Hetman - Sewn From The Ashes Book review

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Band: Hetman
Album: Sewn From The Ashes Book
Release date: December 2017

01. The Gateway
02. The Seventh Heaven
03. How Quite On Earth!... How Quite!...
04. The Pile Of Soil
05. Remember Who We Are
06. Touch The Stones In The Steppe
07. The Proud Word
08. To The Heart Of Everyone

Each track on Hetman's Зшита з попелу книга, or Sewn From The Ashes Book, if you prefer, is like an epic folk odyssey in miniature; every composition exists outside the constraints of its length (though the duration is not inconsiderable), beginning and ending in much different places, striving ceaselessly for a powerful and time-worn sound.

Hetman arises from the orchestration of Oleksii Bondarenko, alias Cerberos, with contributions to drums from Sergiy Omalchuk, alias Storm; despite being almost entirely the product of one man's inspiration, Hetman maintains an organic, natural feel, never stepping out of sync or falling victim to the stilted, canned sound that sometimes traps one-man projects. Even amidst all the layers of guitars, vocals, synths, and other assorted instrumentation, Hetman stays tight, coherent, fluid, and surprisingly warm. Each song is a distinct entity, but each contains the same spirit and sonic detail as the rest.

Cerberos divides his time among different vocal styles, sometimes making a respectable effort at clean singing and other times going straight for the throat with abrasive growls, but his voice connects with me the most when it walks the line in between: when Cerberos stops on the threshold, calling out in a ragged, not quite toneless roar, he takes on an Alan Averill-like quality that well befits this manner of grandiose folk/black metal. I'm a big fan of that authoritative half-growl used in tracks like "The Gateway," because it has a certain violent poetry that draws a lot of feeling out of folk music, but the formless, reverberating chants and impassioned choruses of "How Quite On Earth! How Quite…" take Hetman a step beyond comparison to other groups and into a realm of personally ascribable style.

That style consists of both black and folk metal elements, as previously stated, but that can mean a lot of things; Hetman sticks close to constantly building drama, crafting vaunted epics out of harrowing vocals, colorful guitar lines, and layered backdrops of synths, violins, and the errant flute. Occasional disbursements of blastbeats and tremolo picking throw the album into necessary chaos, but Sewn From The Ashes Book tends to favor the Hammerheart-style power, melody, and symphony over speed, fury, and aggression. The songwriting is so remarkable in its variety and depth that Sewn From The Ashes Book appeals to the part of me that loves power metal as much as the parts of me that love folk and black metal. That said, even with the unusually thick guitar tone, Hetman still fosters a respectably raw, rough-hewn mien, as the furious march of "The Proud Word" and the whirlwind "The Pile Of Soil" demonstrate.

The aforementioned "The Gateway" and "How Quite On Earth! How Quite…" stand out as the highlights alongside "Touch The Stones In The Steppe," but Sewn From The Ashes Book is the type of album that has to be experienced as a cohesive unit. The intense mood holds the entire work all the way through and there isn't a dull moment to be found, so while it will take you an hour, Sewn From The Ashes Book is well worth a dedicated listen.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 7


Written on 09.12.2017 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.

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