Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Haiduk: Spellbook (2012)

Damn Right, Canada is (Slightly Less) Awesome

Guest review by joanismylover, who completes the trifecta of attorneys writing for this blog. That is the first of The Signs. Tomorrow: The sun will be blotted from the sky.

Among the 200+ episodes of The Simpsons is the one where Bart and Millhouse make the Canadian Olympic basketball team. When Bart asks Homer if the family would go to Canada to support him, Homer asks the relevant question, "Why would I want to go to America, Junior?" And of course South Park's Bigger, Louder, Uncut was basically just one big joke about Canada starting with the Canadians bombing the Baldwin brothers at their Hollywood mansion from WWII era B-29 bombers.

It's easy to make fun of Canada, and, well, it's fun. But it's also easy to forget that a lot of talent hails from those northward frozen tundras. Just about every single SNL original was Canadian. Neil Young was Canadian though the southern man didn't need him around. Leonard Cohen, Shannon Tweed, and Keanu Reeves are Canadian. Though "the Canadian government has apologized for Bryan Adams on several occasions," Metalattorney rightly points out that their metal collective is unassailable. I'd add Infernal Majesty, Weapon, Bison (BC), and Exciter to his list. Canada, while fun to make fun of, kicks ass.

Haiduk is a solo project hailing from Calgary (emphasis on the -gary, not the Cal-) that I would not yet put in that pantheon. There's a lot to like about this blackened thrash. Spellbook would appear to be a well thought out concept album, with ten songs and ten corresponding symbols on the cover in that inverted pentagram. Apparently the CD booklet lays it out in detail. I have no idea what the concept is, as the vocals are understandably not understandable. Probably it has something to do with being under the influence of a spell.

And you know what? It does feel a little hypnotic, but not for lack of pace. I love that the album just jumps right into it. No intro, no long build up, no storms on the horizon or spoken word intro. Just some hyper-speed riffs. And pretty much it doesn't let up for the rest of the album. The riffs are catchy, and when the 32 minutes are up, it's an easy - as if I'm under a spell? - decision to play them again. It flys by. Haiduk have potential but probably need a few extra minds or hands in the process.

Because ultimately, it sounds a little thin. This has less thrash than, say, Witchery, but without that band's bottom end. It has more thrash but less death than Goatwhore, but again, without the heaviness. And my major complaint is the artificial drumming. It's hollow and altogether unrealistic to the point of being annoying. "Black Wind" exemplifies this: I think there is an artificial blast beat for the entire song, which may or may not be possible. But it's maddening to hear. STOP already.

And so I'll stop this review, with a question. If one were to ask me would I want to listen to Haiduk's "Spellbook" again, I'd ask you the following question: "Why would I want to listen to Witchery, Junior?"

The Verdict: 3 out of 5 stars

Buy Spellbook


  1. You praise the album for having no intro, yet you include an intro in your review which is nearly three paragraphs long.

  2. So true sir. In my defense my review is not music and good writing suggests I should introduce my theme at the outset. I'd hoped the intro was interesting. My point about the album was that I was going to be bored by a cliched intro. There wasn't, and I liked that. Notwithstanding, objection sustained.

  3. As long as we're quoting The Simpsons, may I offer this following gem from Todd Flanders: "Ow, my freakin' ears!" And here's my review of joanismylover's review: 1 out of 5 stars. If only there was also a Todd Flanders quote applicable to my eyes after reading such drivel.

  4. Spanish Johnny. That's a musical reference. I can't quite place it . . .