Slechtvalk (the Dutch word for peregrine falcon) is a Christian Viking metal band from the Netherlands, formed in 1999. Previously signed to Fear Dark Records and currently to Whirlwind Records, the group has released four albums, a split-CD with Kekal, a single and a DVD. The second album, The War That Plagues the Lands, reached No. 2 at Lowland's Top 50 Metal Charts. The third album, At the Dawn of War, coincided with the release of a live-DVD, Upon the Fields of Battle, a maxi single for "Thunder of War", and was named one of HM Magazine's "100 best Christian metal albums of all time". The band's fourth album, A Forlorn Throne, was released on July 16, 2010.
Slechtvalk began as a solo project in 1997 by singer/guitarist Shamgar, formerly of Ascension and Mordax. The project was first called Dommer (1999–2000), before Shamgar finally settled on Slechtvalk. The debut album, Falconry, was released in 2000 by the now-defunct Dutch label Fear Dark which had bands such as Eluveitie, Royal Anguish, Taketh and Kekal on its roster.
Falconry was received positively, and Dutch metal magazines such as Aardschok interviewed Shamgar. As a result of this exposure, Shamgar was in the position to form a band, and was joined by soprano singer Fionnghuala, folk singer and rhythm guitarist Ohtar (also with Dutch folk metal band Heidevolk), bassist Nath, drummer Grimbold, keyboardist Sorgier, and dancer Meallá.
The War That Plagues the Lands
In 2002, Slechtvalk released their second full-length album, The War That Plagues the Lands. As a teaser they first released a split CD with Kekal from Indonesia (also signed on Fear Dark); each band recorded four songs and a cover (Slechtvalk covered Antestor's "Kongsblod", from The Return of the Black Death). The War That Plagues the Lands was well received.
At the Dawn of War
In 2005, the band released their third album, At the Dawn of War, with a more symphonic sound and elements of folk metal. The band also incorporated more war and fantasy themes to their live shows and began dressing in medieval warrior costumes. That same year Slechtvalk released a live-DVD, Upon the Fields of Battle, filmed at the club Hedon Zwolle; a music video for "Thunder of War" (also released as a maxi single) received some airplay at local music channels. The band toured several European countries with Frosthardr. In 2010, HM Magazine listed At the Dawn of War as number 60 on its "100 best Christian metal albums of all time".
During early 2006 the band was joined by Grimbold's brother Seraph as a guitarist, as Ohtar was not able to continue playing the guitars due to a chronic wrist injury. In July 2006, Fionnghuala left the group to focus on her classical music career. Slechtvalk began writing new material and announced that the music would take a more technical and brutal approach.
In February 2007, the bassist Nath was removed from the line-up: Ohtar, who was able to play again, picked up on bass. In late 2007, keyboard-player Hydrith announced his departure to focus more on his family. Since then, Slechtvalk performed without keyboards (playing their more extreme songs) or with session-musicians.
A Forlorn Throne
On April 2009, the band signed with German-based Whirlwind Records. On October 2009, Whirlwind released a compilation album of the band's past material titled An Era of Bloodshed with two unreleased promotional songs. Nath—now known as Premnath—recently re-joined the band as a keyboard-player. The band is currently preparing for a European tour to promote the upcoming album, and inviting fans to join them on SellaBand.com to help financially support the tour plans. The band went to Sweden's Studio Mega in late 2009 with producer Johan "the ant" Örnborg to record their fourth full-length album titled A Forlorn Throne. It was mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street, and the cover artwork as well as a new logo was designed by Raymond Swanland.
In addition to local shows in the Netherlands, Slechtvalk has appeared at several heavy metal music festivals such as Elements of Rock in Switzerland, Bobfest in Sweden, Nordic Fest in Norway, and Interregnum Fest in Germany.
- Shamgar – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
- Seraph – lead guitar
- Ohtar (Jesse Vuerbaert) – vocals
- Premnath – keyboards
- Grimbold – drums
- Dagor – bass
- Hydrith – keyboards
- Fionnghuala – soprano
- Sorgier – keyboards
- Gerben - triangle
- Tom - hobo
- Falconry (2000)
- The War That Plagues the Lands (2002)
- At the Dawn of War (2005)
- A Forlorn Throne (2010)
- Chaos & Warfare (split-CD with Kekal, 2002 Fear Dark Records)
- Upon the Fields of Battle (DVD, 2005 Fear Dark Records)
- Thunder of War (CD-single, 2005 Fear Dark Records)
- An Era of Bloodshed (compilation album, 2009)
- on Myspace