Hate Forest


Innermost

Ukraine Country of Origin: Ukraine

Innermost
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: December 21st, 2022
Genre: Black
1. Those Who Howl Inside The Snowstorm
2. By Full Moon's Light Alone The Steppe Throne Can Be Seen
3. Ice-Cold Bloodless Veins
4. Temple Of The Great Eternal Night
5. Whiteout Silence
6. Solitude In Starry December


Review by Vladimir on January 1, 2023.

The year 2022 has blessed us with many extreme metal releases, mostly that of black metal sort. We’ve had Watain’s “The Agony And Ecstasy Of Watain”, I Am The Night’s “While The Gods Are Sleeping” and Lord Belial’s “Rapture” to name a few, but like a bolt from the blue comes Hate Forest’s new album Innermost. Released on December 19th on Osmose Productions YouTube channel, only 2 days before its official release date on December 21st, it came totally unexpected, even amidst Ukraine’s current situation. Although the previous album Hour Of The Centaur, released only 2 years prior, was still quite fresh with its overall well received status, the black metal community would certainly not hesitate to give the new Hate Forest album a warm (or in this case “cold”) welcome and embrace it with open arms. So, does Innermost deserve a warm welcome?

Hate Forest’s musical approach remains pretty much the same after all these years, staying faithful to what it does best. Those are familiar with Hate Forest and its style, they already know that it’s black metal with cold, misanthropic and diabolic tremolo riffs, blast beats, double-bass drumming and growling vocals with occasional harsh screams, which is the bread and butter that Roman Saenko still incorporates to this day, even on Innermost. All tracks have plenty of those mentioned above, while tracks 'By Full Moon's Light Alone The Steppe Throne Can Be Seen' and 'Temple Of The Great Eternal Night' also have acoustic interludes that later switch to tremolo picking and blast beats, with only a brief instance of mid-tempo riffs and drum patterns on the second track 'By Full Moon's Light Alone The Steppe Throne Can Be Seen'. The third track 'Ice-Cold Bloodless Veins' does something a bit different from the rest, it starts off with the main riff and growling vocals without any drums and bass for a few seconds before it starts blasting, and repeats the same formula in the middle of the song, but the final track 'Solitude In Starry December' is somewhat too repetitive and straightforward, leaving nothing more till the very end. As for the sound production, it sounds cold and misanthropic as it should, with heavy guitars, drums that aren’t too loud and vocals that blend well in the mix.

Overall, the album doesn’t really provide anything new other than new songs and new riffs, it is still substantial to a certain degree and faithful to Hate Forest’s sound. This album won’t be anything special to people who feel a bit overfed with what Roman Saenko has been doing with this band for 20 years now, but if you’re just someone who is looking for a good Hate Forest album or a good black metal album with growling vocals and cold misanthropic sound, this does indeed deserve your warm welcome.

Rating: 8.3 out of 10

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Review by Felix on December 27, 2022.

Putins terrible war is still raging in the Ukraine. Nevertheless, the well-known bands from this country release new albums as if everything would go its normal way. At first, Drudkh published a new full-length, now Hate Forest follow. The artwork is simple yet effective, too bad that I cannot say the same about the music. Hate Forest do not make everything wrong, by far not. But it is a fact that Innermost holds light and shadow.

A component I do not like very much are the vocals. They follow a death metal approach, not always, but too often. This mega-deep growling fails in the context of black metal. Some fervent, hateful screams accompany them from time to time, for instance in the first song called 'Those Who Howl Inside The Snowstorm'. I write this title, because it is simultaneously a description of the entire album. The vocalist howls and growls, while the guitars play the role of the snowstorm. Sometimes this recipe works, for example in the opener or (partly) in the second song. It comes into full bloom after 3:30 minutes. Merciless guitars celebrate a sharp, powerful riff and wipe away a comparatively melodic section. Unfortunately, it cannot be ignored that some unleashed high-speed eruptions are going nowhere. The compact opener does not suffer from any misleading twists and turns, but the longer tracks fall victim to their own monotonous noise from time to time. They create parts which are not overly exciting, to say it politely.

Hate Forest try to take countermeasures and so the storm calms down two times in 'Temple Of The Great Eternal Night'. Only an acoustic guitar remains and plays primitive sounds. They are probably not artistically valuable in terms of technique, but they add an atmospheric note. Alas, that’s not enough to banish the slightly stale taste the album leaves. The permanent high velocity and a relatively large number of more or less vapid guitar lines condemn the album to one-dimensionality. I regret this, especially in view of the promising opener. But we all know that it seems to be easy to pen one good song (and put it on the first position), but the difficulties begin when it comes to the creation of a full album.

The opaque, the drums disadvantaging production reminds me of the debut of Cold Earth, but it does not deliver enough differentiation. Given this fact, it emphasizes the lack of musical variety. I don’t think that the black community needs an album at the interface of Judas Iscariot and “Transilvanian Hunger”, at least not without high-class song-writing. Innermost has its fine, intense moments and it’s good that the metal production in the Ukraine goes on. Yet this work will not have a lasting effect on me.

Rating: 6 out of 10

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