It is hard to describe the sound of Hulkoff, which is the solo project of songwriter and composer Pär Hulkoff. He mixes metal with folk sounds and ancient rites. On 22nd October 2021, Hulkoff is releasing his third album Ragnarök. Here is my review.
Pär Hulkoff – About The Artist
Pär Hulkoff was born in 1980 in Karungi, Sweden, right at the land border to Finland. He already played the guitar in school bands – and after finishing school in several international bands. Apart from the band Raubtier (“Predator”, German word), Hulkoff is part of the country music project Bourbon Boys. With the label Hulfkoff, he debuted in 2018 with the album Kven, which even had a short appearance in the Swedish charts. His second album so far was the 2020 Pansarfolk.
Hulkoff – Ragnarök – Track by Track
Rangarök is in fact a double album. However, each disc contains the same song. The first disc features the songs in the Svitjod Edition, which comes with English lyrics. If you rather want to listen to the songs in Swedish, you will pick the second CD and listen to the Vinland Edition of the album. I thus decided to only review the first CD. The eleven songs last 42 minutes.
This title is in fact exactly the same in both parts of the album – as it is nothing but a one minute intro track.
Stomping-marching riffs and base drums from the very first minute of Holmgang and every verse feels to be confirmed with a machine gum-alike drum and guitar collaboration. There is a lot of of power in Holmgang. The growling voice of Pär Hulkoff adds a lot of atmosphere, the chorus feels like a great sing-a-long. Great first full song.
There are quick riffs and drums in Vapnum as well – the chorus, feels a bit more like folk music though. Therefore, there is no break in the verses this time – Hulkoff and his bandmates just go for the full power option over the whole three minutes.
Ulfhednar means “wolfskin” – the word also describes mytic warriors, who could transform themsevels into wolves. Just as the song describes. Cool listen, one of my favorites.
The choir is making you sing with Hulkoff – the song is also a a great listen, even if you don’t like metal. The song is rather a rock song and does not hammer the guitars and drums hard. Apart from that, you learn a bit about the Viking Harald Hardrada. Historic education with guitars and the long-bearded musician. Five really enjoyable minutes.
6. To Valhalla
Til Vall Valhall – To Valhalla – the sixth track is even having some electronic elements. Even though Ragnarök and the music of Hulkoff feels to have a rather limited style at the beginning, there is quite some variety the more you listen.
The range of saga and mythological topcis is definitely not limited at all. This time, Hulkoff is giving us some lyrics about the Midgard serpent.
Skyfall, rolling thunder
Here comes Jörmungandr
Rising up from outer sea
Tearing all the thunder
The old Jörmungandr
Bring the end of you and me
Especially the chorus even gives a bit of a happy touch to me while listening – even though there is so much darkness and death in the song.
This song is about the Indo-European horse race. The song is rather soft again. The background of the verses could even be a nice 1980’s song – but soon the riffs clash into the sound again. It is rock, it is metal, even in the more melodic elements.
9. Sent Me a Raven
The desire for a black bird is another song, which is close to five minutes. The song comes with a nice contrast of atmospheres. Most of the time, however, Hulkoff feels rather lamenting. Very impressive sound.
Dark. but not as powerful and hard rocking as other songs of the album – this also gives a better focus on the rhythm and the vocals of FNFAL. Not my favorite listen.
What could be a better closing track for an album like this than the Ragnarök, the final fight of Nordic gods against the Giant? The title track is a good one, but not my favorite.
Hulkoff – Ragnarök – Spotify
Here is Ragnarök on Spotify:
Hulkoff – Ragnarök – My View
The album and Hulkoff’s music in general has a really great concept. I love to listen to the Nordic sagas in this way – and if you feel that adds authenticity, you might also go for the Swedish versions. Even though there are a few songs I would name weak(er) spots, it is a cool listen, especially if you like pagan metal. Thumbs up!
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