Album: They Often See Dreams About The Spring
Label: Season Of Mist
Genre: Black Metal
Release Date: March 9, 2018
If there’s any band that comes to mind when I think of the eastern European metal scene, its Drudkh. They’ve been legends of black metal for years, their unique sound is synonymous with the bleak, lugubrious tone that permeates the music of their contemporaries; MGLA, Batushka, Kres, and Stworz are just a few of that can be noted. They’ve masterfully combined the brutal classic black metal styles of their northern neighbours with elements of prog, and atmospheric stylings into something that’s touched the hearts of thousands of fans, and through their patriotic lyrics have given metal heads in the Ukraine something to truly be proud of. It’s no surprise that after 16 years, and 10 full length releases, that this latest album ‘They Often See Dreams About The Spring’ is yet further proof that the black metal titans don’t plan to relent.
Jumping into the review, the first thing I have to say is that this album is a veritable wall of sound. On the exterior it is simple, harshly textured, and hard as hell, but as you listen further you get a sense of the depth, intricacy, and subtlety that permeates into the many layers that makes this record. If I had to compare this album to their previous works, it’s very much a continuation of the sound they had on their 2015 release, ‘A Furrow Cut Short’, but with an injection of atmospheric stylings reminiscent of ‘Autumn Aurora’.
The lyrics draw heavily from 20th century Ukrainian poetry, as Drudkh have done in past releases. The poetry inspired lyrics lock in with the atmospheric music, and even though you can’t understand them, they still add a sense of despair and haunting power that drives the music home. There are few voices in black metal with the drive, aggression and sheer agonizing tone that Thurios has, the instrumentals seem to give way to his voice when he enters and it launches us to a journey into the abyss.
Moving onto the rhythm section, it’s a straight up assault on the senses, but what makes this album so good is that it retains a sense of beauty, and melody throughout this aural bombardment. What bothers me about most atmospheric black metal is that the guitars can be very static, Drudkh has managed to avoid this flaw by filling the songs with layer, after layer of guitars, the riffs and melodies are so simple, but when you layer everything, it keeps things interesting, and makes the music feel so much more dense, and at some points almost makes the guitars sound like a hellish pad. The guitars are also complimented by an occasional synth, layered very subtly, that pokes itself through at opportune moments, and tastefully adds yet level to the music. The instrumentation on this album is based much more around atmospheric playing, and in between vocals you’re not so much listening to a single melody or riff, but a cinematic soundscape, both hauntingly dark and beautiful, that completely engulfs the listener.
Beyond the guitars, the drums are fast paced, with almost no stops throughout. Drudkh seem to have embraced the stylings of their nordic neighbours, this album is raw, and fast, there’s really very few moments for the listener to breathe, in between being crushed by the wall of sound the guitars and drums create.
As I said before, Drudkh have shown that they don’t plan to relent any time soon. As far as music in 2018 goes, this album is easily a contender for my album of the year, which is saying a lot considering I was absolutely obsessed with Harakiri for Sky’s new album ‘Arson’. Listening to this album was the sonic equivalent to watching a movie, it created a vivid atmosphere, and had a depth that so few other bands have ever created in their music. The only complaint I can really make about this album is if I want to single out a track I’m gonna have a hell of a time writing out the name. I have to applaud Drudkh, very few bands can remain consistent in releasing quality music as they do over such a long period, this album really will take its place in their discography as one of my personal favourites.
1. Nakryta Neba Burym Dakhom
2. U Dakhiv Irzhavim Kolossyu
3. Vechirniy Smerk Okutuye Kimnaty.
4. Za Zoreyu Scho Striloyu Syaye
5. Bilyavyi Den’ Vtomyvsya I prytykh
Total Playing Time: 43:29