ALBUM REVIEW: Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry – Hulder
Updated: Apr 8, 2021
One-woman black metal outfit HULDER has been described as raw. Her EPs and demos hark back to ‘true’ black metal, akin to DARKTHRONE or early-EMPEROR. Yet this debut shows far more depth than a rough production and gravelly vocals. HULDER (real name: Marz Riesterer) has an excellent understanding of what’s required to hold a listener’s attention over the course of an album, weaving in synths and classical instruments between the fuzz and distortion.
With that said, there’s plenty for black metal puritans to enjoy here. Opener Upon Frigid Wings features all the stripped-back riffing and pounding drums you could want. Creature Of Demonic Majesty follows this up with rough and ready death metal guitar lines but peppered with synths, hinting at the album’s second side. Riesterer is a brilliant multi-instrumentalist. There’s seems to be no chinks in her armour, impressing on everything she puts her hand to and topping it off with some evil-sounding vocals.
Despite revelling in that classic sound, HULDER moves away from lyrical themes of Satanism and Nordic myth, focusing on the medieval folklore of her home-country Belgium. This finds her somewhere between the grounded, often harsh realities of life in the Middle Ages and the more fantastical moralities which come with myths of the time.
Around the midway point, there is an obvious shift in tone. On De Dijle, HULDER begins to incorporate more acoustic and classical stylings, underpinned with the synths. Moments of the earlier ferocity are still there but used sparingly and are often far more effective because of this. In the same way, her vocals sound more caustic when layered over these softer tracks. Purgations Of Bodily Corruptions is more complex, with a melodic guitar line joining the fray. It has hints of battle metal with its rhythms and the production quality is more blatant, allowing each section to shine. If Lowland Famine sees a return to frostbitten intensity, A Forlorn Peasant’s Hymn is ethereal with clean vocals pulling the listener in. It’s another example of the depth on offer here.
Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry isn’t perfect. It falls into the traps that many black metal releases do. A little samey in parts, with similar stripped-back riffs and a tendency to interrupt the moments of calm with another blasting session. HULDER stands out when she adopts a more melodic approach and lets the themes speak for themselves. Regardless, this is one hell of a debut and a delightfully dark introduction to an artist seems destined to enter the upper echelons of the genre. Black metal fans should be very excited about the directions HULDER might go in the future.
Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry is out now via Iron Bonehead Productions.