Drudkh is a band that managed to become a “cult” name in pagan black metal scene, despite the fact they were formed only in 2002 and that they never play live! From 2003 to 2007 the Ukrainian band released 6 full-length albums and an EP, all under the label Supernal Music. Their popularity and praising reviews, especially in the underground circles, made them a respectful name, so they signed a contract with Season of Mist! “Microcosmos” is the first album with their new label and their seventh full-length in seven years of existence!
Many might suspect that jumping in such a big label would have an impact on Drudkh sound, leading them to more mainstream paths. Well, I can’t say that they have the same underground atmosphere they had in the beginning, but I believe it has nothing to do with their label. I see a continuous change (progress) in their sound, something that was evident in their previous albums too, especially in “Estrangement”. So actually “Microcosmos” is the natural evolution of their music. They have a more mainstream sound for sure, with a better production and an even more technical approach. Of course don’t expect that you will listen to something totally different. It’ still Drudkh, with their cold pagan black metal, that now has a more progressive and post-rock mood. Some folk elements and instruments are now totally reduced in the intro and outro, but keyboards have returned and acoustic guitars still offer unique tranquil breaks in their songs…
There are 6 songs in this album that lasts for almost 40 minutes. Except the 1-minute intro and outro, the other 4 compositions are all almost 10 minutes each and they move in mid-tempo rhythm. Their sound is dominated by sorrowful melancholic riffs that drag the listener in deep depression. An epic pagan atmosphere is evident especially in the instrumental parts (there are many of them in the songs) of this great album. Their lyrics are still in their native language and judging from the song titles they must be about nature inspired themes, local dark poetry, etc, like in their previous works. Even if it’s not very usual in this genre, Drudkh have some excellent guitar solos in their songs that I have to admit they match perfectly with the rest of the album.
Overall “Microcosmos” is a great album and it couldn’t be different: Drudkh have kept the quality of their music at their high standards and they have worked a lot so that the new elements are totally “absorbed” in their sound! They kept the core and substance of their music and they tried to see it through a new more technical and progressive prism that totally worked for me. I don’t say it’s better than their first masterpieces, but on the other hand I prefer that it’s different. They have already released so many albums that they could easily fall in the trap of repetition. They are not afraid to experiment and to leave the “safe path” of recording a new album based on the recipe of their previous success.
The album is released both in an unlimited digipak version, as well as in a limited to 500 pieces wooden box version. The artwork of this album is as usual a landscape, but for the first time they left their usual orange/yellow/red colors and moved on this blue color that fits perfectly their new sound. The album is released by Season of Mist that will also re-release all their previous albums (some of them are already available). The band had never an official site, no interviews and no photos, never. The change of label won’t affect this. But Season of Mist has now a myspace page dedicated to them, so you can get a taste of this great band.
Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos