Album: Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Genre: Black Metal
Country: United States
Release Date: January 22, 2021
For Fans Of: Ulver(early), Kampfar, Darkthrone
At this point pretty much any fan of black metal with an ear to the underground has heard the name Hulder at some point over the past few years. The notoriety and acclaim at this point is well deserved as Hulder has easily become one of the most promising new bands to come on the scene in recent memory. After releasing a string of extremely high quality demos the band appears set to put the entire metal scene on notice with the release of the debut full-length album, Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry. Hailing from Belgium, and currently operating out of Portland, Oregon,, Hulder is a one woman black metal project creating a brand of catchy and raw, dungeon synth infused black metal that would have been right at home in the mid-90’s. Despite this classic sound, the band boasts a unique sound with intricate song structures that never feel derivative or plagiarized. Now, two years into her career Hulder is faced with the task of releasing one of the most hyped debuts of the year and appears to be more than willing to face the task..
From the opening riff of Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry one thing is immediately apparent, this debut doesn’t just meet expectations, it blows them out of the water. Opening track Upon Frigid Winds is surprisingly infectious with riffs that are catchy in a way that is almost accessible and song structures that are dynamic and engaging. Effortlessly blending traditional black metal riffs with synth work that never comes across cheesy, the first three songs continue in this same vein with each song feeling like a natural continuation of the one before it. The fourth track, De Dijle, marks a noted change in sound. The song is a six minute, synth driven, ambient opus that is simultaneously haunting and beautiful. De Dijle functions as almost an intermission between the two acts of the album. From this point on (what I assume is the B side of the vinyl), there is a noted turn in sound, incorporating even more of the synth elements and taking on more of a medieval feel. While the first half of the album is good, this second half of the album is where Hulder sets itself apart from its contemporaries. Songs begin to feel almost mystical with a sound bordering on triumphant and it becomes apparent that the band is able to put together an album that feels cohesive and whole. Godslastering, works as a complete piece in a way that many other black metal albums don’t, it is thought out and intentional and never feels as though a bunch of songs were slapped together and called an album.
One of the biggest struggles that single member bands often face is that of musicianship. If a person is an incredible drummer, often-times guitar playing is lacking and vice-versa. With Hulder, all of the instruments are played extremely well and no area feels as though it takes away from the overall sound. The guitar work on the album, however, is the easy standout. Riffs are catchy and aggressive, often rivaling some of the best riffs of some of the greatest black metal songs ever written. The ability to intertwine the riffs with the synths creates a multi-faceted sound that solidifies Hulder as an elite band in the genre. Songs to ebb and flow and reach dynamic levels of songwriting that many bands years to perfect. If it isn’t apparent by this point, I loved this album. It was refreshing to find a black metal record in 2021 that incorporates the things I love about the classics of the genre that also has a unique voice that sets it apart. I had high hopes for this band after being obsessed with the demos that I had heard and I am glad to say that Godslastering greatly exceeded the expectations I had. This is easily one of the best things I have heard in a while and I hope that it brings Hulder the t recognition she deserves. If this is the debut I can’t wait to see what Hulder does next, the scene needs more badass women like this.
Rating: 9 / 10
- Upon Frigid Winds
- Creature of Demonic Majesty
- Sown in Barren Soil
- De Dijle
- Purgations of Bodily Corruptions
- Lowland Famine
- A Forlorn Peasant’s Hymn
- From Whence an Ancient Evil Once Reigned
Total Playing Time: 39:10