Founded 1992 in Steinkjer, Norway symphonic pagan black metal classicists Wallachia return with their fourth and most grandiose album to date. Monumental Heresy is a wonderful culmination of years of heartfelt dedication to the craft by mastermind Lars Stavdal – a continuation of the rich hybrid experimentation of last full-length Shunya (2012) and a simultaneous backward glance towards the harshly beautiful atmosphere of the band’s earlier works.
The rawness and energy within the music has been elevated on par with feelings of wistful solitude to create an album of propulsive splendour, both timeless and echoing the glorious mid-nineties epoch. The orchestral elements have been pushed a step further, with a male choir incorporated into the sound alongside pristine arrangements for violin, viola and cello, ornate synth and nostalgic folk-inflected lead guitar as evocative of sadly-missed compatriots Windir as it is the Hellenic pioneers.
This is the first Wallachia album that has been recorded as a full band and also introduces guest musicians: Athelstan from the UK’s Forefather arranged and performed the evocative album intro/outro and Italian female vocalist Aeterna (Nahabat/Xvarhnah) provides a mellifluous lead on ‘The Parallel Fate of Dreams’.
Thematically concerned with personal liberation from the strangling hands of theocracy and religious dogma, from the epic, bombastic opening track ‘Heathen Shores’ via the melancholic ‘The Parallel Fate Of Dreams’ to the purely savage ‘Beasts Of The Earth’ never before have Wallachia pushed songcraft or the dynamics of their sound as far.
Monumental Heresy carves a new chapter for a band who have only just begun the next stage of their deeply personal journey into a majestic dreamland.