Huldre

Pumpehuset, Copenhagen - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

After a good opening show by Heidra it was time for my personal favourites on the billing of Grand Folk-Metal Night; Huldre. So far, all Danes then; it wasn’t until later that the other Scandinavian countries would begin partaking in the festivities by the hands of Faanefjell (Norway) and Yggdrasil (Sweden), before the whole thing would be rounded off with another Dane in Vanir.
But enough of that for now...

I know I wrote that I was impressed by the amount of folks here at Pumpehuset already in the review for Heidra, but I feel it deserves another mention for the pure fact that, incredible as it may sound, the place was even more packed now! Now, in itself I realize that saying a place was more packed during the second band’s show than it had been for the first ones doesn’t sound that unrealistic, but you have to keep two thing in mind when I say this; one, Pumpehuset’s new stage isn’t all that large to begin with and the place had been fairly packed already from the start of the evening, and two, even with a bands like Týr and Svartsot who have both done pretty well for themselves, folk-metal still isn’t more than a small niche here in Denmark, especially when it comes to unsigned bands like the ones we had seen so far...

This was hard to tell from the way people were reacting to Huldre though; starting out (as they always seem to do) with Beirblakken we first got a nice, chilling dose of meditative droning before the metal section of this folk-metal sextet decided to sonically kick our teeth in with the heaviness of that very same song.
After this it was of course time for a dance breakdown with the now nearly classic Ulvevinter, first track of the bands 2010 demo recording. Following these would be six more songs, some known from the demo, others from earlier gigs, and others still unknown and new. Oh, and let’s not forget the encore with Knoglekvad! But again I’m getting ahead of myself...

Huldre, who for the night was backed up by Danni Lyse Jelsgaard of Svartsot behind the drums (Jacob Lund, Huldre’s own drummer was apparently somewhere far, far away from here), were obviously well-prepared to make a party judging from the way they acted on the stage, but even so they were at times nearly drowned out by appreciating shouts of the audience. I was certainly not the only one enjoying this, not surprisingly.
Yes, the audience was something for themselves, what with the headbanging and moshing already in Ulvevinter, and later on the dancing which was requested by vocalist Nanna Barslev for the instrumental song Spillemand (among others). Not that the band was holding back either; after her dance request, Barslev and her companions Laura Emilie Beck (violin) and Lasse Olufsen (guitar) all hopped and danced as well! During the aforementioned song Spillemand Barslev was shortly missing from the stage (my guess is she had joined in the festivities on the floor, but I didn’t see her), but moments later she returned to the stage with a borrowed drinking-horn held high, enticing us to head over for the beer and mead-filled bar for refreshments. Even if this had been possible (which it wasn’t due to the amount of people) I wouldn’t have gone until they were done playing though – this was one show I wasn’t going to miss out on, that’ for sure!

All good things must come to an end though, and Huldre met theirs much too soon; after playing the final song, Skærsild, and most graciously promising us a CD-release in a not too distant future, a loud chant of the band-name forced them to play yet another song. It wasn’t like we were twisting their arm or anything though, they were all too happy to play one more epic tale of ancient times before handing us over to the Norwegians in Faanefjell.
For this reviewer though, the highlight of the evening had now come and gone. There is no doubt in my mind Huldre is the best there is to get in Danish metal right now, and why they haven’t already been scooped up by a label is beyond my comprehension. Maybe this coming CD will do the trick? We can only hope...

Setlist:

Beirblakken
Ulvevinter
Skovpolska
Togsang
Troldesang
Brandridt
Spillemand
Skærsild
Knoglekvad

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