Wednesday 15 October 2014

Huldra - Black Tides (Album Review)

Black Tides cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: October 11th 2014
Label: Self Released

Black Tides – S/T - track listing:

1.The Eye of the Storm 11:31
2.Black Tides 11:52
3.The Sky Split Wide Open 02:25
4.From Out of the Maelstrom 14:56
5.He Was Compelled To Turn Westward Out of Some Misplaced Sense of Hope 16:51


Matt Brotherton - Bass/Vocals
Levi Hanna - Guitars/Samples/Vocals
Eric Smith - Guitars
Scott Wasilewski - Synth/Keyboards
Chris Garrido - Drums


I have followed Huldra's career with great interest over the last few years or so. I have reviewed their past 2 releases, which included their 2013 debut album - Monuments, Monoliths. I have even interviewed the band over the last few years or so. So yeah I am a huge fan of these guys. They have never disappointed me with their style of hard-hitting Atmospheric Sludge/Post-Metal riffs. I have seen them progressed from Progressive Post-Metal upstarts to one of the most inventive upcoming Post-Metal bands around. Huldra's sound has changed with each subsequent release.

The band have added further ideas and sounds to their music that make them a force to be reckoned with.
It's time for Huldra to finally unleash sonic warfare upon to the world with their stunning 2nd album - Black Tides. A heavy 57 minute blast that sees Huldra venture into the Sludge Metal wilderness unlike never before. Huldra have finally created their own sound with Black Tides, which encompasses Doom Metal, Hardcore, Ambient, Post-Rock, and Sludge for one haunting vision that offers something very different indeed.

If you are, a first time viewer or listener to Huldra's world then be prepared for an epic ride as Huldra deal in epic, heavy soundscapes that will question your very own existence. If you are a fan of ISIS, The Ocean, Cult Of Luna and Neurosis then you need to check these guys out. Opening Track - The Eye Of The Storm - is almost 12 minutes of pure musical fury in it's most primitive and violent state as Huldra unleash endless waves of noises with heartfelt vocals to match. The ambient/post-metal effect is very trippy and psychedelic as Huldra sound very different compared to their debut album. This album is more heart-breaking and sees Huldra venture into darker territories unlike ever before. The music can be very intense at times. It feels Huldra have been holding back their true identity all this time and only now are they ready to show the world what they are truly made of. It is always a bold statement from any band to open up the album with an epic tune but you do not have much choice here as 4 of the 5 songs available here run past the 11 minute mark. Huldra have even managed to include a 17 minute track but more about that tune later.

Second track - Black Tides - opens with a more slow-paced ambient post-rock sound that slowly adds different levels of noise with a hazy distinctive guitar providing a lot of feedback in the background. Then all heck breaks loose as Huldra unleash the heavy once again as atmospheric sludge metal riffs reign supreme. The vocals have a delicate balance between grizzled death growls and subdued clean vocals that gives Black Tides a more emotional intensity to contend with. It is too Huldra's credit they keep you entertained through out as some people may not have the patience for lengthy tracks such as this. The instrumental work is intense through out as Huldra once again unleash a barrage of non-stop heavy dangerous riffs for you to contend with. Huldra experiment with their sound that brings a more doom and gloom aspect that provides the album with a chilling backdrop to build their sound upon especially in the final stages of this epic release.

Third Track - The Sky Split Wide Open - is a two minute ambient post-rock track with haunting female vocals being the main key though Huldra offer bleak aspects of ambient noises to provide an unsettling almost claustrophobic experience. This leads into the equally heavy 4th track - From Out Of The Maelstrom. This song may start slow and sombre but as you have already, experienced Huldra's thunderous vision previously then you will know what to expect as Huldra bring the heavy riffs in a big way. This song does have some fantastic piano playing in the background to offer you a little bit hope amongst the darkness. Shades of ISIS classic - Oceanic - can be heard on this part of the album as it feels Huldra are paying homage to their musical heroes.

Now we have one final epic journey ahead of us with the brilliantly titled 5th track - He Was Compelled To Turn Westward Out Of Some Misplaced Sense Of Hope. WOW. What a title. A song that is a gut-wrenching and heartfelt struggle that lasts for another epic 17 mins or so. This is where Huldra lay everything on the line. You can feel the torment and pain through Matt's and Levi's voice. It is where everything comes to ahead for one final battle of noise and riffs to drown your soul with. This will leave your breathless as Huldra end this album with a bang. Black Tides is an emotional, brutal and uncompromising album that takes no prisoners. Huldra have
released a monster here. Awesome. End Of.

Thanks to Huldra for sending me a promo to review. Black Tides is available to buy on BandCamp Buy Now DD and CD.

Words by Steve Howe

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