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Korean Rock Recall: Relive The All-Out Assault Of Infinite Hatred's 2004 Track 'Forest Of Black Shadows' [AUDIO]

By Jeff Tobias | May 15, 2015 11:58 AM EDT


A great deal of human life is dedicated to the search for meaning.

Art is one of the most elegant vessels through which this search can be accomplished. However, that doesn't mean that all art is occupied with this search. Some artists just want to have fun and leave it to the philosophers to do the heavy mental lifting.

Yet, there's a third camp as well--the kinds of artists who actively investigate the void, the meaninglessness that may lurk beneath the surface.

On their charming 2004 track "Forest of Black Shadows," Korean black metal band Infinite Hatred explore nihilism with every musical resource they have. It's a thorough musical rendering of the darkest side of existence.

Incidentally, it also kind of rules.

Infinite Hatred wasn't really a band. Like many black metal projects, Infinite Hatred was a one-man operation, existing in an isolation that sounds like it could very well be fueled by a strong dose of misanthropy.

Over the course of three releases in as many years, an individual in Seoul known only as Helnakstav wrote and recorded every instrument within Infinite Hatred's discography. "Forest of Black Shadows" comes from Infinite Hatred second release, 2004's "Verhasstes Schweigen," German for "hateful silence."

"Forest of Black Shadows" barely changes at all over the course of its five-and-a-half-minute long duration. The most variation is derived from the drumming, which starts and stops without very much regard for conventional song structure.

The chord progression remains almost entirely totally static as the song plows from its demonic beginning to its dire conclusion. "Static" is a doubly relevant word to employ in describing Infinite Hatred's guitar sound, which is drenched in the kind unnuanced midrange that gives it a sandpapery harshness.

By giving the listener the impression of that he isn't as interested in songwriting as much as steamrolling, Helnakstav renders his contempt for the listener vivid and clear. If the song contained conventional structural elements such as choruses or (dare I say it) a bridge, it would break the spell. The vibe of the full-on offensive is the order of the day, and that vibe is quite thick on "Forest of Black Shadow."

However, while this pummeling effect is certainly negative, it's also entrancing. Perhaps an unintended side effect of the song's unrelenting nature is the drone it creates, a compelling aspect however it was meant to be received.

Then, there are the vocals.

I would say the first thing that comes to mind when listening to Helnakstav's "singing" on "Forest of Black Shadows" would be bats. Not a bat, bats, plural.

What could have been the most human aspect to this music, the element that is unavoidably human, is the most primal and unnatural sound on the recording. The lyrics are entirely unintelligible, creating yet another barrier between the artist and the audience.

This, of course, is by design. Infinite Hatred is a musical vehicle meant to express alienation. With that goal in mind, "Forest of Black Shadows" is a success.

Where did Helnakstav go musically after "breaking up" Infinite Hatred?

The last we heard from this Korean auteur, he had formed another solo project with the somehow more oblique name of Qrujhuk. He recorded one more album of raw black metal, and then, presumably, returned to the void from which he came.

Listen to Infinite Hatred's 2004 song "Forest Of Black Shadows" RIGHT HERE


Jeff Tobias is a composer, writer and musician currently living in Brooklyn, New York. As of late, he has been researching arcane tuning systems and refining his tofu stir-fry recipe.

Tagged :  Infinite Hatred, Verhasstes Schweigen, Forest Of Black Shadows, Helnakstav, black metal, Korean Rock Recall


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