Hulder are back with their second album Verses In Oath, the highly anticipated follow-up to 2021’s Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry, an album that caught the collective extreme metal world by storm. It is impressive how Hulder is able to write her songs that evoke the arctic blasts of their Norwegian origin all while being based in the U.S. After an opening instrumental, “Boughs Ablaze” has as many moments of powerful riffs as it does sections of ethereal synths, which all add to this dimmed package.
Moving to “Hearken The End,” there are more staccato riffs and ample atmosphere, giving off the pageantry of early Mercyful Fate, not robbing any of this of the evil that it possesses. Following the album’s title track are two songs that act as a ritual in the form of “Lamentation” and “An Offering” before finally giving way to “Cast Into the Well of Remembrance.”
The track feels like an incantation, plowing through furious riffs and slowing down for small sections while listener and musician collect themselves for one final crescendo. “Vessel Of Suffering” begins the album’s final third with fast and furious drums that accompany bitter and hyperborean themes. Hulder’s growl is a powerful one, one that has been on display for the entirety of the album but feels particularly poignant within the confines of this song, not too much bark, but plenty of bite.
Verses In Oath is Hulder taking the next step towards black metal supremacy, making an album that is deeply rooted in black metal of yore. Wielding symphonic elements, vocal rasps and plenty of pure, raw musicianship, the sky’s the limit for this artist. Hulder is primed to take the extreme metal world by storm and we are all here to witness it.
(released February 9, 2024 on 20 Buck Spin)
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Watch Hulder – “Hearken The End” Video