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Drudkh - Microcosmos CD (album) cover

MICROCOSMOS

Drudkh

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.09 | 10 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Splitting the Fanbase

Drudkh is a band that has received quite a lot of praise by black metal fans since their conception in 2002, with their albums Forgotten Legends, Autumn Aurora, and Blood in Our Wells often regarded as seminal folk/black metal albums. All of their other albums have been said to be fantastic as well, so the band has quite the positive reputation in black metal! For many people, Microcosmos doesn't entirely live up to their "Drudkh standards", but I personally find it to be another great album in their discography. Even though I am admittedly not the biggest black metal fan, and there are a few things here that bother me, I am generally pleased with Drudkh's seventh effort.

If you're familiar with Drudkh, this is unmistakably their sound. The band is firmly rooted in black metal, but they are much softer than most bands in the genre. Don't expect a whole lot of typical black metal brutality here; this band is much more focused on chilling, brooding, and sometimes beautiful songwriting. When it comes to black metal (a genre I don't usually care for very much), this is the type of music I really enjoy. Drudkh plays an atmospheric folk/black metal combination, something that works really well. Most of the songs here are pretty long, filled with many instrumental passages, time signature changes, and even atmospheric keyboard sections. This gives most of Microcosmos a rather progressive feeling, even though prog isn't the first word I'd use to describe the album. This is black metal in its most "musical" form, so if you're a critic of the genre for being to noisy and dissonant, this is worth a listen.

One of the reasons why many people don't love Microcosmos is because of the comparisons to Drudkh's previous efforts, but as a more casual listener I can enjoy this album all the same. This may not be quite as great as their earlier albums, but Drudkh is a high quality band, so that isn't saying very much. I just want to clarify that I don't believe for even a second that this is the "thud" in Drudkh's discography.

The musicians of Drudkh are very secretive (there are no pictures of them circulating the internet and they don't play live shows), and they have limited lineup information as well. Finding a concrete lineup for all of their albums is pretty difficult and questionable, but I believe this album was made by Thurios (vocals, keyboards), Roman Saenko (guitar, bass), Krechet (bass, keyboards), Vlad (drums, keyboards). Of course, this could be incorrect, but for the sake of this review, I will reference these musicians.

Microcosmos is a 6-track, 41:50 album. The opening track Days That Passed and the closing track Widow's Grief are short one minute intros and outros, so that really only leaves 4 "songs". All of these songs are pretty long, each going beyond the 9 ½ minute mark. This further proves Drudkh's relevance as a progressive band, even though they aren't references in the prog metal genre. All of the songs here are fantastic, even though there are a few dull portions every now and again. Fortunately, they are few and far between, and don't create a big problem in the overall listening experience. All of the longer songs are extremely epic, and an absolute joy for me to listen to.

Drudkh is a very talented band compositionally, but they aren't exactly the tightest playing unit around. Most black metal bands aren't very tight, and that's something I've always disliked about the genre. I simply wish this was perfected in the studio with overdubs. Parts of this album almost sound like they were recorded in a live setting. This may be partially due to the somewhat weak production, however. All of the musicians are very capable, though, and I have to give them credit for that. Even though the delivery isn't always completely there, the talent definitely is.

As mentioned, the production is somewhat weak in my opinion. Black metal is notorious for having lo-fi productions, and although Microcosmos doesn't sound like it was recorded on an 8-track in some guy's basement, I can't say I'm a fan of the sound either. I just wish this were recorded with better sound, because I definitely would've enjoyed the album much more. It's an acquired taste, though, and I'm sure black metal fans will be in heaven with this one. I do enjoy how the lo-fi sound adds to the chilling atmosphere, but atmospheric productions don't nessacerily have to lo-fi to get the job done. If you want to hear a chilling black metal production that's still high quality, check out Negura Bunget's Om. That album has a killer sound that all black metal bands should take a hint from.

Conclusion:

Microcosmos is a really good album by Drudkh, and is definitely worth a purchase for anyone interested in the band. Even though I don't think it's their best work, it's still a great black/folk metal album that all fans of the genre should check out. My rating will be a 3.5 for this solid and enjoyable album. Had the production been better and the musicians been tighter, I would've definitely gone higher.

J-Man | 3/5 |

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