Verses In Oath

Hulder

All in all, HULDER’s “Verses In Oath” is a stunning second full-length album that avoid the dreaded sophomore slump by not just matching the debut but being truly better on all levels.
March 31, 2024

HULDER is a one-woman black metal band currently located in Washington, though she is originally from Belguim. Her newest album, "Verses In Oath" is the project's second full length album; three demos, two EPs, on comp and a live album have always been released. What is it about one-person projects that kick all the ass? I can think of few such projects that aren’t just flat out as amazing and detailed as full band projects. HULDER is one of the best I’ve heard in some time. It has a real DYI feel to it and, as such, is just raw enough to give it that classic against-the-grain black metal atmosphere. However it isn’t overly raw and is actually enjoyable to listen to. Subtle use of keys and clean vocals add to the mix, showcasing that HULDER isn’t sticking to some rigorous black metal code that doesn’t allow for anything other than “grrrrr…look at me, I’m grim and frostbitten and don’t have any fun. Satan.”

Hearken The End,” is exactly what I’m talking about. It opens dark and heavy but there is clearly breathing room as the song grows not only with the riffs but with the little details that make it pop like the keys and the absolutely fantastic bass. The clean vocals/chants are ethereal and add to the song’s arcane feel. After the two minute mark, the song speeds up and the blackened growls/screams arrive—-just as vicious and deadly as anything I’ve heard this year. Despite the atmospheric leanings, the album features more than enough blackened fury to make even the most troo and kvlt black metal fans take notice. The song is all fire and brimstone—plus the vocals are lower, something I wish more black metal did because all doesn’t have to be endless screeching.

The song sounds bottomless, like an endless void in the way it mixes faster paced moments with more subtle nods to using liminal spaces to speak volumes. “Enchanted Steel,” is an absolute rager. Within eleven seconds, it has pushed itself beyond a climax to a new dimension of unrelenting aggression. The drums are crisp, tight, and carry the song ever forward. I really enjoyed the vocals here, just enough echo to give in and old school feel without sounding corny. All in all, HULDER’s “Verses In Oath” is a stunning second full-length album that avoid the dreaded sophomore slump by not just matching the debut but being truly better on all levels.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect

Songwritting

9

Musicianship

9

Memorability

9

Production

9
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"Verses In Oath" Track-listing:
  1. An Elegy
  2. Boughs Ablaze
  3. Hearken the End
  4. Verses in Oath
  5. Lamentation
  6. An Offering
  7. Cast into the Well of Remembrance
  8. Vessel of Suffering
  9. Enchanted Steel
  10. Veil of Penitence
Hulder Lineup:

Hulder - Everything

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