Black metal, shclmack metal--low-fi production aesthetics and recording quality is pushed to the curb, favoring a meatier, thicker sound usually found in polished productions. Atypical for traditional black metal and characteristic of the symphonic variety, Haemic actually utilize a respectable mixing and mastering on their debut with little to no budget in hand, but the job isn't perfect because the drum machine sounds depressingly inorganic. In spite of that, the overall production puts the band on the world map as a serious force to be reckoned with, and certainly one of the few from Taiwan (Haemic is mainly based in the country) that have the guts to step out of the nation's borders.
Those borders don't go far, however, because once you've heard one song off Fields of Sanguine, you have a decent feel for what the rest of the album will sound like. Although a smattering of influences from various subgenres pop up every once in a while, the bulk of the record rests in symphonic black metal, with many of the tracks driven by keyboards and fluffy orchestral sections. Ray Heberer's guitar playing is among the most focused and precise I've ever heard from a sixteen year old; sweeps, carefully thought out alternate picking, and intricate melodies flow across the duration of the album, but his skillful shredding often clashes with the fakeness of the drum machine. Sadly, there is little one can do to battle the artificial sound, bar getting a real drummer, but if Haemic were to add a skin-basher to the ranks, their music would have the potential to break out of the underground and into the greater metal mainstream. 90% of the right ingredients are found in the band's music for compositionally and instrumentally Haemic s golden, and the vocals add a vicious spice to the fire. They just need that little extra push to realize their full potential.
As a debut record, Fields of Sanguine is very good and definitely radiates from Taiwan's borders. Aside from the much bigger Chthonic, the country has a severe lack of metal bands with international acclaim, but Haemic looks set to challenge the shortcoming by diligently spreading their debut album to blogs, listeners, and websites alike across the web. For now, Haemic's fanbase can be described as cult status, although in the coming years I guesstimate we will see something big.