|Музыка:||Windswept - The Onlooker|
REVIEW: Windswept - The Onlooker (2019, Season of Mist)
Ever since Roman Saenko shifted the focus of his creativity to Drudkh
and laid Hate Forest to rest, I missed the latter a lot. In retrospect,
in mid-2000s Hate Forest managed to accomplish something I haven't seen
for almost a decade by then. That is, they managed to create compelling
and powerful material while operating within a scope of extremely limited
means. Simply put, I haven't heard music encompassing everything black
metal was about with the minimalist palette since Ildjarn. While the two
projects are not particularly similar as far as the actual music is
concerned, the purity and stark beauty of approach and execution certainly
put these two projects in the same category.
Naturally, every time I found out that another project by Saenko is
launched I took a look at it and, in most cases, walked away in
disappointment. There were occasional moments when he hit the mark
(for example, the second album of Blood of Kungu), but in most cases
some of ingredients that made Hate Forest that great was missing.
Enter Windswept, another project launched two years ago presumably
to explore the path of instant enlightenment; the first album "The Great
Cold Steppe" was reportedly recorded over the span of three days.
In the nutshell, Windswept is comprised of the same musicians as Drudkh
sans Thurious, for better or for worse. Whether or not the band meant to
move back to a harsher and more primitive sound is unclear, but the material
does indeed sound like Drudkh covering Hate Forest; the sound bears all
signatures of the former and the songwriting is essentially of the
latter. For those who followed the development of Drudkh over the last
decade that does not seem like a much of the diversification, or might
not even warrant starting a new project. Sure, Drudkh carved themselves
a niche of established sound and aesthetics, which, because of its success,
will inevitably leave an imprint on everything that comes out from the camp.
While this outlook is reasonable, one, as a BM follower, will ultimately
be more interested in nuances. There are some.
Naturally, the album picks up where the previous album left off.
I was not particularly happy with "The Great Cold Steppe" because of its
utter lack of variation almost to the point of sounding as a demo. "The
Onlooker", on the contrary is not only more varied musically but also
arranged as the concise album. The toy jukebox ties both ends nicely
and gets the album closer to telling a story. The lyrics are not provided,
however it seems that conceptually Windswept is further removed from
romantic roots of Drudkh therefore being more abstract in virtues.
Hence, the nod towards Hate Forest is a reasonable move. Some moments do
resemble parts from "Purity", refracted through melodicism of Drudkh.
There are few things that prevent me from being totally happy though.
First, the music here is a bit too melodic for my tastes; or, more
precisely, the noodling is often too much upfront. Second, I miss the
growl of Thurious which, among other things, made Hate Forest special.
As much as I appreciate Roman's canonical snarl, it is simply not powerful
enough to turn it into real killer, although essentially all other
ingredients are present.
In the nutshell, while this album does not do enough to break the mold
of Drudkh aesthetics entirely, it likely points to undercurrents in the
cam that would eventually carry the masterpiece of the old glory days.
You can always form you opinion by listening to it yourself.