Distributor/label URL: https://www.osmoseproductions.com
Buy Album: https://osmoseproductions.bandcamp.com/album/hour-of-the-centaur
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/Hate-Forest-44251042886
R – guitars, voice
V – drums programming
1. Occidental, Beware the Steppe
2. Those Who Worship the Sun Bring the Night
3. No Stronghold Can Withstand this Malice
4. To the North of Pontos Axeinos
5. Anxiously They Sleep In Tumuli
7. Shadowed By a Veil Of Scythian Arrows
Hate Forest are a black metal band on Osmose Productions, who released their latest album ‘Hour of the Centaur’ on 25th December 2020. (Happy Christmas! Bit of a weird way to celebrate Christmas, but hey). It was released 16 whole years after their last full-length effort and was recorded in a few days in April 2020. Nothing about it is trendy or new. What you do get is an unpenetrable, gloomy wall of sound and a sense of chaos. The act plays honest BM crafted on Old Europe’s eastern frontier, and it hates modern selfie/instagram culture.
First things first, even for black metal, this stuff is pretty noisy. HF really are a band that want to thrill/attack you, rather than take you to a dark, distant and surreal planet. The blast beats go and and on with only rare breaks and the tremolo picked guitars are just as relentless. The riffs tend not to stand out as particularly interesting, but when they do, (for example in ‘No Stronghold Can Withstand this Malice) they have kind of an odd and disturbing feel – yes, even for the genre. It’s hard to say why, but they kind of sound wrong and almost have an atonal feel that doesn’t seem to completely fit with the rest of the band. For better or worse, the weirdness only comes back in the last track where odd, hellish and repetitive chords are forced upon the listener. It’s certainly a powerful way to end the album.
You’d probably assume the nine minute long track ‘Anxiously They Sleep in Tumili’ would be a really epic piece with lots of variety, but in actuality it takes over four minutes before there is finally a change in tempo (a drop in tempo I mean, thank God) and the riffs become more thoughtful. After almost seven minutes, the drums leave the mix for a few seconds, further adding to the range of textures. (Not much, but it’s something). If only that stuff happened more often, it would force the listener to pay attention. Unfortunately, most of the album is a raging blur and it really does sound like it was recorded in a few days.
In conclusion, even hardened black metallers will likely want to have at least a few more rests from all the chaos. The insanity just goes on and on too much of the time. Little about the music is interesting in any way and all the songs are very similar to each other. However, you have to admire the dedication the drummer has to his kick drum. He must have some of the strongest feet/ankles in the world and a lesser man’s wrists would fall off in minutes if he tried to compete with him. Well actually the drums are programmed, but they do sound real enough, if slightly unlikely. This music isn’t terrible theoretically speaking, but it’s even less original that most similar groups, and that’s saying a lot. This music isn’t really recommended for anyone, but those who are new to BM might get something out of it.