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Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
2 stars Straightforward Death Metal performed in fast pace. It's either for die hard fans of this genre, or it's a trap set for those who wants fine music experience. Because you're not gonna get it, this is a dog food fellow music lovers. At least it's not my album, but the one who lent it to me is probably preparing his rope to hang on. Well, this was a little bit exaggerated, but not so much.

One have to face simple fact. That this music is dull. It's one of those musical projects, where artists produce music that strikes very center of your soul, freezes your heart and leaves you punished for something. Like your sins or something. So expect that patterns here will be repeated a lot. And not only patterns, but virtually everything. Even sounds for long seconds (20-30) before moving to yet another set of patterns. No no no, this simply isn't the way how this should be done for me to appreciate it.

2(+) for dull music. You can easily bang your head against the wall and be happier than like this. Well, that's my opinion, you're free to form yours, of course.

Report this review (#272341)
Posted Tuesday, March 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars The debut from Drudkh has both it's feet firmly planted in the Scandinavian black metal sound. Burzum springs to mind.

The vocals is rasping, the guitars is tremolo picking like mad, the drums and bass is in the background. Despite of the pretty bland stagnant songs here, the germs for what Drudkh morphed into on their later albums can be found here. If you look hard enough, that is. But the main theme on this album is epic black metal. And the quality is only decent and that's it. As a debut album though, this is a more than acceptable album at that time. And that is what this album is; a debut album and the final album someone collecting Drudkh albums should purchase.

2 stars

Report this review (#301737)
Posted Sunday, October 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Forgotten Legends' - Drudkh (69/100)

Drudkh have achieved the ultimate feat of being distinctive in a landscape of soundalikes. I take no issue in saying they're infinitely better at conjuring a nature-based atmosphere than most of their contemporaries, but what really sells me on the band is the fact that they have a unique, independent voice in a genre that seldom encourages such things. Comparisons could be yielded - Burzum and Walknut come first to mind - but the fact remains that you can certainly tell whenever it's a Drudkh album you're listening to. All of this, despite the fact they've been bold enough to let their art evolve over the years.

While their true sound wouldn't fully emerge until Autumn Aurora the following year, Forgotten Legends still lends the impression that Drudkh came to their debut pre-equipped with a distinct character. The longwinded, minimalistic chord formations, the soft acoustic layers, even the mandatory forested cover; all of these are tamed aspects of atmospheric black metal since the peak era of Burzum, and still, Drudkh imprint their unique mark on the album's atmosphere.

All of that should lead to the natural assumption that Drudkh opened their career with a masterpiece. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I guess I might agree, but there's always been something about Forgotten Legends that made me feel like the overwhelming praise towards it was somehow overblown. Autumn Aurora is possibly the most enthralling purveyor of nature-bound atmosphere I've ever heard in black metal. The voice and talent for atmosphere are here, but the band's desire to stretch minimalism even past Burzum limits makes this album less captivating than it really should be.

Taking a look at the tracklisting alone should give a vague indicator as to the album's experience. Three long slabs of atmospheric black metal, with an ambient denouement to cap it off. Already, Drudkh are brandishing the obvious influence Burzum has had on their art. While I couldn't understand why that comparison was so often made when I first heard this album years ago, it's an effective way of tying the band in with the legacy that preceded them. The long, soaring riffs on Forgotten Legends are long, simple, and endlessly repeated. They carve sad melodies from the harmonies in their chord patterns. Hvis lyset tar oss was forged on a very similar structural basis, but Drudkh have a much cleaner, warmer tone to the guitar. The best way I could describe the difference is to imagine the difference between Forgotten Legends cover, and a similar version that was purely black and white, as per black metal custom. To me, Forgotten Legends is an Autumn alternative to the usual frostbitten atmosphere in black metal; there is decay and coldness, sure, but still enough warmth to remind you that the coldest days are still ahead.

The riffs, plain as they are, are effective at conjuring a hypnotic feel. Especially when they're paired with mild acoustic picking hidden behind the distorted fuzz, Forgotten Legends really sounds like something that was created far removed from the doldrums of urban life. "False Dawn" has a few immortal riffs, each of them stretching over several minutes. My big issue with the album aren't the parts themselves, but how long they're used. Of course, atmospheric black metal encourages this kind of minimalism; repetition is the technique you use when you're trying to lull a listener into a specific trance-mood. Forgotten Legends builds itself around that hypnosis, and it's why I can see so many people claiming it to be one of the best of its kind.

