Comprising two guest session musicians such as C.Koryn from Ascended Dead on drums, and Sam Osborne A.K.A. Necreon from Funebrarum on bass guitar. The opening moments of the song “Boughs Ablaze” offer cold and raw black metal riffing, with the keyboards used to enhance the atmosphere. The epic impression immediately leaves a mark with the use of the synth, before the drums move at a blistering pace. Combining qualities like the folk elements and the sly utilization of the acoustic guitar, the ghostly growls uttered in the most nefarious manner.
The stylization is cut from Norwegian black metal bands like Ancient, and Gehenna, however in many moments of this album Hulder brings the classic essence of frosty black metal. The songs are driven by aggressive rasps the themes of the album are inspired by magical pine woodlands and forests, though the drums are straightforward most of the songs extend beyond four minutes. There is a notable variation in the riffing and memorable atmospheric background, and contains plenty of hooks and tremolo melodies.
The synth and melodies match the quality of the tremolos and the pitch of the vocals. There is also some variety in the songwriting style, especially the album’s title track “Verses In Oath” which is quite aggressive and harsh and full of tremolos-picked riffs.
Hulder treats the listener with sharp riffing and swift blast beats which gives it a cold grim feeling when they are emphasized in the faster tempos. The album also contains some short interludes like the song “An Offering” which conveys beautiful themes of misty mountains and vast green forests covered with ice. Despite the tranquil atmosphere of the female vocals, and drums, the synth plays a pivotal part in this interlude. Another catchy track is “Cast Into The Well of Remembrance” which conjures the ancient spirit of pagan/medieval black metal, the guitars here offer cold freezing riffs that encapsulate blazing tremolo-picked riffs.
Hulder shows influence of the Belgian folk music, many of these acoustic segments carry deep inspiration from bands like Satyricon and Aeternus. The blistering passages are full of hooks, and it’s mostly accompanied by a background of the synth which is so bewitching to the ears. “Verses In Oath” offers a wider spectrum of synth textures and elements of pagan black metal, the songwriting has progressed from the first album each instrument is well-placed to create an unforgettable experience.
Another example is the track “Vessel of Suffering” where Hulder aptly showcases her talents, and this is what makes the performance on the album flawless. There are moments when the songs morph into slower where the guitars convey simple yet raw Nordic riffing, the synth masterfully captures the dark atmosphere of the second wave of black metal.
The icy tone of the guitars provides the whole feeling of the album and coats it with a grim Scandinavian ancient melody. The bass guitar is audible throughout 40 minutes where it contributes to the flow of the scratching tremolos, and some of the riffs are raw and crunchy. “Enchanted Steel” starts fast with blasting drums giving way to the tremolo-picked riffs to shine in the mid-section, often in the repeating section the keyboards become apparent and they bring many hooks.
The sophomore was recorded by Hulder in the Northwest, the mixing and mastering handled by Ahti Kortelainen, a Finnish bassist who runs the legendary Tico Tico studios (…And Oceans, Belial, Moonsorrow, Catamenia, Impaled Nazarene, etc.….) in Finland.
The album’s final track “Veil of Penitence” is one of the haunting tracks to hold the listener in its grip for its majestic synth arrangements. Its grim atmosphere, and the raspy growls standout for the fast blasts, mid-paced beats, and tremolo melodies. The epic four-minute track lives up to Hulder’s black metal roots, midway through the song the catchy patterns of the keyboards and the vocals allow the hooks to waft off like a cold breath of winter.
- Music / Songwriting 8/10
- Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
- Mix / Production 9/10
- Artwork & Packaging 8/10
- Originality 8/10
“Verses In Oath” evokes the early sounds of ancient Scandinavian black metal, like many contemporary bands out there Hulder proved to be one of the finest bands, the sophomore is recommended for fans of folk/pagan black metal.