Heathen Foray, Oathbreaker (Massacre 2023)

Austrian metal band Heathen Foray mince no words on their sixth studio album, Oathbreaker.

Heathen Foray came together in Austria in 2004. An umbrella description of their music might be melodic death metal, but there are commonly elements of folk and Viking metal in there, too, not to mention the robust percussion that would be at home in other strands of heavy music. Over the years they have released five other full-length albums, beginning with The Passage in 2009. The music they create has moved and changed over time, and the new record in some ways calls back their earlier work. The band is Robert Schroll (vocals), Jürgen Brüder (guitars), Alex Wildinger (guitars), Max Wildinger (bass), and Markus “Puma” Kügerl (drums).

“Oathbreaker” gets things going with a heavy growl and a catchy roll. The song lives at radio length and combines English and German lyrics to present its message. It is a raucous opener. “Leben” moves off in a different direction, taking a power/epic metal stance and extending the composition to twice the length of its predecessor. In the second half of the song, there is a folk-Viking metal feel, making this track quite the journey. “Ahnenreih,” too, has a folk metal foundation, and it moderates the rampage with the use of a more personal palette to shade the narrative. “Heimdalls Spross” finishes the side with an aggressive riff and more environmental messaging. It is a good, steady roll.

The back half starts with the drinking anthem “Allvoll,” and it is a killer – fast and rambunctious. “1000 Years Of Human Flesh” is an historical drama about organized religion, so you’ll be glad you had that drink. It is a grinding, heavy song and one of my favorites on the album. “Raiment” is a bit of an oddity in that it sounds very different from the other songs in the set. You’ll hear flavors and tinges that fit right in with the rest, and you are also treated to other elements that stretch the boundaries implied by the earlier tracks. The finisher is “Covenant Of Swords,” which, as the title implies, encourages everyone to fend off their oppressors and rise to the occasion. It is certainly a great way to wrap things up as it ties together nicely the sentiments expressed earlier. After you listen to this album, you feel energized. Recommended.

Oathbreaker hits the streets on Friday, April 7th through Massacre Records. Examine the details at the links below.


Heathen Foray website, https://heathenforay.com/

Bandcamp, https://heathenforay.bandcamp.com/album/oathbreaker

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/HeathenForay

Massacre Records, https://massacre-records.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Heathen Foray, Oathbreaker (Massacre 2023)