Hulder – Godslastering Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry

Band: Hulder
Title: Godslastering Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Release Date: 22 January 2021
Country: USA
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording

A few months ago I was almost completely unfamiliar with the band Hulder, but thanks to the keen ears of the underground metal community, who have a knack for detecting and sharing quality talent, Hulder is now quickly becoming a favourite of mine.

This Belgian/ American black metal act formed in 2018 and is the brainchild of Marz Riesterer who was born in Duffel, Belgium, and is currently located in Portland, Oregon. Riesterer assumes all roles within the band and delivers a nostalgia-inducing 90s-styled raw black metal with hints of dark medieval steeped in Belgian folklore.

Over the past few years Hulder has put out a string of demos, singles and an EP, but last month the debut album “Godslastering Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry” was released. So far the album has received gushing reviews, seems to be steadily gaining more and more positive attention, and for good reason. “Godslastering Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry” is a sophisticated and entrancing black metal album that feels both uncomplicated yet deeply profound.

The album rips open with the fury of “Upon Frigid Winds” and the listener is instantly affronted by accursed rasping vocals, intimidating riffs and sinister synth. However, the audio assault is periodically punctuated with pleasing keyboard compositions and folk melodies, a combination that creates a truly palpable atmosphere.

For the most part, the vocal style is raucous and incredibly strong as exhibited in “Creature of Demonic Majesty” which is brimming with stirring barks and growls that perfectly accompany the blasphemous aggression. Occasionally though, as in track four “De Dijle”, there is a beautiful yet unnerving atmosphere where one may feel enticed to let their guard down. However, the eerie, ghostly vocals, along with the reverb and dissonant tones don’t allow you to fully relax. This play on emotion leaves you fully engaged and alert as you can’t predict what will come next. Another thrilling moment in the album that merges both beauty and terror is track 7 “A Forlorn Peasant’s Hymn”. This track opens with enchanting sweet-toned singing of soothing folk melodies that abruptly tear away into a heinous cocktail of blast beats, tremolos, and frantic rasping.

For me, one of the biggest strengths of the album is the subtle but potent use of the pagan and folk elements. They permeate throughout each track as if weaved by a master hand, through some dark and disturbing scenes of a tapestry. The folk melodies always feel authentic, the atmospheres are rich and the synth arrangements are well placed in the mix. It’s difficult to describe exactly why it works so well here, but I know that other bands have failed to make folk feel this sincere or fully complementary.

Hulder’s debut “Godslastering Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry” is devastatingly good and I would go as far to say that this is a masterpiece. In fact, I foresee this album on my high-rotation list for the remainder of my time on this fair Earth. 9.5/10 Proua Metallist

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9.5/10 Epic Storm
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