Herfst is best-known for his drumming with such bands as Dew-Scented, Epica, After Forever and others. October saw the release of his debut solo album which includes guest appearances from a wealth of musicians – 25 of them! – including Mats Levén (Krux, Therion, Yngwie Malmsteen, Candlemass), Marcela Bovio (Stream of Passion), Daniël de Jongh (Textures) and Coen Janssen (Epica). The full list is down near the bottom.
Essentially, Herfst has done the writing and the drums with his mates filling in all the other bits. It’s definitely a percussion-heavy album which you can tell from the opening couple of tracks (“Here I Am” and “Erase or Rewind”) where the drums are very much further forward in the mix than you’d often expect.
What really strikes me about the album overall is the sheer variety of songs on it. It’s very much a personal project by Herfst and as such seems to draw from pretty much every genre he seems to have an interest in. There are he heavy, grungy tracks like those first two. “I Don’t Need To Tell You” is far slower and darker. “Total Hate” is rap metal. “Back to Balance” is as prog-metal as it gets. “1916” sounds like John Carpenter co-wrote it.
It’s like opening a box of chocolates without the little guide in it. You have no idea what you’re going to get next other than it’s got some amount of chocolate on it. All of the songs here are metal… but with something else.
As such, there will inevitably be songs which will divide fans. I like a bit of rap metal, for instance, but “Back to Balance” is too progressive for me (despite some great riffs within). However, the more middle-of the road offerings are killer. Honestly, this makes it a real treat to listen to and I love that Herfst has been given free creative reign over this project. Shove it on random play and every song is a surprise.
In short, this is an album that you can’t judge by just listening to a single track – you need to give the whole thing a shot. If you do, I think you’ll be glad you did.
Back to Balance is out now.
GUEST MUSICIANS ON BACK TO BALANCE:
Mats Levén (Krux, Therion, Yngwie Malmsteen)
Daniël de Jongh (Textures)
Valerio Recenti (My Propane)
Marcela Bovio (Stream of Passion)
Tai Stamph (Splendid)
Rodney Blaze (ex- Xenobia)
Claudia Soumeru (Bagga Bownz)
Ward Palmen (Gunz N’ Rozes)
Marvin Vriesde (Dew-Scented)
Eef van Riet (ex-My Favorite Scar)
Daan Janzing (ex-My Favorite Scar)
Eller van Buuren (Bagga Bownz)
Mendel Bij de Leij (Aborted)
Remko van der Spek (ex- Orphanage, ex- Cilice)
Leif de Leeuw
Wim den Herder
Michiel Eilbracht (Bagga Bownz)
Joost van der Graaf (I CHAOS, Dew-Scented)
Johan van Stratum (Stream Of Passion)
Robin Zielhorst (Exivious, ex- Cynic)
Joost van den Broek (ex-After Forever, The Gentle Storm)
Coen Janssen (Epica)
Judith van der Klip (ex-Blaudzun)