01. Curse From Beyond 02. Burden Of Flesh And Bone 03. Sylvan Awakening 04. The Eternal Fanfare 05. A Perilous Journey
Anyone nerdy enough to have heard HULDER's early demos (which have since been collated on 2019's "De Oproeping Van Middeleeuwse Duisternis" comp) will have spotted that dark magic was brewing from the get-go. Belgian born but US-based, Marliese Beeuwsaert owes an obvious debt to classic, early '90s Norwegian black metal, but her music possesses an unfamiliar sense of medieval otherworldliness that sets it apart from many like-minded endeavors. As showcased on 2021's widely acclaimed "Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry", HULDER is a project with its own gently odd charisma, not to mention an audacious number of satisfyingly malicious riffs.
With a deafening buzz surrounding her next move, "The Eternal Fanfare" suggests that HULDER's evolution is still at a halfway point between the last album's marauding clangor and whatever the next full-length will bring. A mini-LP comprising four tracks and one ominous, atmospheric and impressively lavish intro, this packs a slightly weightier punch than "Godslastering…", with heavier guitar tones and drums that shift the ribcage.
The songs themselves are noticeably more furious and wilder than any previous HULDER material. In particular, "Burden Of Flesh And Bone" is magnificent: imbued with the cataclysmic might of early EMPEROR, it's a thrilling mixture of the primal and the pompous. "Sylvan Awakening" delights in its initial extremity, before a deft change of tempo sucks the air from the room and riffs being to spiral ominously downwards. The title track is heavy in execution and atmosphere, wherein feral blasting and coagulated sludge collides; "A Perilous Journey" is epic, stately and forlorn, as ethereal backing vocals drift up from the swirling noise below. All of it indicates that HULDER is growing in confidence and strength, and that Beeuwsaert's singular perspective on ancient principles is as distinctive and engaging as anything else out there right now.