2. With Fire and Iron
3. Проведу Я Русалочку...
4. Our Fading Horizons
6. Glare Over Slavonic Lands
Ukraine's Hate Forest unleashed an absolute monster with their third full length release, Battlefields. Heartbreakingly beautiful Ukrainian folk music interludes give shart contrast to the disparagingly bleak downtempo black metal fired in a martial forge. Hate Forest is primarily the creative vehicle of one Roman Saenko, who handles most of the instrumentation heard here. Saenko's name may be familiar to listeners of Drudkh, Saenko's current project, carrying on after the now-defunct Hate Forest with former HF guitarist Thurios. While Battlefields isn't the eastern European Slav blackened folkmetal of Drudkh, it foreshadows Hate Forest's continuing progression with the involvement of folk musics.
Each of the interludes between the dark maelstroms features unaccompanied vocal pieces of Ukranian folk singing, titled in Cyrillic. The lone exception to this is "Keening", again an a capella work of women singing, this time with women crying in the background, most likely in mourning of those who fell in battle. Difficult to listen to. Each English titled track is dark, depressive black metal from the deepest of wooded Ukraine. Hate Forest's particular brand of black metal developed over the years since it's formation in 1995, and Battlefields is the apex of their creative output. Rather than relying on sheer speed to get across a message of terror and despair, HF's black metal has attained an impact not found in the earlier work with the slowing of tempos. The vocals are still a little on the death metal side, gutteral and deep. This is also one of the few BM bands that get a pass with keyboards. The keyboard parts never stick out like a sore thumb, integrating seamlessly with the rest of the blackened sum. Hate Forest is one of many eastern European bands to mix black metal with folk musics, but they stand head and shoulders above the rest, as they are peerless and Battlefields stands as a mastery of the genre.
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