Wednesday 13 April 2016

Hatespirit - "Blood & Poetry" (Album Review)

By: Daniel Jackson

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 1/5/2016
Label: Altare Productions

This year is already a strong one for black metal, but ‘Blood & Poetry’ is good enough to be in the top tier of black metal albums released so far this year.

‘Blood & Poetry’ track listing:

1. Intro - Blood & Poetry
2. Saalistajan Kuutamo
3. Viha ja Vitutus
4. The Wolfish Hunger
5. In Dusky Depths
6. Silvery Howls
7. Thought and Memory
8. Talvitunnelmia
9. Breath of Night
10. The Ghost Lights
11. Calm Before the Storm
12. Song of the Woods

Hatespirit is:

Kalmo | Vocals
Sevoragis | Guitars, Bass
Woewrb | Drums

The Review:

There’s something about Finland that leads to their black metal being particularly harsh and caustic. Even going back to the older bands like Beherit, Barathrum or Impaled Nazarene, Finnish bands are always meaner than most. Hatespirit has set out to carry on that tradition, though they have more in common musically with country mates Vordr than they do the bands I’ve just mentioned. That isn’t to say that this is a band with no history, though it’s not easy to come by. Vocalist Kalmo shares a name with Blood-Baptist, the bassist of Graveborne and drummer Woewrb and guitarist/bassist Sevoragis look to have been in Serpentfyre prior to this album, having just released an album last year through Mordgrimm.

Hatespirit’s black metal is overflowing with rage and spite from start to finish, which makes the album a satisfying listen from the first time through. Where the album gets even better, is on repeat listens, once you’ve acclimated yourself to the abrasive nature of the overall production. It’s much more diverse than your first impressions will likely lead you to believe. If you listen to the different pieces at work in a song like “Wolfish Hunger”, where it begins with a barebones, straightforward, thrashing blackness straight from some undiscovered ‘86 rehearsal tape. At about a minute in, the music takes a bleaker melodic turn. The song isn’t even three minutes long, but it feels like it covers a lot of ground because this band knows the beauty of being concise with its ideas. I suppose when you’re swarming with great ideas, the thought of stretching each one to a minute or more a piece feels like a real misuse of time.

You could easily say that ‘Blood & Poetry’ serves as something of a bridge between the primitive style of mid 80s black metal and the more emotionally complex composition of the subgenre’s second wave. And you’d be right, but the concept behind Hatespirit enhances the music as well. The lyrics deal with pitting their contempt for their fellow man with a deep reverence for nature, which the music fleshes out sonically. While the music is often violent and devastating, like a natural disaster would be, the album’s closing track “Song of the Woods” offers a much more serene experience (as the earth might be, were we wiped from it).

There are moments of absolute brilliance throughout the entirety of ‘Blood & Poetry’, and it’s getting tougher and tougher for bands to impress with their debut as there are thousands of metal albums released each year. Hatespirit stands out from the pack because they’ve got a fully realized vision for what and who they are from the start, and because they’re already developed into considerable songwriters. This year is already a strong one for black metal, but ‘Blood & Poetry’ is good enough to be in the top tier of black metal albums released so far this year.

“Fuck every fucking one of you. I wish I was a fucking tree.” - Paula Malcomson as “Trixie” in ‘Deadwood’.

Blood & Poetry’ will be available here