NOVEMBER 26th 2012
HAIDUK: SPELLBOOK
Review by Anka

Few albums coming from new bands manage to hold my attention the way Haiduk’s ‘Spellbook’ did. Given the debut status I guess a presentation of the artist is in order. Haiduk hails from Calgary, Alberta and it is a solo project of guitarist/vocalist Luka Milojica. This is not exactly his first release, but it certainly is the first full-length album. Thanks to my Eastern European origin I could easily understand the name of the band and I admit I was very curious to hear the album and to get to know the artist behind it.

As a side note, I have noticed something quite extraordinary lately, that Canada has a lot of amazing one man projects in the underground scene. Of course we have seen this happening before with much success, but mostly in Europe.  I am not sure if this has become the ideal land for solitary musicians but I can see there’s a good source of inspiration and brilliant song writing. I can also understand this individualistic pursuit, so specific to multitalented musicians, but I certainly hope to be able to see bands like Haiduk playing live, at least with session musicians if a steady lineup is not possible.

Released just this past summer, ‘Spellbook’ is a 32 minute long concept album that doesn’t fail to grab your attention from the first riffs. 10 well structured, intense songs deal with themes like magic and the occult. From the first song everything develops effortlessly into a succession of furious riffs that will have you hold your breath for a few seconds. And this time I’d say you won’t have to wait for the album to finish playing in order to form an opinion.
 
There is a very nice mix of genres and influences you can hear in Haiduk’s album. Black, thrash, a lot of death metal, all come together into one dark, fast and heavy as hell piece. Harsh, roaring vocals complete the sound, sometimes actually making me wish there were more vocal parts on the album because Luka certainly does a good job.

The songwriting is good, and though a bit repetitive at times, I wouldn’t say it loses the listener. I would have loved to hear real drums but don’t get me wrong I think it still sounds good, having heard worse I can only admire and respect the effort on this album. Beyond the compelling rhythms and thrashing guitar riffs, each track has a unique essence:  songs like Black Wind and Maelstrom have a stronger black metal component, others like Stormcall, Lightning and Forcefield go towards the thrashy area. What I loved most about the album is the insane energy and the speed sustained without compromising the darkened feel of the album. It just doesn’t let you down, and you won’t believe it when the album ends.

Songs to remember: Maelstrom, Lich, Hex, Fire Wield, Vortex

Definitely a commendable effort here for a first full-length release, that you should check out If you want to have your face melted and possibly get discouraged in case you want to start a band.