Haiduk - Spellbook

Haiduk is a Death Metal band from Canada who currently consists of a single member, Luka Milojica. His current full-length offering, “Spellbook” wastes little to no time getting to the good parts, so I'm going to do the same with this review. First of all, the production value is pristine without being too slick. While Metal that sounds this clean usually isn't my thing, the level of sound quality on display here has done nothing to sacrifice any of the intensity you expect out of high-speed Death Metal.
The music to vocal ratio leans more towards the side of punishing riffs rather than booklets full of lyrics, but “Spellbook” does in fact read a bit like it's namesake once you open up the liner notes.

Each track contains an explanation of it's subject matter with the song's lyrics highlighted in the text. When read in order, the whole album seems like an introductory course in harnessing various magics to do your bidding. For all I know, these spells actually work, but I haven't tried one yet. As with most Death Metal, listening to Haiduk around the average person (lovers of karaoke television and such) will most likely make them steer clear of you; perhaps the most useful spell of them all. I can also tell you with at least some certainty that playing this album around superstitious or overtly-religious people will probably make them attempt to conjure up a few spells of their own to protect themselves from this blast of “Devil Music”.

All in all, this album is a great listen from front to back. There is certainly no shortage of tasty riffing, but the vocals are indeed quite sparse. This doesn't effect my personal enjoyment of the album, but I can imagine a few listeners getting annoyed with the lack of vocals; it's Metal, someone is bound to find something to bitch about. However, you won't find any complaints here; from the thrashy opening riff of “Lich” to the finger-tapped intro to “Tremor” to the guitar solo at the end of the final track, “Vortex” this is all quality Death Metal. If you're looking for something fast and heavy to play while you drink and raise hell with your friends, this is perfect. Technically, since the subject matter deals primarily with destructive magic (or maybe this kind is spelled “magick”, I'm not sure) this album could probably work as a soundtrack to your next outing into the world of role-playing games as well. Unless of course, you don't get into slaying mythical beasts while getting sloshed and listening to Metal; if that's the case, you might want to re-evaluate your hobbies.

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