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Drudkh - Кров у наших криницях (Blood in Our Wells) CD (album) cover

Кров у наших криницях (BLOOD IN OUR WELLS)


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3 stars The fifth album by these masters of epic black metal.

Hidden behind one of the better cover art-work I have ever seen on a black metal album, this band from Ukraine still walks down the path laid down on the previous albums. That means a healthy dosage of the Bathory and the Enslaved sound (both mid 1990s and their more recent sound). But Drudkh blends in their own identity and the music from their country into this mix. Add some Richard Wagner Sr too and you get this album.

To brand the music heavy is an understatement. The songs are epic and draped in heavy guitars. A mix of tremelo picking and just heavy guitars is what makes this sound. Then you have the black metal vocals on the top too and you get a wall of sound.

Quality wise, the music is good throughout. It is a bit too one dimensional for my liking though so I am not that overawed by this album. But it is still a good black metal album and that's it, really.

3 stars

Report this review (#326553)
Posted Friday, November 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars We arrive at the album that consider Drudkh's masterpiece, "Blood In Our Wells". I have to disagree; it isn't as good as "Autumn Aurora", but it gets pretty close. In fact, this is in my opinion the second best Drudkh album, better than the debut "Forgotten Legends" or the difficult "The Swan Road".

While with their previous album it seemed like they lost much of their progressive style, "Blood In Our Wells" is the most progressive work they have done so far: many keyboards, slow and dreamy instants, many time changes. The songs are almost all long, clocking around ten minutes, all of them with very complex, multi part structures. Indeed, this is a progressive album. Once again the lyrics are full of accentuated patriotism and love for Ukraine. The title itself "Blood In Our Wells" comes from an old, Hungarian poem of the same title.

Dark, intriguing like no other Drudkh album, the band here brings to the songs a little more simplicity in the melodies, making it at times a little predictable, but at the same much more accessible to the public. This is probably why many worship this album. This does not mean that the songs aren't able to give those emotions that every Drudkh fan has knowledge of; The different parts of the songs, other than connecting brilliantly, have all an obscure and cryptic feeling that no other album of the band was able to conceive, probably also thanks to the cleaner sound of the guitars, that make it even more effective. The calm parts though aren't always as good as you would think they would be, in fact these are the parts where the music gets pretty often predictable.

Generally speaking, the atmosphere is muh more alarmed and energetic than the previous Drudkh albums; I think it's because the band in this album, thematically speaking, got a lot more close to the human element, abandoning the evocative, wild nature auras. Just look at the cover of the album; for the first time we see the presence of man, in an extremely grim circumstance. Maybe with "Blood In Our Wells" the band got more sensitive with the generic problems, fears, and hopes of man, even though inserted in a very dark context.

"Furrows Of Gods" has the darkest and most mysterious melody, "When The Flames Turn Into Ashes" the most complex. These two, with the intro, are my favorite pieces. "Solitude" get's boring and it's a little too long, "Eternity" is a little unusual, but it definitely works more than "Solitude". "Ukrainian Insurgent Army" never really worked for me, except for some parts.

"Blood In Our Wells", despite all the things I said against it, is an album I really, really like, and it an excellent addiction to whoever loves this kind of music, or whoever hates humanity.

Report this review (#408864)
Posted Sunday, February 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Blood in Our Wells' - Drudkh (86/100)

Drudkh are a band of mixed messages. In the light of certain 'accusations', they've outwardly declared themselves to be apolitical in nature, that their music is primarily intended as a reverence of nature. That may have been true for Forgotten Legends and Autumn Aurora, but by the time of Blood in Our Wells, it's clear that that statement was forged to some degree of bull[&*!#]. The album's cover (drawn from the work of 19th century painter Vasily Perov) Romanticizes an extremely traditional way of life. The lyrics are taken from the work of Ukrainian poets. Even titling a song "Ukrainian Insurgent Army" doesn't give a lot of space to argue that Drudkh have their hearts purely set on admiring trees.

Most telling of all, however, is Drudkh's dedication of this album to the memory of Stepan Bandera, the Ukrainian nationalist fixed on claiming the Ukraine's independence throughout the Second World War. I've no doubt Drudkh have shirked away from directly discussing their politik either as a way to keep their label happy, or as a way to prevent needless hassle. And why would they want to entreat that nuisance anyway? Any talk of nationalism sparks the ire of a braindead Left, with misguided hearts set on quelling all regional, ethnic or otherwise exclusivist pride in the name of justice and tolerance. Any fan of Blood in Our Wells who somehow holds Drudkh's nationalism begrudgingly against them is probably missing the point. They're certainly capable of creating masterpieces purely inspired by nature-- Autumn Aurora is living proof of that fact. But there's something else working on Blood in Our Wells, a tragic quality you could never feel from nature-worship alone. Much as the case was for Varg Vikernes' work in Burzum, the fact that Drudkh are so passionate about their ideology is a good part of the reason why the atmosphere on Blood in Our Wells is so rich and penetrating. They're extremely proud, sad, and angry on this album, and every minute of music here serves as testament to that fact.

