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Two tracks. Over half an hour. Nothing happens. At all. Holy fucking goddamn shit, this is terrible. Whatever possessed Hate Forest to release something this terrible to the masses is beyond me. What a cruel world this is. I haven't heard anything this bad since "Temple Forest," the worst ambient music ever created, also by Hate Forest.
Believe me, I am all about experimental music, I can't get enough, really. This is a prime example of what happens when experiments go awry. Is Hate Forest taking heroin? Up until now, only the power of the mighty H has been known to produce such terrible experimental music.
All kidding aside, I honestly find it hard to believe that anyone could enjoy this.
The first track consists of just under twenty minutes of fire and wind sound effects. I'll repeat myself: TWENTY FUCKING MINUTES OF FIRE AND WIND SOUND EFFECTS. If I wanted to hear the sound of a fire crackling, I'd go start a fire in my backyard. In fact, to anyone considering purchasing or downloading this, just go sit around a fire somewhere. You can drink beer, your friends (assuming you have them) will probably want to come, and being outside is what you're all about, right? Black metal? Forests? The night sky? Yeah, you're all about it.
The second track starts out considerably better. It contains a pretty alright riff, played probably, literally, about a hundred and fifty times. The drums change a little here and there, and the keyboard eventually comes in... this moment is responsible for bringing this record from three or four percent to twenty. Just when things are starting to look promising, they que the heartbeat. The music fades down, and a heartbeat sound effect plays for the remaing five minutes. Wow, what an interesting idea, ending a record with a heart beating. I've only heard that about a dozen times, including when the fucking Deftones did it. Once you've started sharing played out ideas with the Deftones, it's time to start re-examining your life. Also, it's just a really uninspired way to end a supposedly challenging release.
All in all, I feel cheated out of half an hour that could have easily been better spent by, say, eating my own pubic hair. It's a good thing Hate Forest put out a bunch of amazing shit, otherwise I would probably actually hold a grudge against them. I'm all for new ideas and challenging people's concept of what is music, but this is unlistenable and unforgivable. Go get anything else by Hate Forest. If you want to hear them play weird shit that is not black metal, get Ritual.
Never listen to this record, and your life will be richer for it.
This is much different than most other Hate Forest releases. Instead of a blistering, hateful, black metal assault, you get over thirty minutes of pure atmosphere. I think that stuff like this is interesting to listen to once in a while, but it won't find its way into the rotation often.
The first track, "Where the Flame is Eternal" lives up to its name. After the sound of a rickety wooden gate swinging open, harsh winds whip and a roaring fire crackles for nearly twenty minutes. The "song" exudes an aura of complete desolation. The second track, "In Cold Empty Darkness" has about eight minutes of repetitive riffing with keyboards occasionally fading in and out. When the guitars fade away, the sound of a beating heart will fill your ears for about five minutes. As you can see from this, this is not a tape for people who are easily bored.
I'd say that "The Gates" is a great release for people who want to imagine they're off in the nothernmost wilderness alone. It can almost only be listened to by yourself in complete darkness and silence. So basically, if you're the type of person who wants straightforward black metal destruction with limited filler, steer clear of this one.
I give this a 90 rating because it is excellent for what it is meant to be: a completely melancholy tape, full of brooding darkness, hatred, and feelings of utter despair.