Haiduk is the Canadian, one man project of one Luca Milojica. And while the trend for most one man metal is of the blackened or depressive kind with a few exceptions, Haiduk (apparently a term for Balkan freedom fighters) is actually rather good thrash/death metal and you wouldn’t really know it was a one man project.
Spellbook is 10 songs that are of tight, high octane, Dew-Scented styled thrash, but with harsher death metal vocals. Other than Dew-Scented, I get whiffs of Hypocrisy in some of the melodies and obviously any number of bigger thrash influences, and maybe a dash of black metal (Dissection possibly?) here and there, but it’s all juiced up and delivered with more of a snarl and growl. The songs don’t mess about with only a couple topping 4 minutes, as Milojica gets straight to the point with most of the short, sharp songs. Of course, like Dew-Scented– that results in a samey feel here and there, but with a just over 30 minute run time, it never quite gets to that level.
Opener “Lich” gets things going, and delivers a solid, steady train ride pacing, but isn’t a real attention grabbing opener. Luckily, second track “Stormcall” really gets the album going with a very nice chugging main riff, and from there the album keeps its momentum until closer “Vortex”. Other moments that caught my ear were “Black Wind” which adds some blast beats to the assault, the deft slice ‘n’ dice of “Forcefield”, twiddly ” Tremor”, and the longer, varied closer “Vortex”, even if by then a few of the riffs are starting to sound a bit familiar.
For a self released one man project, the production and mix on Spellbook is very good- its tight with a nice bottom end and crunch, and if Mr. Milojica hadn’t told me the drums were programmed, I might not have guessed. From the looks of it, he also performs this stuff live somehow, so I also have to admire the guys dedication to the craft as well as this pretty respectable recorded output.[Visit the band's website]