For me, it's not even so much that Drudkh are deadset on playing each drawn-out chord progression ten times beyond its expected shelf life. The bigger issue is that there's very little continual activity once a riff has changed. On my favourite atmospheric albums, the riffs themselves may remain static, but the undercurrents are always in flux. It could be a shift in harmony, a changing drum tempo, anything to keep the sound fresh. One of the best examples I can think of is actually Drudkh's own "When the Flame Turns to Ashes" from Blood in Our Wells. The changing drum patterns in the song's second half made a single riff feel more intense and powerful as long as it went on. There's very little of that motion on Forgotten Legends, and a lot of the riffs feel less entreating by the time they're finally switched out for something new. By the end, the warmth of the tone seems a lot less bright, even monotonous. I love Forgotten Legends' atmosphere in theory, but while I'm actually listening to it, I have tendency to feel bored. This has been my experience virtually every time I've heard it. When I was first getting into Drudkh five or so years ago, it was enough to have me dismiss the album in spite of enjoying its aesthetic. Now, I'm probably warmer towards the idea of droning minimalism, but I've no doubt I vastly prefer hearing Drudkh when they're consistently letting their compositions breathe and grow.

Forgotten Legends is good, but I think Drudkh have subsequently outdone themselves many times over. As an album clearly born in the image of Burzum however, I've got to say how impressed I am that the band were able to find a unique voice in such an overdone template. The droning repetition makes its parts less interesting than it should be, but Forgotten Legends was nonetheless a promising introduction for a band that would soon become one of the very best at what they do.

Report this review (#341316)
Posted Friday, December 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Drudkh has now become one of the great cult metal bands. They have been since 2003, when their debut was released, and when they were already being recognized as one of the most original Black Metal bands out there. Perhaps what makes them so fascinating is the mysterious secretiveness they always applied in their works; they never give interviews, nor any lyric sheets of their songs. "Forgotten Legends" is something a Black Metal fan shouldn't miss, even though some other following Drudkh albums will be even better.

What Roman Saenko and his band did here already looks original; sure, it's Atmospheric Black Metal with Burzum as a main influence, with some Folk Metal passages, as well as Nature Recordings here and there to give more the feeling. Nothing too new here. But how the band is able to evoke concepts, such as arcane, ancient landscapes or, like the title of the album clearly implies, forgotten legends and tales of ancient lands and people, is like no other band can really do. This album is just the beginning of this great band's career, and most certainly a good start.

In a way, this is the most radical and harsh Drudkh album: four tracks, all long (two of them over ten minutes), rudimental in their structure, but extremely solid. These four tracks represent perfectly the band, even though sometimes the results aren't as satisfying as they should have been; if the opener "False Dawn", almost sixteen minutes long, is one of the best Drudkh songs ever recorded, because f it's intensity and strong emotional impact, "Eternal Turn Of The Wheel" can be very dull and unnervingly flat. Also, the strange contrast of cheerful melody and dreadful atmosphere in "Forests In Fire And Cold" isn't always working, even though, I must admit, it is most of the time. Excellent closing track however, the brief nature recording of "Smell Of Rain".

At times scary, at times hopeful and haunting, "Forgotten Legends", despite having some issues, is well worth your time.

Report this review (#404002)
Posted Sunday, February 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Drudkh's first album, Forgotten Legends, is a black metal classic. It's not exactly a début, because the band members had worked together before in the significantly darker (and less prog-oriented) Hate Forest, which they would disband not too long after this release due to their growing distaste for the authoritarian politics with which Hate Forest was associated. Forgotten Legends represents a more melodic and epic approach to the genre than anything Hate Forest had recorded, although the slower tempi found on Forgotten Legends can also be found on Hate Forest's Battlefields, which is the odd man out in HF's discography for being a concept album about war (spoiler: it's hell), being almost doom metal in execution, and containing several traditional Ukrainian folk pieces (presaging a direction Drudkh would later pursue further with their all-acoustic Songs of Grief and Solitude).

For all that they emerged fully formed on their first album, Drudkh hadn't fully developed their sound yet when they recorded this album. The production is cruder than what people would later come to expect from them (and the tape speed is slightly off, which will annoy people who try to play along on piano or guitar). The songs are also simpler, being comprised of fewer riffs despite lasting for nine to sixteen minutes each ("Smell of Rain", the album's outro, consists purely of rain and thunder sound effects). This is old-school ambient black metal in the Burzum vein, with fewer of the progressive elements Drudkh would bring to the foreground in their later releases. But the songwriting and performances are top-notch, with Yuriy Sinitsky's drumming in particular standing out as superb.

This isn't Drudkh's best release - many listeners tend to point to either the band's sophomore effort, Autumn Aurora, or Blood in Our Wells, their fourth, as the band's high water mark, while Estrangement currently has the highest rating among their discography on this web site (apart from the new album, which is likely to drop as more people review it). But for fans of old school ambient black metal, Forgotten Legends has a lot to offer, and is strongly recommended for inclined listeners. Listeners who enjoyed the band's most recent release, A Furrow Cut Short, are especially urged to check this out, as this release is a close cousin to that album in many ways.

Report this review (#1313065)
Posted Thursday, November 20, 2014 | Review Permalink

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