"Always Haunted" (Self-produced; 2008)

Reviewed by Metal Mark

I had to give to give Hulda's new CD a few spins to really figure it out. It's not that it's necessarily a complicated album, but rather that the approach they take is different than what I was expecting. 

Hulda play a style of music that, although seemingly basic in some ways, still manages to combine elements of punk, pop, gothic and heavy influences as well. The sound has a definite mid-80s feel flowing through it although not so much that it's stuck in that decade. What really threw me initially about this album was how subtle their approach is and it is certainly low-key on many levels. 

I think my initial reaction caused me to nearly dismiss it because it did not grab me immediately. However, upon repeated plays, I realized they were shooting for this style and you just had to listen deeper to really pull out what was happening below the surface. There is little build-up to their songs; instead, they are more like steady waves and the music is thick even though it doesn't immediately hit you in the face. The rhythm section is extremely solid, laying down a strong backbone for the rest of the band to play off of. The guitars are largely straight forward, but the solos are strong. The vocals are slightly laid back almost deadpan at times yet they fit with the music. 

This is perhaps not a CD that will instantly grab you because it's not that style, but this band has the skill and the style to pull it off at their pace. If you sit back, reach out and try to take in everything that's taking place on these songs then I think that you will really begin to hear, feel and realize all that's going into these songs. 

This may be a release that you have to be in a certain mood to play, but it certainly has a great deal to offer once you give it a chance.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02 Oct 2022 15:17:12 -0400.