Hetman - Sewn from the Ashes Book
Svarga Music
Pagan Progressive Metal
8 songs (59'38")
Release year: 2017
Reviewed by Alex

Hetman in Ukrainian means a military leader, and maybe true to its moniker Hetman does combine both jagged militaristic moments alternating with smoother flow in its Sewn from the Ashes Book album, thus depicting both the sense of pride and atmospheric beauty. Whatever you want to say about Cerberus’ idea of songcraft, he simply cannot stand to be static, changing a number of times within a span of a single song. Never overly blackened, and with large degree of clean sound in its musical production, Hetman may even sound almost power metal with some very muscular riffing. Yet at times a dense darker shroud is pulled over (How Quiet it is on Land … How Quiet!!), until deliberate and contemplative mood sets in. The Seventh Heaven also, at least in the beginning, takes on a denser steadier gait, with a swaying broad melody and occasional blastbeat, far from a constant occurrence on the album. The Pile of Soil, propelled by a steady double bass, reminded me of Munruthel on occasion, but Hetman has a definite individual approach to its expression of pagan metal. Ukrainian, by origin, and folky, via some of its melodies, Sewn from the Ashes Book does not resort to any gimmicks, does not pull off a sopilka for melodic aid, and strives for its own unique stamp.

Cerberus vocals are sing-like shouts, not the most attractive feature of Hetman portfolio, but songs like The Gateway are not overburdened with them. Acoustic, but gaining density Remember Who We Are, reveals singing alongside dominant melody, with words about Ukrainian homeland delivered by someone who, I venture a guess here, was born in Southern, not Western, Ukraine. I definitely like floating Hetman pieces (The Proud Word) more so than chopped up, rough-edged chants like Touch the Stones in the Steppe, but the whole album is projected through the same distinctive atmosphere, that you can definitely feel it came out from under the singular songwriter’s quill. Yet again what I will remember the most about Sewn from the Ashes Book is how multifaceted the songs were. True to the very end, all the way to the closer To the Heart of Everyone, clean voice and opening strum notwithstanding, once rolling double bass and profound melody starts settling into a groove, you are allowed to think here comes the simple construct … yet Hetman will throw you an unexpected middle waltz to leave you somewhat off balance.

Pagan in spirit, yet progressive in its approach, Sewn from the Ashes Book is not only for those who love Ukrainian black metal because of its melodies and atmosphere.

Killing Songs :
The Seventh Heaven, The Pile of Soil, The Proud Word, To the Heart of Everyone
Alex quoted 78 / 100
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