Fields of Sanguine
Symphonic Black Metal
Taiwanese black metal band Haemic is a rather interesting band, and is one of the displays of how powerful the internet has become as a tool for musicians, with the band comprising members who have never actually met each other and formed over media channels such as YouTube. Each individual member of the band recorded their parts, compiled them together, and the final work is released in the form of Haemic‘s debut full length album, Fields of Sanguine. And with a recording budget of only $20 as claimed by the band, this leaves one wondering how Fields of Sanguine would actually turn out.
But as the album begins though, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. With just $20, one would almost expect extremely low-fi, bedroom quality mixing and mastering of the album but while the production of the album is certainly nothing stellar, what is here is actually pretty acceptable. In particular, the synths and keyboards that are on the album come across as extremely clear and clean, alternating between lead instruments with the melodies and the role of creating a haunting atmosphere, and this is obvious right from the opening keyboards on Eyes of Evil. The synths, as will be noticed, will be one of the main driving forces for the rest of the album, alternating between calm and beautiful moments such as on the intro of Cold Within to the dark and ominous like on Hellgate, where the synths are crucial in building up the climax.
The music of Haemic is fundamentally symphonic/melodic black metal, though as the album progresses, there are numerous different elements from various genres that can be spotted. In particular, guitarist Ray displays his versatility, with melodies that he pulls out from his guitar ranging from pure cold, bleak black metal-influenced to neo-classical shredding style like on the lead guitars on A Machine Self Aware, making listening to Fields of Sanguine full of surprises, and there are even moments where one is reminded of a rawer version of such bands as fellow countrymen Anthelion and their melodic/symphonic material on Bloodshed Rebefallen. The alternating of different vocal styles of Mitchell also suits the moods of the various tracks, and in particular songs like Awaken the Colossus see him using clean and low-pitched vocals that help to reinforce that haunting mood in the music. Exhaust even has some slight industrial influences through the programming of the drums and the effects used on the track, throwing in an unexpected curve ball at the listener.
One minor complaint though is the usage of the programmed drums on the album, which pulled down the overall enjoyment and quality of the album, sounding extremely artificial, especially the insanely quick bass drums and the tone of the snare, though this could have been easily remedied through the usage of an actual drummer. Furthermore, A Machine Self Aware sees guitarist Ray going wild on his instrument and while it proves his prowess, this tended to be overdone slightly at times. And of course, a bigger budget with a better production job would also be of benefit to the album, which honestly contain some rather good ideas.
Fields of Sanguine, though honestly at best of a decent demo quality, has seen Haemic displaying their songwriting abilities through the ability to bring about that feeling of depression and desolation. Certainly a nice album for fans of good, depressive and symphonic black metal, and the included instrumental versions of some of the tracks would be a welcome move for those looking for an instrumental journey instead.
Haemic on the internet: