Hate Forest - Hour of the Centaur
Osmose Productions
Black Metal
7 songs (37:59)
Release year: 2020
Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Goat

Well, this was unexpected! The long-dormant predecessor to Drudkh has arisen from the ashes to produce a fifth full-length, the band's first since 2005's Sorrow. Roman Saenko seems to have continued this as much as a personal project as anything, performing all the instruments here except drums (programmed by Drudkh bandmate Vlad). Those familiar with the deep, dark rumble from past Hate Forest releases will know that the absence of a human drummer isn't as much of a hindrance to this particular form of black metal as others. It's all about that intense, hypnotic blizzard of sound, percussion buried anyway beneath the riffs and cold, inhuman growls - repetitive and not completely without melody, but far more brutal and even monotonous than the pretty, walks-in-nature Drudkh. They ain't called Love Forest, kids! The accompanying promotional material even promises nothing "trendy or new", just "laconic and honest black metal" that is "full of disgust to modern pseudo-intellectual, selfie/Instagram "black metal". And while the first part of that is certainly true, allow a raised eyebrow when you see that Osmose have ironically marketed this release on their Instagram...

In any case, although not really as good as past highlights such as Purity, Hour of the Centaur does enough well to be worth listening to for those that enjoy the style. The oddly psychedelic melodies that flitter around at the edge of the torrential noise are still there, coming more to the fore on the relatively melodic No Stronghold Can Withstand This Malice, or the suitably twitchy nine-minuter Anxiously They Sleep in Tumuli, which takes more of an epic, grandiose feel as it progresses, particularly in the more melancholic second half - by far the best piece on the album. Otherwise, the songs here don't have much to distinguish between them, and even though Hate Forest albums are usually not known for their length (Sorrow was just under 32 minutes long, for instance) Hour of the Centaur still feels quite long, particularly given how certain tracks don't always lock in the hypnotic vibe very well - particularly towards the end of the album with the similar-seeming Melanchlaeni and Shadowed By a Veil of Scythian Arrows. Not the best material from the band, but a welcome return to the battlefield, nonetheless. Osmose are also re-releasing the Hate Forest back catalogue, for those who wish to own them on disc.

Killing Songs :
No Stronghold Can Withstand This Malice, Anxiously They Sleep in Tumuli
Goat quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Hate Forest that we have reviewed:
Hate Forest - Purity reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
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