Heathendom is another traditional metal band from Greece. The band's sound definitely has a cinematic quality to it. There is a lot going on musically and it is all very dramatic. This is just the band's second album, but Heathendom has the presence and skill of a band that has been together for far longer. And, in fact, the group has been together since 1998, so the fact that they are only releasing their second album is deceptive.
The whole album is incredibly melodic and majestic. The musicianship is impressive and the songs are all well-crafted epics with a bit of a progressive tint to their overall structure. The band frequently changes tempo within the songs and the riffs are constantly evolving throughout. There are some power metal elements as well, most notably the vocals, but the music is more traditional and progressive style metal.
The vocals of singer Dimitris Koutsouvelis are extremely interesting and are probably the biggest standout element of Heathendom's sound. Previous reviews of the band's material suggest a combination of Candlemass's Messiah Marcolin and King Diamond. I can definitely see the similarity. Koutsouvelis has a very melodic style and uses a lot of vibrato in his voice. He also occasionally switches to a falsetto style reminiscent of King Diamond.
On Heathendom's previous album, the band had more of an epic doom metal sound. The doom this time has been replaced by a more upbeat and melodic, faster style. It is not a massive change as the band is still clearly more of a traditional metal band, but power and speed have replaced the more somber and slower elements. Guitar solos twist and turn within the riffs and the melodies are complex and powerful.
Heathendom is not a band that I was very familiar with before hearing this album. They do not get mentioned much in even the underground metal press. However, now that I have heard this album, I can say that Heathendom should receive a lot more attention. In the somewhat tired and monotonous international power metal scene, Heathendom has crafted an extremely memorable album. This is certainly an album that should get notice.