We’ve got another helping of great new Dutch metal today in the form of Shuulak, who fuse old school heavy metal with elements of a more modern sound – which they describe as “modern heavy metal.”
The quintet of Bastiën Baron (vocals), Eve Laetitia (lead guitar), Loet Braamkolk (rhtyhm guitar), Riccardo Terlien (bass), Angelo Tower (drums) first became friends through shared music tastes back in 2014. That developed to the point where they released excellent debut EP Nigredo in 2017.
The debut EP typifies the dark, mysterious intrigue of Shuulak. It’s based on a concept signifying the first step in the alchemist’s Magnum opus, and the songs are essentially a collection of tales depicting humanity’s desire for greatness inevitably ending in madness and depravity.
As Eve explains: “Our songs speak of humanity’s desire for greatness, ending in madness and depravity. We are also heavily inspired by alchemy and the occult.”
The band tell us their musical tastes are quite diverse but have been likened to heavy metal bands like King Diamond and Judas Priest, as well as more progressive metal bands such as Queensryche and Fates Warning.
The latest offering of this intriguing combination is three-track Albedo, which was released just before Christmas. It kicks off with Hunter’s Moon, which a delicious chugging riff that drops into a verse of powerful vocals. That continues through to a more intense cry then a drawn-out guitar solo that feeds into another batch of powerful vocals.
It suddenly drops into a section of light guitars that are joined by more delicate, light vocals that intensify. Then a chugging bassline and looping guitar riff to take over to take us to a big rocky ending.
That’s followed by The Meek, which opens with cool, slightly creepy little guitar noises, then a delightful chugging riff. Big vocals kick in over palm-muted guitar, answered by a brief reprieve of the riff, and feed into a chorus of huge vocals. The big chugging guitars continue before a winding solo takes us through to more powerful vocals.
Shuulak are an exciting reincarnation of classic heavy metal with a modern twist, led by the impressive, dominant vocals of Baron supported by engaging chugging riffs. Their music is powerful, energetic and highly enjoyable.
2019 is set to be a busy year for Shuulak. They’ll be back in the studio to work on their next release, before which they’ll be touring heavily in The Netherlands and Belgium, as well as visiting Germany for the first time. More info on their upcoming gigs is here.