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Drudkh - Eternal Turn Of The Wheel CD (album) cover

ETERNAL TURN OF THE WHEEL

Drudkh

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.71 | 9 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer
4 stars A return to form that takes slight influence from, but is a great improvement over Handful of Stars.

Ukrainian band Drudkh have been pumping out some of the best raw Burzum-esque black metal for almost a decade now. Their sound is dreamy and autumnal while remaining predominantly raw and heavy. Their previous album, Handful of Stars, however, being entirely post-rocky shoegaze black metal, was kind of a disappointment for their fans. Upon hearing that album, I became confused and scared for Drudkh's future. It seems now that there was no reason to fear.

Eternal Turn of the Wheel takes its name from a song on their debut album, Forgotten Legends, signifying that this is a return to form album along with the music that this album contains. The angry, melancholic, cold, nature-inspired black metal sound is back in full force, but I'd be lying if I said the post-black metal guitar tones from the previous album are completely gone. Compared to albums like the masterful Autumn Aurora and similarly breathtaking Estrangement, the guitars on this album sound somewhat cleaner (though always filtered through raw black metal distortion), similar to the electric tone during the heavier parts of an Agalloch album. Still black enough to satisfy fans of straight-up black metal, this new tone adds considerably to the dreaminess in Drudkh's sound, though it's very possible that this would also make long-time fans still worry about the band's future output.

In addition to the newer guitar tone, this album showcases very well the steadily improving skills of drummer Vlad; as per the black metal standard, Eternal Turn of the Wheel is full of relentless blastbeating, but Vlad does a great job at sounding varied and very muscular while attacking the kit. Also, as per the usual black metal standard, the vocals are delivered in a blackened, heathenish shout (nothing special). It is the bassist, however, who offers up my favorite moment on this album; he delivers a fantastically groovy bassline at the beginning of "Night Woven of Snow, Winds and Grey-Haired Stars" that sounds more like Chi Cheng from Deftones on the song "MX", and it is placed perfectly in the mix -- above everything else. On the other songs, the bass is audible while it thumps away steadily alongside the guitar melodies, but overall doesn't stick out too much.

The progressiveness of this album lies mainly in the construction of each song rather than in flashy showmanship. The track lengths each run over eight minutes (except the obligatory intro track) and goes through multiple repetitive and heavy atmospheric passages that beat themselves into your mind. For people unfamiliar with black metal and its progressive version, this album may just sound like constant offensive noise, but given close attention, this album can be as atmospheric and beautiful as the post-metal and post-rock genres that so heavily influenced the previous album.

The main problem with Eternal Turn of the Wheel is that it does seem to be slightly less energetic and inspired as Drudkh's classic albums, which kind of seems inevitable given the extent of this band's discography in only nine years. Regardless, this album is a huge improvement over the boring post-black metal shoegaze compositions of Handful of Stars that seemed to lead to nowhere except down a road of disappointment for the fans of the classic Autumn Aurora. With Drudkh's attempt at experimentation shot down entirely by a huge majority of their fans, the band forced themselves to attempt recreating the cold, autumnal atmosphere of past efforts, only to come up sounding a bit short of their goal. Despite the lack of intensity and atmosphere of their back catalogue, this is still a good album put out by one of this decade's most revered black metal darlings.

colorofmoney91 | 4/5 |

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