Theudho – ‘Cult of Wuotan’ (re-issue 2022)
Release: December 2022
Label: Heidens Hart Records
I’m listening to this on the heels of Voorbij de Nevelen des Tijds (“Beyond the Mists of Time”) from 2022. This 2008 reissue is recommended for Theudho fans, but it might leave you lacking if you took the same trajectory that I did. I couldn’t find the original album to do a comparison, but this reissue (actually a remixing and remastering) promises more power, balance, and dynamic range.
Theudho’s sound is darkened metal with growly vocals and a fierce focus on rhythm. This is a band that forgoes niceties like verses and refrains. The drumming is impeccable and really keeps everything moving forward. “Cult of Wuotan” is a concept album regarding a cult and their battles, tribulations, and unrelenting rage. To that effort, it falls a little flat. Lacking the aforementioned refrains and traditional song structure means the album blends into one, long track, and unlike their later albums, there’s not enough sonic variety to keep the listener focused. Also, growly vocals don’t work well for storytelling in general.
Theudho’s vocals are consistent and of the same quality as their (well, his– this is a one-person effort) other albums, but there’s an added layer of cheesy synthesized choir sounds that doesn’t work in tracks like “Veleda”. Also, there’s a synthesized orchestra padding most of the tracks. It’s inoffensive in most cases, but it doesn’t add the atmosphere present in other albums. Alright. That all sounded a bit negative. On the plus side, as a concept album, it does open and close with little narration pieces to orient the listener. Tracks like “Harjaz” and “Silence Reigned Over the Bog” are exceptional for the genre. “Terror Cimbricus” (and “Veleda” after you get past the opening) shows off Theudho’s amazing lead guitar chops. “Ahnenkult” rolls out a synthesized harpsichord sound that checks off the “folk metal” box.
Some of the tracks– most notably “Prophecies in Flames”– have a second, female vocalist, and that really helps to break up the album.
Hearing some of Theudho’s other, older, albums, I’m sure the reissue helped the mix. It sounds brand new and on-par with their other offerings. That said, in terms of composition, faithfulness to genre, and overall feel, I prefer their newer works.
- Zeitenwende 02:15
- Terror Cimbricus 05:53
- Thumelicus 04:42
- Harjaz 04:38
- Silence Reigned over the Bog 04:48
- The Fall of Rome 05:51
- Veleda 05:01
- Ahnenkult 04:19
- Wuotanes Her 05:30
- Prophecies in Flames 04:11
- Ergriffenheit 01:56