Black Messiah – “Heimweh” (AFM Records)
Also known in their native Germany as the ‘Ruhr Vikings’, these guys have been going since the mid 90s when they first started as a black metal band, formed by classically trained bassist / vocalist Zagan. Under his vision, Black Messiah has evolved over the years into a must see live band, now playing pagan metal although retaining some blackened vestiges whilst incorporating folk instrumentation! It certainly makes for a diverse sound on this 6th album right from Zagan’s own vocal styles ranging from clean to bear growl, with passages of wild gypsy violins, acoustics, choirs and even tin whistles accompanying symphonic warrior riffs on epic songs like ‘Jötunheim’, ‘Wildsau’ and ‘Edmund von Ostanglien’. I guess if I had to compare them to someone then Tyr would be a start as they both offer stirring songs played from the heart, although Black Messiah have a distinctively German sound not just cos they sing in their language, but right thru to every aspect of their material from melodies to harmonies, so little wonder why they’re a such a hit across the Fatherland!