Drudkh – All Belong to the Night
Season of Mist
Release Date: 11/11/2022
Running Time: 46:00
Review by Rory Bentley
Ukrainian Atmospheric Black Metal outfit Drudkh have established a career founded on being both prolific and incredibly consistent in quality. Incorporating a strong cultural identity rich in Slavic history in their work, each release feels like a true labour of painstaking love and attention to detail. On their eleventh (yes eleventh!) studio album “All Belongs To The Night”, the band’s national pride feels particularly befitting considering the unimaginable hardships their home country is currently going through. Despite doing their best to put me off in a staggeringly pretentious set of press notes which begins with a bizarre attack on ‘Stranger Things’ and ends with the writer granting permission to enjoy the album. Like I fucking need it; this record is a triumph!
The moment the urgent tremolo picking and blast beats of ‘The Nocturnal One’ come racing in it is clear the band are not afraid of going for a more direct approach rather than the ponderous build-up this genre is so often guilty of. Elegant and savage in equal measure, this conjures the sensation of being pulled into a shadowy realm between dream and reality. Somehow it feels sinister yet oddly tranquil, particularly around the four-minute mark where everything simmers down to a backdrop of lush chords, intricate bass work and sparse drums. It is a hypnotic other worldly experience that only serves to heighten the impact of the song’s crescendo where layer upon layer of guitars and keys provide an overwhelmingly emotional build that leaves you drained and cleansed before even getting to the second track.
Luckily, ‘Windmills’ provides the perfect tonic for the visceral anguish of its predecessor. The Pagan chanting and guttural throat-singing of the intro feels like taking part in some shamanic ritual in a forest clearing, warmed by a roaring fire as the icy winds whistle through the surrounding trees. Where the previous track began as an inferno before flickering down to embers and exploding once more, this one is more of a slow, linear build. When the widescreen Black Metal majesty does finally kick in, it feels like the smoothest of transitions, emerging from such a humble beginning like an act of sleight of hand. The drums are particularly impactful here, feeling like they’ve been let off the leash after being forced into patient restraint for such a long time as they erupt into expressive flurries and fills under the swelling, almost orchestral waves of distorted grandeur.
The highest compliment that I can personally pay the album is that when I’m listening to it, even at its most dense and sprawling moments, my attention never wanders. My threshold for meandering Black Metal is notoriously low and there’s plenty of releases that the aficionados at Ever Metal have bigged up that have lost me after two gruellingly long tracks, usually through the monotony of the composition. After wincing at the fifteen-and-a-half-minute runtime of closing track, ‘Till We Become The Haze’, I found it was over before I knew it. The band possesses the remarkable skill that so many Atmospheric / Post-Metal outfits attempt but so few pull off – the ability to truly absorb the listener and put them firmly in the moment. Hypnotic would be one way to describe Drudkh’s music, but it doesn’t do justice to the visceral thrill one feels when caught up in the icy blast of the band at their most feral. This record feels dangerous, wounded and bleak yet somehow incredibly listenable and accessible considering the band’s uncompromising approach.
As the winter months set in there will be few albums that can provide such a gloriously melancholic and cathartic experience to fit the days getting darker and the nights growing longer. As defiant and fearless as their home nation, Drudkh are the perfect soundtrack and tonic to these troubled times.
‘November’ Offical Video
01. The Nocturnal One/Нічний
04. Til We Become the Haze/Поки Зникнем у Млі
Roman Saenko – Pretty much everything
Some Other Lads Who Weren’t Named In The Press Notes – Everything Else
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