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A true folk/metal music hybrid - 70%

Lane, September 13th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2016, CD, Gateway Music (Digipak)

Danish band performing folk music with rock and metal aesthetics, return with their sophomore full-length album. Getting some serious recognition after their 2012 debut album 'Intet Menneskebarn', these "non-human children" (shown in beautiful artwork) are hungry for more.

Instruments such as violin, hurdy gurdy, flutes, shawn and lute play big parts in Huldre's music and sound. The music is folk with metal and rock influences, not the other way. However, aforementioned instruments are mostly heard with guitars, drums and bass accompanying them. While the album starts with more folky piece 'Jagt', the metal music portion gets a bigger role song by song, and 'Underjordisk' is a 50/50 mixture of folk and metal music styles.

The music is dark and melancholic, but black metal traits on several compositions add a wild, aggressive element, and violin can sound lecherous. However, I wishes for a bit mor energetic vibe, as now it feels like they were holding back. Hammering, chugging and fast-picked guitar playing is the norm here, as non-rock instrumentation handles the melodic side of the music. The drumming is about metal with some double kick drum segments dropped throughout the album, even though a lot of this is built on folk music template. So, the band have a lot of ground to avail, and during these 45 minutes they also use that card. The production is well-balanced between the instruments and vocals, while being quite rich, so the styles really do not clash with each other.

All of the lyrics, which are about nature and folklore, are in Danish. Probably the most striking, which can be either positive or negative way, element of Huldre is vocalist Nanna Barslev. She sounds, well, "non-human"! Her voice is high and vibrating, somewhat similar to The Cranberries' front lady. This peculiar voice has something witchy in it, in a curious or disturbing way. All of male vocals are dropped on this release, which is a bit sad, as they could have added so much more to the end result.

The album feel similar to the debut, and this is the biggest drawback of 'Tusmørke'. Those who seek for a folk/metal cross, look no further, as here you can find a good one, and more importantly, a true hybrid.

(Originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com)