PICK OF THE WEEK: Drudkh let black metal tales swell, inject space into ‘A Furrow Cut Short’

Drudh coverA commitment to secrecy never has been this rare in this time of social media overload and everyone knowing everyone else’s business. There have been many bands that have tried to operate exclusively in the shadows, but as time has gone on, the pull for more information has increased, and many have cracked under the weight of informational demand.

But not Drudkh. The long-running Ukrainian (seriously, an earlier version said Romanian, a mistake I make every damn time I write about Drudkh… Just move there!) black metal band long has refused to do interviews or release band photos. There are no live shows, no overblown media campaigns, and no Instagram feeds where fans can get glimpses into their daily lives. Instead, the band has concentrated solely on their music, and in just 12 years’ time, they’ve managed to pump out 10 full-length records, their latest being the stunning “A Furrow Cut Shot.” While Drudkh have put out a ton of content during their lifespan, they’ve managed to keep things fresh, infusing folk passages where they fit, dabbling in moody post-metal for an album, and thundering back to their roots. But this record, a seven-track, nearly hour-long opus, is the longest of their careers, and it also happens to be the most spacious. It might take some time for these tracks to set in and for you to get a proper grasp of the record, but patience will reward you many times over as it’s a really strong collection.

While their faces remain shielded, we are aware of Drudkh’s members’ identities. Guitarist Roman Saenko (Hate Forest, Blood of Kingu, Old Silver Key) has been there at the front of the band from the start, as has guitarist/vocalist Thurios (who also counts those bands on his resume, as well as Astrofaes). A few years after formation following lineup shuffles, they were joined by bassist Krechet and drummer/keyboard player Vlad, and they’ve been a well-oiled, fiery machine ever since then. On this record, they trade out overall brutality for tracks that get time to breathe and develop, often sprawling near the 10-minute mark, creating moods and adventures that will sweep you up and drag you away.

The record opens with the dual “Cursed Sons” tracks, combined taking up about 16 minutes and really getting your head in the right place for the journey. The first part tears open pretty much out of the gates, with strong melodies dominating and a sense of adventure thickening the air. The vocals take on a storytelling angle, evenly bringing you through the cut and staying a steady hand. The leads soar, the band chugs hard, and the momentum carries into the second part, with dark melodies and charging vocals. Atmosphere blends in nicely, as the pace picks up and increases the intensity. There are a few mood and dynamics shifts as the song progresses, and just as there is one final push, form there everything subsides. Then it’s onto nine-minute “To the Epochs of Unbowed Poets,” which begins with an emotional caterwaul that strikes right away, airy passages that provide depth, and throaty cries that pierce that dark fog building on the horizon. The tracks keeps building and spilling over, settling into crunchy areas, bursting open with bright colors, and finally cutting back as the song reaches its ending, where it finally fades away. “Embers” is a gusty, nature-heavy instrumental, with synth providing dark moods, the band hammering you, and each moment providing a bridge into what remains.

That starts with the dual “Dishonour” tracks, the dose beginning with pure savagery, vocals that match the fury, and the tempo raging hard like an unforgiving storm. Their ferocity keeps boiling, keeps striking, with the pummeling remaining a constant throughout the track and blasting into the second part. There, the tone gets doomy and murky, adding a new element of morbidity into the picture, and later, some sorrowful playing catches up and makes things heavy physically and emotionally. Its shell begin to thicken later in the song, with the madness catching fire and the band laying it on heavily as the track reaches its conclusion. Finale “Till Foreign Ground Shall Cover Eyes” blazes for 8:25 and rips open, with guitars sweltering, the vocals rumbling, and the band eventually taking things to the skies, where you can catch your breath. For the most part, the band maintains the same level of strength through the song, taking you on peaks and valleys, yes, but always firing away hard. It’s a strong, interesting cut to end this record, and when the band finally lets go, you can imagine these tales floating into the waters to become another level of Earthly lore.

Drudkh not only have done a remarkable job protecting their privacy and avoiding the overhype that often follows metal hand in hand, they also have continued to make strong, vital metal over the past 12 years. “A Furrow Cut Short” throws their listeners yet another curveball with these epic-length songs, and it keeps the band interested and interesting. Drudkh always have followed their own inhibitions and seem to pay no mind to metallic trends. That’s long benefited them as creators as well as we who consume their every note.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Drudkh.Official

To buy the album, go here: http://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.season-of-mist.com/

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