Just like debut albums properly should, Godslastering Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry straddles both HULDER’s past as well as unearthing new paths. Within the eight songs comprising the 40-minute record, Hulder spans myriad generations and idioms of black metal, but all deeply rooted in ’90s classicism: from the paganisms of earliest Enslaved, Ulver, Isvind, and Kampfar to the hypnotizing grit of classic Judas Iscariot and Grand Belial’s Key, on to the mystical majesty of unsung Greeks like Zemial and Kawir and even over to the woodland wonder of old Opera IX. Which is all to say that HULDER here not so much mimic their forebears so much as meld the idiosyncrasies inherent to each into a masterclass in all-caps BLACK METAL songwriting: dynamic, engaging, nuanced, and transportive, but undeniably physical in its pulsing vistas of darkness and mystery. Likewise, Godslastering Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry is structured like a true album, with Side 1 kicking in an utterly feral manner and cresting along to vicious wanderlust and ending on the eerily restrained near-ambient hymn “De Dijle,” and then Side 2 furthering the synth mysticism and maintaining a more triumphant aspect, with the closing magickal march of “From Whence an Ancient Evil Once Reigned” sounding not unlike a lost relic from Grieghallen circa 1994. And all this is encased in a production that’s rich, robust, and rounded; only the rawness of the performances bleed into the soundfield, a clear division from HULDER’s earlier demo days.
LP size booklet + poster
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