By Dr. Abner Mality

Heidens Hart looks to be a label specializing in black and folk metal from the Netherlands. Their band SAGENLAND recently had a great record on the label and now KJELD is not too far behind with “Ôfstân”. This one didn’t hit me quite as hard as SAGENLAND, but it’s a good helping of aggressive but varied black metal in the classical sense.

First track “Betsjoend” is a bit too typical of 90’s Norse BM for me...typical speed, typical riffs, typical harsh vocals...but as the album evolves, it starts to show different sides to KJELD.  “Wylde Rixt” slows up a bit in the middle with a really cool galloping riff that seems to fit naturally and gets you headbanging. The title track is the band at their most epic, with huge and majestic melodies finding their way into the speedy blackness and even some tasteful orchestration. Some folk tendencies find their way into tunes like “Asbran” and “Wite Fokel” without putting a dent in the essential harshness. This was something that SAGENLAND also mastered and were a touch better than KJELD at.

“Ôfstân” runs about an hour and honestly I think a couple of the more average tracks could have been pruned, leading to a leaner, hungrier beast. If you couldn’t guess already, lyrics are all strictly in the ancient Frisian tongue, forging a link to the Dutch past. All in all, this is another strong addition to the Heidens Hart lineup.