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DRUDKH

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Ukraine


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Drudkh biography
Drudkh is a Ukrainian tech/extreme prog metal band which formed in 2003. They have a very unique sound that few other bands can capture. They combine folk metal, black metal, and add in some progressive elements. DRUDKH is notoriously known for being rather secretive, giving no interviews, in addition to never putting their lyrics in the liner notes.

As for their music, they have released 7 albums as of now, and their style has become more progressive in the last few albums, while maintaining their black metal roots. Roman Saenko is the mastermind behind this band, and has really pulled off some excellent progressive black metal albums.

DRUDKH will surely appeal to progressive metal fans, and they have some excellent progressive black metal albums.

WHY THIS BAND IS ON PA:
Approved by the Progressive Metal Team of collaborators.

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DRUDKH discography


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DRUDKH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.95 | 16 ratings
Forgotten Legends
2003
4.05 | 32 ratings
Autumn Aurora
2004
3.31 | 11 ratings
The Swan Road
2005
2.40 | 11 ratings
Songs of Grief & Solitude
2006
3.96 | 19 ratings
Blood In Our Wells
2006
4.25 | 8 ratings
Estrangement
2007
3.10 | 12 ratings
Microcosmos
2009
3.19 | 13 ratings
Handful of Stars
2010
3.72 | 11 ratings
Eternal Turn Of The Wheel
2012
4.29 | 8 ratings
A Furrow Cut Short
2015

DRUDKH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DRUDKH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

DRUDKH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.33 | 3 ratings
Eastern Frontier In Flames
2014

DRUDKH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.05 | 3 ratings
Anti-Urban
2007
2.75 | 4 ratings
Slavonic Chronicles
2010

DRUDKH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Furrow Cut Short by DRUDKH album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.29 | 8 ratings

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A Furrow Cut Short
Drudkh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars Drudkh's finest release in years, A Furrow Cut Short is a throwback to the band's Forgotten Legends/Autumn Aurora style, but with the added maturity that an additional 12 years' worth of musicianship brings. The album is Drudkh's longest release to date, and the songs are of suitable scale to match; only one track is shorter than seven minutes in length, and only two are below eight. The songwriting is some of Drudkh's strongest in years, possibly since Estrangement or Blood in Our Wells, and the performances are consistently compelling throughout.

The uninitiated should be warned that this is unapologetically a black metal release, so people who aren't fond of blast beats, tremolo picking, harsh vocals, and other hallmarks of the genre won't find a lot to like here. But for those who are fond of the style, this is a superb black metal release with some progressive hallmarks that offers a lot of rewards for listeners.

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 Blood In Our Wells by DRUDKH album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.96 | 19 ratings

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Blood In Our Wells
Drudkh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by CassandraLeo

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.

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 The Swan Road by DRUDKH album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.31 | 11 ratings

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The Swan Road
Drudkh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by CassandraLeo

4 stars After the pastoral Autumn Aurora established their signature sound, Drudkh decided to switch things up on the following album, The Swan Road. The transition is roughly comparable to what Opeth did on their third album, My Arms, Your Hearse: shorter songs, more aggressive production, and an overall increase in heaviness. The Swan Road has an abrasive production that works well for the first half of the album, which contains some of the most aggressive material Drudkh have recorded to date. But the more subdued material on the second half isn't as well served by the rather lo-fi nature of the recording (note that, as with Blood in Our Wells, there is a sharp cutoff on frequencies above 16 kHz on the CD versions, which is less severe on the vinyl editions), and comes out sounding less powerful than it might have.

The material on this album is overall a step down from both the preceding Autumn Aurora and the following Blood in Our Wells, but that's not to say that it's weak. There are plenty of memorable songs here and, if nothing else, the performances make the album worth the cost of admission. The material on the second half of the album is ill-served by the album's production, but the songs still manage to emerge fairly powerfully anyway.

It is perhaps worth noting that the final piece on the album is not performed by Drudkh; it is a solo recording of a traditional Ukrainian duma (folk song) performed by bandura player Igor Rachok. Its inclusion presages the direction Drudkh would follow on the next year's Songs of Grief and Solitude, an all-acoustic instrumental folk album.

