Album Review: Hulder – Verses In Oath

Album Review: Hulder - Verses In Oath
Reviewed by Rick Eaglestone

Hot of the heels from a mesmerising sold out UK Debut, Portland’s Hulder continue to manifest the coldest depts of the Northwest winter for latest album Verses In Oath.

Setting an immediate sorrow filled melancholic tone with nature elements is the albums instrumental opener Al Elegy which is then followed by the myriad of soundscapes of a mix of unsparing savagery and wistful atmospherics on Boughs Ablaze which is really the albums first real example of a more grandiose and technical offering.

Taking this one step further with varying vocal arrangements and folk elements is Hearken The End which is a real showcase of Hulder’s ambition and ability to flit through sub genres but still maintain an air of sublime savagery than weaves effortlessly into the albums largely maniacal title track Verses In Oath.

Album Review: Hulder - Verses In Oath

Moving the album past the hallway point in the ethereal interlude Lamentation again providing another dynamic before moving into another short largely instrumental track in the form of An Offering, and although they do sound entirely different with latter having a haunting piano arrangement it did provide my only gripe with the album as I felt they could’ve been separated out better, this was short-lived however as follow up track Cast Into The Well Of Remembrance is hands down for me the highlight track of the album with it’s razor sharp delivery and plethora of 90’s black metal tones.

The album has taken a clear directional shift as both Vessel Of Suffering and Enchanted Steel complement each other spectacularly untamed malevolence and continuing to carry the torch for black metals origins and heritage.

Concluding track Veil Of Penitence is another demonstration of the bands ever evolving evolution and this coupled with the fact that the mix and mastering for Verses In Earth were overseen by Ahti Kortelainen of Finland’s Tico Tico studios who in the past has worked with Belial and Moonsorrow does provide it with an almost majestic aesthetic.

There is a seething essence that permeates throughout Verses In Oath that is really in keeping with Hulder’s roots which won’t be lost on the listener familiar with the bands previous offerings such as their debut 2021’s Godslastering: Hymns Of A Forlorn Peasantry but this in particular has a creative spirit and force that I feel will elevate them beyond the sword and shield which I truly hope means this will bring them back to UK shores much sooner rather than later.

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