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venerdì 8 gennaio 2021

Hulder - Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry

#FOR FANS OF: Raw Atmospheric Black
Hulder is a solo-project founded only two years ago by the Belgian musician Marz Riesterer who is currently located in Oregon, USA. From its inception the project showed some potential, combining raw black metal with some medieval influences, not only conceptually but also with some small musicial touches. Anyway, Hulder couldn't be defined as a pure medieval black metal project, at least in its first stage. In these two years, the project has been quite active releasing several demos, singles and a EP, always with a very raw production and a potential yet to be fully delivered.

Twenty-twenty has been a remarkable year for Hulder that finally released the debut album entitled 'Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry' with the respected underground label Iron Bonehead Productions. This debut opus marks a great step forward in terms of composition and production and it is exactly what I was expecting from this project as a logical and needed musical evolution. 'Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry' doesn't differ so much from the previous works but it is undoubtedly a more mature work. First of all, the production has still its rawness, but it is clearly cleaner and more powerful. All the instruments are much more audible and the sound is perfectly balanced. The compositions have an appropriate equilibrium between clearness and agression. Musically speaking, the songs are clearly rooted in the black metal genre, both instrumentally and vocally. Marz’s shrieks sound pretty rasped and powerful and they fit the music perfectly well. Pace-wise, the songs are generally fast though they have a good dose of tempo-changes with a quite well composed guitar lines, which sound archetypal but never boring or dull. The album opener "Upon Frigid Winds" is a nice example of well-composed riffs and a relentless pace, although thankfully the rhythm varies enough to prevent the song to become boring. Moreover, it has a nice and short atmospheric interlude in the middle of the song which gives a nice medieval touch to the track. The aforementioned medieval vibe is here clearly stronger if we compare it with previous releases. This feeling is achieved thank to different arrangements, like some keyboard sections in several songs, for example, the already mentioned album oponer, or traks like "Lowland Famine", among others. Other arrangements come in the form of acoustic guitars, like in the more calmed track "De Dilje", which serves as a peaceful moment in the middle of a sonic storm. These arrangements enrich the album making it has a credible medieval vibe, but they never overshadow the absolutely loyal black metal sound. The achieved balance is excellent and the expected aggressivity is well accompanied by these atmospheric touches, which improve the final result. Another nice example is the excellent track "A Forlorn Peasant’s Hymn", with a surprising calm and beautiful first half, where Marz also shows us her heavenly voice. This ethereal start is suddenly broken by a furious change, giving wat to a second full black metal part, where she shows its strenght, it is indeed a well-done great contrast.

'Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry' is undoubtedly a excellent step forward in Hulder’s career. It stays loyal to its core sound as it shows a necessary improvement in terms of production, compositions and a stronger medieval atmosphere. Absolutely recommendable for fans of the black metal genre. (Alain González Artola)

(Iron Bonehead Productions - 2020)
Score: 82