Prolific Ukrainian black metal band Hate Forest release their sixth album, Innermost.
Formed in 1995, Hate Forest spent a few years on the stage before issuing a triplet of EPs in 2000-2001. They solidified their place in black metal history by releasing four strong long-players in the first half of the same decade, and then they drifted apart for a while. Fast forward to 2020 and the full force return with the resounding record Hour of the Centaur. And now we have Innermost. On the record label’s page for the new release, there is the note that “Hate Forest is R.” Presumably, that is a reference to Roman Saenko, suggesting this music is his solo creation.
There are six tracks on the new record, starting off with “Those Who Howl Inside the Snowstorm.” The song begins like the opening of a window on a dark winter day. The storm from the title is outside, but now it is coming in, and its speed and intensity is growing with each passing moment. The usual black metal approach is turned askance, tuned in a somewhat different direction. Likewise, the vocals, which preserve at times the black metal expectation but otherwise introduce amalgamation and crossover sorcery. “By Full Moon’s Light Alone the Steppe Throne Can Be Seen” equals the intensity and presses it even further. Two minutes in, we hit an acoustic cliff that resets the tempo then marches off at a charging gate that is less of a frenzy but still most menacing. All of this and the music is only really beginning.
Throughout the album, the compositions stir emotions that are primitive and enduring, ones often buried deep. The guitars seem to bite into your flesh and the music could very well be an agent of change. The final track, “Solitude In Starry December,” is among my favorites. It has a patient set-up – the vocals enter only after about three minutes – and the endgame is not fully revealed until it is reached. The album is concise and memorable because it is so excellently constructed. Recommended.
Innermost is out now through Osmose Productions in many formats. Press the link below for all the details.
Osmose Productions, https://osmoseproductions-label.com/hate-forest-innermost/
© Wayne Edwards