Hate Forest is one of the most legendary black metal bands to ever emerge from Ukraine. It was formed by this scary bald motherfucker named Roman Saenko and his best friend Thurios in 1995. After releasing two demos and an EP, the band released their full-length debut, The Most Ancient Ones, in September 2001. To be honest, I'm not all that familiar with Hate Forest. I think I listened to them way back when I was a teenager, but then I forgot about them. I was young and I didn't have the attention span to fully appreciate them. Many years later, I decided to listen to them again, and I must say, these guys are amazing.
First of all, the production is dark and cloudy. The album sounds like it was recorded onto old Soviet-era equipment. The end result is something that sounds foreboding and supernatural. As for the music itself, it sounds utterly diabolical. The drums are programmed, which means they're only capable of simple blast beats and rhythms. However, that's really all the band needs. The drum machine blasts away tirelessly through the blinding fog. The cymbals sound like the tapping of ghostly nails. The kick drums sound like rattling chains.
Unlike most other black metal bands, the bass is quite prominent here. They plod alongside the guitars and create this thick, nauseating miasma that makes you feel like you're in some forgotten swamp where no life dwells. As for the guitars, they play an endless torrent of tremolo riffs that express both anger and despair. They utilize repetition, cloudy distortion, and copious amounts of reverb to create an atmosphere that entraps you and forces your head into the swamp's sorrowful waters.
Best of all are the vocals. Thurios performs some great angry rasps, but the real star of the show is Roman Saenko. He utilizes a vocal technique that is rarely seen in black metal: growling. Roman is a death metal vocalist yet he chooses to play black metal. Not only is he a creative genius, but he's an awesome performer. His growls are deep and bellowing. They sound almost akin to a monstrous roar. Roman is the monster that lurks at the bottom of this sorrowful swamp. He consumes not only flesh, but also souls.
The Most Ancient Ones is one of the strongest debuts for any black metal band ever. I can understand why so many people love these guys. The production is wonderfully atmospheric, the instrumental performance is top-notch, and the vocals are utterly incredible. I'm itching to hear what their other albums have in store for me.