Written by: EW on 25/08/2009 15:05:19

Oh Drudkh. Wonderful mysterious Drudkh. You try finding me any band, let alone a BM one, to write such sumptuous atmospheric material like Drudkh do and I'll bite your hand off. To then tell me that said band are the one band for whom the phrase "let the music do the talking" was originated, well I'd probably bite your other hand off. "Microcosmos" is Drudkh's seventh LP since forming in just 2002. Yes, seventh. And how can they be so productive you ask? It probably helps that the band do absolutely no band photos, interviews, live shows, videos or even have a working website to their name. Oh, and only mainman Roman Saenko is widely believed to be one of the members; the others frankly noone's really sure about.

So when others and I will tell you that Drudkh are legends of the heathenish/pagan/folk influenced Black Metal genre, it can be about the music and the music only. From 2003's debut "Forgotten Legends", with a release a year (including two in 2006) up til 2007's "Estrangement", Ukraine's Drudkh have continually excelled at crafting dissonant, passionate, evocative heavily-paganised BM with two classics in their midst - "Autumn Aurora" (2004) and "Blood In Our Wells" (2006). Given the frequency of releases there has often been a lack of time to digest an album before the next one is along, but as I've discovered recently, endlessly repeating Drudkh has no side-effects apart from a longing to be physically submerged in the music as opposed to just mentally.

Like Agalloch, Negura Bunget and Wolves In The Throne Room before them, Drudkh's works are more than a bunch of guys making noise together - they are like looking into a unknown, beautiful world such is the influence nature has played on all four of those bands' spirits. "Microcosmos" is a 6-song journey, bookended by two one-minute traditional Ukrainian pieces performed on local stringed instruments by the sounds of it, sandwiching four ten-minute songs in the middle. The basic sound of Drudkh hasn't changed much over the years - a mid-paced speed, one highly dissonant trebly guitar against a cleaner more melodic one, harsh distant vocals and some surprisingly adept drumming for the required style. Added to "Microcosmos" as well is a pleasantly audible bass sound too, an instrument which plays a large part in "Далекий Крик Журавлів (Distant Cries of Cranes)" and "Все, Що Не Сказано Раніше (Everything Unsaid Before)", thus accentuating the increased dynamics present in "Microcosmos" against previous works.

Curious contradictions can be found in many great extreme albums bands and albums, and with Drudkh I feel no different. Despite the caustic dissonance to the rhythm guitar that will sadly turn away many who listen to them, in songs like "Ars Poetica" this 'dark' sound manages to emit a feel of brightness, an airiness felt like sunlight would in a clearing of a dense forest. Perhaps to feel this one has to know Drudkh more indepth than just that of a cursory first listen (I'm much too far down the road for that point). The relative frequency of professionally arranged solos, solos much more than organised chaos at the base of the guitar neck, add further to the feeling and give extra proof of Drudkh's uniqueness in music and spirit.

This over-whelmingly positive review will alas end with the remark that it still isn't the best Drudkh have to offer. At this stage it doesn't quite have the magic of "Autumn Aurora" or "Blood In Our Wells" but this seems to me the only way to describe the difference; for like I have eulogised before about some of the other previously mentioned bands, Drudkh do things so differently as to not be even comparable to most others. This is another great release to the masterful collection of Drudkh records.

Download: Distant Cries of Cranes, Everything Unsaid Before
For The Fans Of: Hate Forest, Negura Bunget, Agalloch, Wolves in the Throne Room, Burzum
Listen: Myspace

Release date 14.07.2009
Season Of Mist Records

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