components of yourself that seeks out new experiences and knowledge and wisdom.
4. Dark Moon in Capricorn – This is a mid-tempo headbanger with more clean singing than most of the others. The lyrics are by Michael on this one.
5. Rootbound – This is a pretty fast, dynamic song. There are some real folky melodies in the choruses and earlier in the song, but the song is definitely on the darker, more Black Metal spectrum, especially the end, which gets raw and chaotic. The lyrics are focused on how we are an echo of our ancestors’ deeds and how we will be an echo of this generation’s deeds, and that we must be careful how we act as the ripples of our actions can create great and terrible consequences. Then I curse my enemies. Because that’s what I do.
6. The Raven Returns to the Knoll – This is probably the most upbeat, positive song on the album (aside from We Raise a Horn). It is a song about a place called Raven’s Knoll, where I, and now most of the band, go camping. There is a festival that happens there that is a multi-faith gathering with a large Pagan/Heathen contingent where we all get together and create a community for a week or two and see what could be, rather than what is. The song is about escaping the concrete coffin we all live in, aka the city, and finding/searching for something better.
7. A Thousand Paths to Wisdom – This is the fastest song on the album. It’s a real headbanger and the end is epic (if I do say so myself). The lyrics are about escaping who we are, who we don’t want to be, and finding something better. It is also about how I dislike preaching/preachers, so I will not tell you what path you should be on, only that there are many paths to wisdom and perhaps there is a better path for you if the path you are on isn’t taking you in the direction you want to be going. I wrote the lyrics while on a trip to Alaska and walking through the mountains and across glaciers really gave me a different perspective on life and these lyrics reflect that.
8. Olde Gods Awaken – This is another more mid-paced, epic song. The lyrics are by Michael.
9. Beware the Outstretched Hand – This is an acoustic song. Definitely the darkest song on the album, to me. It is very personal. It is about betrayal. About showing someone the beast that the lives within, that we all keep caged up, that animal part of us that is in fact who we really are but can’t show, and it’s about being betrayed by that person. The wound can be heard in this song.
10. A Forest of Dead Trees – This is an instrumental. A really unique, oddball song that just flows and bounces around and really holds the attention, without the need for lyrics.
11. Upon the Wings of Valkyries – This song has a long, mostly acoustic intro before becoming really intense and fast. It has a bit of everything in here. It’s got marches, Black Metal riffs, Folk Metal riffs, headbanging parts and some really dark doomy acoustics at the beginning and end. The lyrics were written with two of my Veteran friends in mind, as well as an old friend of mine who wanted very much to learn to fight but found it very hard to find anyone who would train her. The song tells the story of a soldier, dying on a battlefield, and how he is taken to Valhalla where his honoured ancestors wait for him with pride. His daughter is born after he dies and hard it is very hard for her growing up. She learns on her own to become a warrior like he was and, in the end, hears the drums of war calling her, like he did. It is a song for those who fought, who fight and those who wish to but are held back, and how I support them. It is a story, but it is also personal and meaningful, and I think that comes across in the song.
12. A Moment of Silence – This is literally a moment of silence for those who have fallen. In Canada, we, on Remembrance Day, have a moment of silence for those who have fallen and after the previous song, we thought it fitting.
13. We Raise a Horn – This is an acoustic upbeat song. Many years ago, I wanted to write a ritual for Yule. The lyrics of this song come from that ritual. It is basically what I wish for all those who listen to this album. For all those who raise a horn with me.
FUN FACTS ABOUT THE BAND:
1. Vocalist Timothy Voldemars Johnston’s previous band Eclipse Eternal recorded their final album, Nostalgia, at guitarist John Chalmers’ recording studio, Shiver Sounds, and it was during that time that he first heard Hexenklad’s music. It was during the mixing of Eclipse Eternal’s album at Silverbirch Productions, that he got the call from John saying Hexenklad’s vocalist had left the band. Although he had decided to not do any more music after Eclipse Eternal, he decided that Hexenklad’s music was too good not to see the light of day, and without hesitation said that he would do the vocals. It was meant to be. That was how Timothy became a part of the band.
2. Bass on several songs were done by Emmanuel “Audeath” Audet of the Quebec Black Metal bands Black Empire and Winterfog. Vocalist Timothy Voldemars Johnston is featured on several Black Empire albums as well. Audeath has been a friend of most of the members of Hexenklad for many years and they were honoured to get the chance to work with him. Also, on this album doing some bass tracks is Hexenklad’s new permanent bassist Matt “Coldcuts” Collacott. Another guest on the album is Nick Sauter of Treats for Addicts who did a guitar solo on song 7. For quite a while Nick actually performed with Hexenklad as a live guitarist and they really wanted to have him on the album as he has a very unique style. The last guest is actually John’s son/Andrew’s brother, Alex Chalmers. He plays the Clarinet on We Raise a Horn.