When all is said, I think I'll always prefer the pristine atavism of Autumn Aurora over all else in Drudkh's discography. Blood in OUr Wells is up there however, and I don't think I'd have liked it half as much if it had continued trying to repeat the band's early glory. The unveiling of their Ukrainian pride was hinted at on The Swan Road, but it wasn't manifested full-force until this album. Here, native Ukrainian folk instrumentation is largely used between the cracks of the album's long (10~ minute) compositions. While black metal by itself isn't usually tied to a specific region, folk music often is, and the inclusion gives their black metal mainstay a greater weight as a result. With Autumn Aurora, Drudkh created a pastoral atmosphere that could be related to by anyone who felt at one with nature by themselves at some point in their life. Blood in Our Wells is far more specific to their personal identity and circumstance, and that gives it an even deeper emotional resonance.

Most all of Drudkh's ideas are good or great. That could be said in relation to any of their works. Where the superb is distinguished from the fair and middling is the way they structure those ideas. Like many in atmospheric black metal, Drudkh love to use repetition in their compositions. On Autumn Aurora, they struck a minimalist's perfection, giving each idea the time it needed to thrive. When one of their albums, like Forgotten Legends is less impressive, it's usually because they've stretched an idea out too long. Well, I can say with certainty that Blood in Our Wells has many of Drudkh's finest ingredients, with some of them (such as the gorgeous closing minutes of "When the Flame Turns to Ashes") even surpassing anything on Autumn Aurora.

Some songs, like "Furrows of Gods", are immaculately penned and structured. Despite the brilliant earthly atmosphere throughout the album, I do think some of the motifs towards the latter half of the album overstay their welcome, if only a bit. Blood in Our Wells is fifty minutes long, and it does sound like it might have fared better with a few minutes shaved off that tally. Because the album generally lurks around a driving mid-pace, I usually find myself wanting a change of speed around "Solitude" or "Eternity". I've recently come to love Blood in Our Wells , and know now that I didn't give it near as much credit as I should have when I first heard it years ago, but I'm left with the consistent impression that either or both of those tracks could have used a little trimming around the edges.

Drudkh may withhold themselves from making any explicit statements, but there's a very specific kind of melancholy at work here. The folk accompaniment and pastoral imagery carries an anger that could only be fuelled by some external anger. Even if I don't see Blood in Our Wells as the band's best, I have no problem with the fact that it's seen as the band's canonical masterpiece. What they began to work with on The Swan Road, they almost perfected with this one. Some of the melodies on this album will haunt me forever.

Report this review (#755378)
Posted Sunday, May 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars If Autumn Aurora was where Drudkh developed their signature sound, Blood in Our Wells is the point at which they progged the hell out. Of the five actual songs on this album, four top the nine-minute mark with ease. All of them are comprised of multiple interlocking sections and most of them feature lengthy instrumental passages with extensive guitar solos (a relative rarity in black metal, although Drudkh had used them on their earlier albums as well). The album has a more expansive, "cinematic" scope than anything they'd recorded before, and the arrangements and songwriting rise to the challenge such material demands. Some of the traditional hallmarks of black metal are toned down on this release, as well; you won't hear any blast beats here, and the use of tremolo picking is less than one might expect. (The vocals are still the expected roar, however, but rest assured, they're quite effective).

It's difficult to single out highlights with a work like this; the entire thing flows so well that it demands to be listened to in one sitting. "When the Flame Turns to Ashes" and "Eternity" may be my personal favourites, but all the material is strong.

One caveat must be mentioned with the album: the production. For unknown reasons, frequencies above 16 kHz are cut off from all CD issues of the album. (The most likely explanation is that the band lost the .wav versions of their recordings and didn't want to re-record them, but as Drudkh never give interviews and rarely interact with the public, we'll probably never know what the cause was for sure). This problem is lessened on the vinyl edition, due to the harmonic resonance effects implicit with that format. Thus, this is one album that sounds way better on vinyl (despite the fact that the second LP side runs for twenty-eight minutes). It's worth tracking down a vinyl copy of this album if at all possible, or, failing that, a vinyl rip.

Many listeners have cited this as Drudkh's finest release, and while there are times I'd be inclined to give the nod to Autumn Aurora, there are times where I'd rank this above it, too. In any case, anyone interested in progressive black metal needs to hear this.

Report this review (#1313069)
Posted Thursday, November 20, 2014 | Review Permalink

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