All Hail Hulder: The Wicked Witch of Black Metal

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The artist known as Helder lives in a cottage buried in a dense, nameless forest in the Pacific Northwest, where it always rains, and the daggers of sunlight brave enough to pierce the shroud of foliage are met with a hissing sound. Away from modern civilization, she spends her days brooding and forging medieval music so evil it would make Smaug groan, before beaming it down on the unsuspecting masses like an evil witch.

At least that’s the impression we get when listening to the black metal evocations that the Belgian-American produces on her own. In fact, she has lived in Oregon and Washington state more recently, including her current home in the shadow of Mount Rainier, after her family left their native Belgium.

Hulder, whose birth name has never been made public since she began releasing her brand of black metal in 2018, explains that her introduction to the dark side began simply enough moons ago.

“My interest in black metal started the same way I imagine most. The first time I was exposed to metal was when I was young and bought a copy of Iron Maiden Slayers at a flea market. The imagery on the cover is what drew me in and sparked my interest in dark and macabre,” she says. “From there, the path to more extreme music was paved. As for my first exposure to black metal, I’d say it was either The Darkling by Dissection Where Moonsorrow’s V: Havitette which really attracted me and ignited the flame in me.

Growing up she dabbled in music, playing with peers here and there, but it would be years before Hulder seriously considered starting a solo black metal project. A move to Oregon in 2017 sparked the idea, and she’s been actively cultivating it ever since.

“When my family moved to the United States from my home country of Belgium, I discovered that there were many opportunities to play music, but I could never find a group of people interested in playing the music I envisioned. It led me to find a musical outlet in other areas, but always made me want to create something of my own in the future,” she says. “After moving to Oregon in 2017, much of the winter was spent recording the Rise of the Raven Stone (his first demo released in 2018), and it was the first time I found myself in full control of my own musical direction. It was definitely kind of a creative awakening, and I made changes in order to create an environment of creative solitude. A few months ago I moved to Washington State and lived in a cabin near Mount Rainier. It was great to be away from the hectic nature of the city and it had a strong creative influence.

After 2021 Godslastering: hymns of the desperate peasantry – an album universally hailed in the underground for its modern take on folkloric Norwegian black metal – Hulder left the farm to spread what she calls “Dark Medieval Black Metal” across the country. She will be in Denver on Saturday, June 25, playing TRVE BreweryBacchanal of the 10th anniversary of Gothic Theater. Khemis, Panopticon, Vast and battleship also celebrate the occasion.

“It’s, of course, a different experience than writing music in the controlled environment of my home, but it’s a necessary part of increasing the reach and interest in music,” says- her life on the road, including plans for her upcoming headlining tour to promote the mini-LP The Eternal Marching Band (July, 1st, 20 bucks tower). “By nature I’m not a very social person, and as such I’ve found being on the road can be a little too much for my taste, but I’m embracing the experience and looking forward to see what the future holds. Helder’s touring schedule.

Why have so many people fallen in love with black metal since a wave of church burnings and murders in Norway ignited the scene in the 1990s, sparking a worldwide media frenzy and police investigations including funerals, arrests, jail time and ultimately the inevitable collapse of one of music’s most insular scenes? It’s a question no one has been able to answer satisfactorily, but that’s how the underground works – it has kept black metal alive against all odds, making it stronger than death. in this direction.

“Black metal has always had a strong hold on the underground. While mainstream media had its heyday nearly three decades ago, the genre has remained strong through years of ebb and flow. I can’t say why the genre has remained attractive to fans, but I can say I’m happy to see seemingly renewed interest over the past few years,” Hulder said, adding that “extreme music and black metal , in particular, have been an integral part of my life for many years.”

It’s safe to say that the plot, the fantastical plating of corpse paint and grainy black-and-white photos of artists with pseudonyms, is also part of it.

“Those who experience Hulder in a live setting can expect to experience a conjuration of Dark Medieval Black Metal. Nothing less,” promises the Mount Rainier mage.

Helder, Gothic Theater, 3263 South Broadway, 7 p.m. Saturday, June 25. Tickets are $27.50 to $30.

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