This is a groovy and unrelenting beast of a record. Local act Haiduk is the brainchild of musician Luka Milojica and, on his debut full-length, Spellbook, he performs ten tracks of incessant blackened extreme metal. Armed with an unearthly howl, Milojica’s lyrics seemingly focus on the aftermath of evil incantations. In alignment with these ethereal and evil themes, constantly battering drums sit front and centre in the clean mix, aided by thrashy chord progressions and the occasional tremolo squeal. Packaged in a nifty little casing, the finished product is surprisingly professional for a local outfit, let alone one spearheaded by a sole individual. Throughout the records 32 minutes, the songs vary little, but given its unrelenting urgency the listener’s interest will remain for multiple spins. On the fourth run through, the only complaint is the percussive approach remains largely similar throughout the record. However, as the guitars become increasingly layered and varied – the juxtaposition between clean and driving versus high and frantic in “Hex” is particularly intense – the concern is eradicated. Fists pump high, the END IS NIGH!

By Sarah Kitteringham

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