A pivotal 2022 saw Hulder release ‘The Eternal Fanfare’, a 5 track mini-album, marking a new phase in the project’s rapid development. Further to Hulder’s audial ascendency, the band set the live stage ablaze, touring widely in North America throughout the year and into 2023, which brought the band to European shores for the first time as well.
Spurred on by these noble victories the ground was prepared for the immensity of ‘Verses in Oath’. Tracked by Hulder in the Northwest, the mix and master was entrusted to cult legend Ahti Kortelainen of Tico Tico Studios in Finland, whose overwhelming list of credits stretch back decades to include Barathrum, Belial, Impaled Nazarene and Moonsorrow among countless others. The result is both unsparingly savage and wistfully evocative; black blood on white snow.
The ancient sorrow-filled melancholy and seething spirit that are the essence of ‘Hearken The End’ permeate the entire album, by now a fundamental detail in Hulder’s identity where roots run deep in long forgotten soil. And whilst the slashing cruelty and torn flesh of ‘Vessel of Suffering’ and ‘Enchanted Steel’ embrace a predatory barbarism, it is the joining of all those elements that places ‘Verses in Oath’ in the timeless pantheon of Black Metal’s most strident lineage.
While Black Metal has evolved into myriad offshoots and subgenres to the point of incomprehension, Hulder is resolutely steeped in the genre’s destructive preeminence, rituals and traditions, carrying the torch of its origins and heritage. And still ‘Verses in Oath’ astonishes with the malevolent spirit of creative autonomy and individual freedom essential to reach the genre’s exalted heights.