3. With vocalist Timothy Voldemars Johnston being a practicing Heathen, his lyrics reflect his beliefs, though not in a preachy way. He is not telling people what they should believe, only what he believes. He writes from a Heathen perspective about what could be and what is and how what was, can be used going forwards. His lyrics are an attempt at exploring some of what he’s learned, some of what he’s been shown and some of what he’s experienced and relaying that to the listener in the hopes they gain something from that knowledge.
4. Hexenklad was the first-ever metal band to perform at the Kaleidoscope Gathering and while performing on a stage designed to look like a gigantic Raven, lighting shot across the sky out of nowhere. No clouds or rain just lightning. It was a special night.
5. John Chalmers, the guitarist of Hexenklad, is the father of Andrew Chalmers, the drummer of Hexenklad. Previously, they also both performed in Pagan Ritual.
L-R: Michael Grund – Guitar, Andrew Chalmers – Drums, Timothy Voldemars Johnston – Vocals, Matt Collacott – Bass, John Chalmers – Guitar.
Photo by Vikki Kay Photography
The story of Hexenklad began with the planting of a seed, an idea: to create a Metal band that was as deep in meaning and feeling as it was heavy and aggressive in sound. Co-created by guitarist Michael Grund (SIG:AR:TYR, ex-Battlesoul) and drummer Sterling Dale, Hexenklad’s roots sunk down after Grund made the drastic decision to move to the forests of Bancroft, Ontario, Canada, leaving city life and materialism behind. With this mental shift in place, and with the first two Hexenklad songs composed in those very woods, Hexenklad was born: a melodic, Folk and Black Metal-inspired band with thematic leanings towards nature, a respect for Magick and ancient religions, and personal enlightenment and freedom.
Its branches spread in late 2015 with the addition of guitarist John “The Ancient One” Chalmers (Pagan Ritual), who helped round out the music. In 2016, after having recorded the drums for the new album “Spirit of the Stone”, Sterling Dale left Hexenklad and Timothy “Voldamares” Johnston (Eclipse Eternal) joined as vocalist, who expanded the sound still further. With the vision of the album and band now fully formed, comrades were called upon to complete the recordings. Alex Snape (Unbowed) did a guest appearance to add his signature bass sound, while guest cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne (The Visit, Musk Ox) added his wizardry to several tracks. Now-permanent member Clare B. (Eclipse Eternal, ex-Operus) deepened the sound with keyboards to put the final touches to the tapestry. Having now completed the debut album “Spirit of the Stone”, Hexenklad branched out again, growing this time to include new permanent members Jon Kal (Pagan Ritual) on bass and Andrew C. (Pagan Ritual) on drums, once again reuniting father and son (John and Andrew).
In February 2017, Hexenklad was pleased and proud to sign with CDN Records and on July 28, 2017 their debut album “Spirit of the Stone” was released upon the world.
Now in 2021, Hexenklad is unleashing their second album “Heathernheart” once again via CDN Records. The record will be an intense Black Metal-influenced Folk Metal album, full of heathen anthems to raise a horn to. “Heathenheart” is full of chaos, creation through destruction, Hagalaz, and the journey into it.
The band adds:
“We are extremely proud of this new Black Metal influenced Folk Metal album “Heathenheart”. It is a perfect representation of all of our varied influences and personalities. From the coldness and rawness found in Black Metal to the uplifting and memorable melodies found in Folk Metal, to the hooks and choruses found in Heavy Metal, this album has everything. It’s heavy, it’s raw, it’s uplifting, it’s honest, it’s uncompromising, it’s unique and it’s varied. Every song is different and yet connected.”
“Heathenheart” is due out July 23rd, 2021.
2021 – Heathenheart
2017– Spirit of the Stone
Shared Stage with:
Antropopagy, Arkos, Ashbringer, Astaroth Incarnate, Aversion, Axminister, Battlebear, Battlesoul, Dawn of Tyrants, Earthover, Empyrean Plague, Fallen Legion, Iron Priest, Klarg, Kolit, Latrodectus, Lutharo, Mavradoxa, Nalzar, Operus, Sinisfear, Sun Below, The Albino Structure, Vesperia, Within Nostalgia, Wormreign