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HANDFUL OF STARS

Drudkh

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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Drudkh Handful of Stars album cover
3.16 | 11 ratings | 3 reviews | 27% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Cold Landscapes
2. Downfall of the Epoch
3. Towards the Light
4. Twilight Aureole
5. The Day Will Come
6. Listening to the Silence

Lyrics

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Line-up / Musicians



Thanks to toroddfuglesteg for the addition
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Forgotten LegendsForgotten Legends
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EstrangementEstrangement
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Handful of StarsHandful of Stars
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The Swan RoadThe Swan Road
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DRUDKH Handful of Stars ratings distribution


3.16
(11 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
27%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(64%)
64%
Good, but non-essential (0%)
0%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)
9%

DRUDKH Handful of Stars reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Handful Of Stars' - Drudkh (7/10)

In the early years of the new millennium, the Ukrainian black metal band Drudkh made their first steps with the LP 'Forgotten Legends,' which while essentially a stylistic tribute to genre legend Burzum, is now considered by some aficionados to be a modern classic of black metal. As their music progressed, as did their sound; a folk influence could begin to be heard from the second album onwards, as well as some increasingly progressive approaches to their style. Seven years since the release of 'Forgotten Legends' now comes Drudkh's latest album to cap off the decade, 'Handful Of Stars.' Keeping in mind that Drudkh began as a much more straightforward black metal act, the scent of progress here is very strong, to the point where Drudkh's latest sounds very little like the grim and blistering sound of yesteryear. Now having finally adopted overt senses of post-rock and a little added polish to their mix, Drudkh's 'Handful Of Stars' will certainly alienate the black metal purists in their fanbase, but also opens them up to a new style, and a world of possibility for this metal group.

With 'Handful Of Stars,' Drudkh now sounds more alike Alcest, or fellow pagan-metal act Agalloch, than any pure black metal affair. However, despite this change, Drudkh has retained their melancholic, beautiful mood and flair. Although very different in terms of sound, the album structure here reminds me of their second album (and arguable defining masterpiece) 'Autumn Aurora,' beginning with a short intro before driving into the metal body of the album. After a pretty lulling and admittedly lackluster piano introduction to the album, 'Handful Of Stars' throws us the highlight right away; 'Downfall Of The Epoch.' Beginning as a very laid-back and surprisingly mellow piece of metal, the music does build gradually, before finally letting in the screamed vocals, which while not out of place in the sound, aren't particularly endearing or effective when contrasted to more dynamic growling elsewhere. From 'Downfall' onwards, each of the songs until the quiet outro generally follows a similar sound, using plenty of guitar harmonies, some use of repetition and a drawn out, yet fresh sound to the songwriting.

Of special note here is the incredible percussion work by the drummer listed only as Vlad. While many black metal drummers generally only focus on the ferocity of their blastbeats over anything else, the drumwork here is very intricate, always managing to put some very exquisite details into the performance, and at times playing very technical material even in the most mellow moments of 'Handful Of Stars.' Surprisingly enough however, nothing is ever overdone and it works perfectly.

While 'Downfall Of The Epoch' and the third track 'Towards The Light' are both excellent pieces of blackened post-metal, the album ends up feeling as if it drags on too long without throwing in enough musical ideas to warrant the length of the songs. This is a big development for Drudkh, but while they were masters of the nature-influenced black metal sound, they don't seem to have grasped enough of this new sound to compete with the masters of post-metal... yet.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#368481) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
1 stars How to rip off Katatonia's 'Brave Murder Day' and get away with? The clue to the answer must be that Katatonia was too much ahead of their time for success, or that fans of this style simply don't care.

Right from the start, 'Downfall of the Epoch' settles for the groove and signature riffing style that Katatonia developed on their 1996 blackened doom metal classic. That album also served as an inspiration for Agalloch so you may be reminded of Agalloch as well when listening to this. The tempo breaks down to a medium paced section that sounds a bit post-rock-ish but not as much as for instance Agalloch's 'Ashes Against The Grain'. The melodies here are too static for that. It's an acceptable song but it screams theft out of every pore.

The remainder of the tracks don't deviate too much from the formula, they may be somewhat faster or slower but the basic ingredients remain the same. The melodies are fairly average and the album becomes dreary fairly quickly. The vocalist never reaches the anger and threatening tone that Akerfeldt reached on that certain Katatonia album that I keep mentioning. Well it's not my fault, they're asking for it.

A lifeless clone of something that someone else did just perfectly 15 years ago. It's done with such lack of flair and skill that it hurts my ears. As it shows on the cover, one star.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#574781) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, November 25, 2011

Review by JJLehto
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Drudkh, but with a more post influenced sound and cleaner guitar tone.

That is the simple review of this album. While the change in style was detectable on "Microcosmos" it really takes shape on "Handful of Stars". Much of the black metal is jettisoned and replaced with a much cleaner guitar sound, (there is still some distortion but not close to previous levels) and a more atmospheric, post rock structure, similar to Alcest. Some double bass thrashing and blast beats exist, and strictly harsh vocals, but that's about it. Obviously, the production is much improved, letting you hear every drum hit perfectly, and even bass!

This album has dense, drifty, subtlely changing walls of sound, subdued segments, and some great melodies. Even a guitar solo or two! All pushed forward with simple, yet effective drumming and topped off with gruff screams. They are not the most abrasive thing however, and work with the music.

Always glad to see a band change it up, (especially one from the dark depths of black metal) and this a great output from the obscure Ukrainian metal masters of Drudkh. Great songwriting that is truly moving, and ranging from hypnotic to powerful. Atmospheric metal.

Four Stars

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Send comments to JJLehto (BETA) | Report this review (#574883) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, November 25, 2011

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