Label: Seasons of Mist
Into the vast east with Drudkh
I have little understanding for the way many Ukrainian bands seem to be disregarded. Drudkh is amongst those that are often shunned, due to alleged politics. It is true that Roman Saenko, the brain behind the band, was once a part of Hate Forest. A band now considered problematic in certain circles. But perhaps, metal should not care about that kind of circles anyways? I don’t have the answer to that, but I can tell you that this record is great.
Drudkh may be one of the best atmospheric black metal bands in the world and would be lauded for that if not for these politics. That means they technically are according to me. This is the eleventh album by the band from Ukraine in their existence and production remains high and qualitative as ever on this fine record. Notable is the cover, that shows an urban environment and not the traditional type of art the band uses. It perhaps embodies a slight shift in its course, but it’s definitely not to the detriment of the music.
The opening riff grabs the listener instantly. The dark melancholy, weary expression and torment in the vocals all pull at the heartstrings instantly. It hits where it hurts, right in the heart. ‘Накрита неба бурим дахом…’ clocks about 10 minutes of music that defies words. Ever stood in the cold wind, at precisely the moment when the cold breaks through your warm coat? That shiver is where the piercing voice, the swooping guitars and rattling drums come from.
The sharp guitars lace the songs, particularly on a track like ‘Vechirniy Smerk Okutuye Kimnaty…’, where meandering melodies take the listener along on the path Drudkh walks. Most remarkable to me is always how the flow really keeps you into it. Listening to the band is like taking one of those theme park rides, where you are constantly filled with wonder and awe as your ride takes you from section to section. When the vocals come in, the flow opens and gives space for the words to be uttered clearly (though in guttural vocals obviously), before closing once again. The final track resounds strongly. ‘Bilyavyi Den’ Vtomyvsya I prytykh…’ feels like a continuous progression to the summit, the peak of the album.