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Críticas a Álbuns
Crítica a Álbum :: Huldre - Intet Menneskebarn (2012)
2013-01-03 21:51:38 | Hugo Miguel Delgado

Intet Menneskebarn is the debut album from the Danish folk metal band Huldre. The band's lineup features singer Nanna Barslev, violin player Laura Beck, hurdy-gurdy and flutes player Troels Nørgaard, guitarist Lasse Olufson, bassist Bjarne Kristiansen and drummer Jacob Lund. The album includes 5 songs that were previously released in their demo from 2010 along with 6 new songs and was recorded at LSD Studio in Lübeck, Germany, being mostly self-financed and self-released, with some aid and guidance from Dansk Musiker Forbund.

Album opener Ulvevinter is a perfect showcase of what Huldre is all about. The folk instruments playing along with the distorted guitar, with a pounding rhythm section and a beautiful and alluring female voice singing words we cannot understand - all songs are in Danish, I believe - but that somehow sound alright to our ears. The song is mostly melodious and very folk-oriented, but with some nice touches, some aggression at times and a nice guitar solo. The following song, Trold, has a more mellow feeling to it, with a slow beat and melancholic melodies that fit perfectly with Nanna Barslev's chanting. Skovpolska is also a slow one, quite like the previous song except for a few wild seconds somewhere past the middle of the song that bring to our mind Solefald's Tittentattenteksti. Moving onward, Brandridt takes us to faster and more standard heavy-metal-like territories. The folk instruments still have their share somewhere in the middle, followed by a not-so-stunning guitar solo. Sorry guys, Ulvevinter's guitar solo was quite nice but this one's missing something, it feels feeble, lacking confidence, on the verge of failing a note at any second. To make it worse, it's sounding way above the rest of the instruments, an odd production choice if you'd ask me. The following song, Gennem Marksen, is more folky than the previous ones, with nice work from Laura Beck's violin and Troels Nørgaard's flute while Nanna Barslev shines again with a delightful performance that captures our attention for the whole song. Next comes Vaageblus, beginning in a darker mood, with haunting sounds and wails until it stomps into a raw black-metal-like riff and rhythm. Here Nanna sings in a soft melancholic mood, which at times doesn't quite fit the song, as enticing as her melodic lines may be. I think this would have been different if the instrumental lines weren't so raw and extreme, but the way they've done it the song was left with two sides playing melodies with completely different feelings, making it a really odd mix. I'm not too pleased with the guitar solo, again - it's uninteresting and it sounds as if it came from a garage-band recording. Maybe the idea was to make it sound as raw as the rest of the song, but even so it should have been done in a different manner. Havgus takes us away from the darkness of the previous song and manages to put a little smile upon our face with its softness and easy-going melodies, particularly the "la-la-lay" vocal ones. Spillemand is your typical merry-go-round folk instrumental song with the metal instruments only performing rhythm duties while the violin, hurdy-gurly and flute have their fun. Beirblakken follows, a slow and soft song, full of feeling. Nanna brings us another stellar performance, turning what could be a boring and murky song into an hypnotic, beautifully melancholic one. Knoglekvad moves us back to more happy feelings, this is a faster-paced one and quite well done! The folk instruments play throughout the song an innocent, almost child-like heart-warming melody and the vocal lines are either complementing it or making an interesting contrast by adding some well weighted level of aggression, reminding us, at times, of Arkona's Maria "Masha Scream" Arkhipova. The album reaches its end with Skærsild, another fine blend of melancholic folk and metal, that could even be described as slightly progressive or epic, featuring 6 minutes and a few tempo changes, closing the album again with Huldre at its best.

To quickly sum this up, there's a slightly bipolar feeling in Intet Menneskebarn. For once, there are a few songs that we just love, like the album opener Ulvevinter, Gennem Marksen or the last final songs Beirblakken, Knoglekvad and Skærsild. On the other hand, there are a couple of other songs that we feel that shouldn't belong here, like Brandridt and, particularly, Vaageblus. Huldre sounds best when playing songs that are more folk oriented, either happy or melancholic ones, so these 2 songs end up sounding out of place, as they're much more metal oriented. Adding up the questionable production choices regarding both song's guitar solos, you get 2 songs that really shouldn't have been included in what would have been a stunningly beautiful debut album, full of highlights. For starters, Nanna Barslev's performance is simply amazing, full of feeling, her voice sometimes crystal clear, sometimes dark, sometimes angry, but always bringing meaning and life to the songs. The folk duo also have their share of memorable moments - Laura Beck's violin and Jacob Lund's flute and hurdy-gurdy are also key elements in Huldre's songs, as previously stated. If we left out the 2 aforementioned songs, we'd also only have good words to say regarding Lasse Olufson's performance in the guitars, since mostly they're doing their job right and adding that needed extra power to the songs, along with Bjarne Kristiansen's pounding bass and Jacob Lund's powerful and flawless performance in the drums. The album's production is not bad, far from it, but should have been there for those 2 songs and should have worked them out differently. Also, the bass sound could have been better handled to make it less of a blur, at times - there are some interesting bass lines being played, at time, but we can't hear them clearly, at least not without a lot of effort. The remaining instruments are perfectly leveled, the guitar is well mixed with the folk instruments and the drums are also on spot, leaving the songs with that folk feeling that a higher leveled drumkit otherwise would have ruined.

We'll keep our eyes on these guys in the future, as of Intet Menneskebarn, our rating could have been higher if not for those negative remarkes, but still it's well worth a 75 out of 100.

Rating: 75%

Intet Menneskebarn - album cover
05Gennem Marsken
Gravado emLSD Studio - Lübeck
VozNanna Barslev
GuitarraLasse Olufson
BaixoBjarne Kristiansen
BateriaJacob Lund
ViolinoLaura Beck
Hurdy GurdyTroels Nørgaard
Huldre - band photo