Friday, 16 November 2012

Haiduk: Spellbook

Canadian act Haiduk is listed about the internets as various things, so I wasn't sure what to expect upon opening this promo up, and to be honest not too excited. But I'm telling you right now, once and for all, superseding the authority of any other source you might encounter, this here is a very nice half-hour of black/ thrash with programmed drums just begging to be replaced by a talented human. I'm also a bit excited now.

Riffage is along the lines of frantic, songs like 'Lich', 'Stormcall' and 'Fire Wield' go straight into an impressive turmoil of shredding to shame Laiho imitators everywhere. 'Tremor' sounds a bit too 8-bit for my liking, but most of the rest of the album remains decently intense. It's a little like Jari Maenpaa being let loose on a recording studio with a bunch of occult books under his arm instead of fairytales. There are nods to creme-de-la-creme black/ thrash outfits like Desaster and Nifelheim as well as early Destroyer 666 along the way, while a song such as 'Black Wind' has a bit of a Behemoth feel in its intricate salvos. Fuck me, get a drummer involved in this stuff man.

So that brings me onto the "drums" - they sound OK despite being programmed, I guess technology long ago brought us past the days of really hideous DIY jobs, but it is still really easy to pick out the computerised percussion. A decent human drummer could bring this from great to fan-fucking-tastic very quickly. I hope that is what happens in the future, as this has lost the record major points. The vocals, I was hugely pleased to find, are mostly throaty roars more in touch with cavernous death acts or black/ death fuckers, with a touch of Nergal in there every now and again. That in itself gives the album a far more brutal edge, as well as offsetting the programming to make everything that much more visceral.

The album's presentation and "spellbook" concept is slightly cheesy, but hardly more so than the latest Goreaphobia, and executed with enough detail and authenticity to make it a benefit rather than an embarrassment. So it all comes together neatly, always a massively pleasant fucking surprise when it comes to total newbies, especially in the one-man band variety. This band could seriously do very nicely in black/ thrash circles with, like I say, a couple more band members to really flesh out the bottom end and perhaps the songwriting process so that the shredding chaos is contextualised; and the promotion it needs of course.

Score: 72%

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