Overall, there's not as much here for prog fans as there is on a lot of Drudkh's other albums, and perhaps not coincidentally, it's not as strong as some of those albums, either. Fans of the band are strongly urged to check it out, as are fans of black metal. People who liked their more progressive material but had reservations about the more aggressive sections of the albums may not find much to like here, however.

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 Autumn Aurora by DRUDKH album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.05 | 32 ratings

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Autumn Aurora
Drudkh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars Cited by many listeners as Drudkh's finest recording, Autumn Aurora is where Drudkh announced to the world that they had more to offer than (admittedly very well executed) Burzum worship. The acoustic intro "Fading" (later reprised as the ambient synth piece "The First Snow") announces to the world Drudkh's mission statement: a pastoral acoustic guitar lick performed over nature sound effects (chirping birds and the like). This nicely sets the tone for the rest of the album's ruminative meditation on the transition of autumn into winter.

"Summoning the Rain" and "Glare of Autumn" are next, and they are effectively two movements of the same piece. Autumn Aurora is the band's first release to use atmospheric synthesizers, and they are deployed to full effect to texture a beautiful electric guitar lick that has very little rooting in black metal. Thurios' howls provide one of the few extreme metal touches to this piece, which is mostly midtempo and, when the transition to "Glare of Autumn" occurs, redeploys the acoustic guitars found on "Fading".

"Sunwheel" supplies another surprise, with an upbeat major-key riff leading off the piece and setting the mood for the first half of the song. The expected black metal vocals are still found here, but the mood of the piece remains upbeat. It isn't until the second half of the song that the mood changes to a more downcast one, with gloomy synths and guitars over a largely ambient background (few vocals to be found here). The piece fades out over a wind sound effect, which (on the CD) leads into what for me is the strongest song Drudkh have ever recorded, "Wind of the Night Forests". (They're separated by a side division on the vinyl, so there's a fade-out and fade-in, with the wind sound effects remaining).

"Wind of the Night Forests" is perhaps the single most central composition to the album's meditation on the onset of winter. The performances and composition here are top-notch; Yuriy Sinitsky's drumming has to be singled out for particular praise. When people tell you black metal can be beautiful, this is the kind of song they're talking about.

"The First Snow" finishes off the album. As mentioned above, it's an ambient piece that reprises the album's intro. There are no vocals here, and even the guitars are reduced to a background rôle. The song is heavily based in repetition, but it's highly unlikely listeners will mind; repetition is indeed central to the song's concept. It's stunningly beautiful, and a perfect way to finish off the album.

There was a time when I would listen to this album every night before I slept, because it has a perfect nocturnal mood that is perfect for subduing the listener. I don't listen to it that often anymore, but it's still in regular rotation in my playlist, and it probably always will be. I'm not sure whether this is Drudkh's finest moment (Blood in Our Wells has a strong claim to that title as well), but it's a stunning record and deserves to be heard by anyone even remotely interested in black metal.

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 Forgotten Legends by DRUDKH album cover Studio Album, 2003
2.95 | 16 ratings

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Forgotten Legends
Drudkh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by CassandraLeo

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.

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 Eternal Turn Of The Wheel by DRUDKH album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.72 | 11 ratings

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Eternal Turn Of The Wheel
Drudkh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by 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.

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 Microcosmos by DRUDKH album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.10 | 12 ratings

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Microcosmos
Drudkh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Prog Sothoth
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars I'm not sure how to properly pronounce the name Drudkh, but it sounds like a noise I would make into a handkerchief. This band belongs on that part of the black metal spectrum that focuses on atmosphere, ambience and subject matters invoking concepts of nature and general moodiness as opposed to Satan worshipping mayhem with raw angry riffs. Years from now I would not be surprised if bands like this one, Alcest, WiiTR and others are regarded as some sort of different genre entirely rather than black metal itself.

Microcosmos has an almost shoegazing aspect to their music, with layered distorted guitars smoothly unleashing melancholic riffs, with one truly interesting aspect to their sound, that being the bass guitar. Not just in presence, but in technique and utilization, particularly during "Distant Cries of Cranes", in which the latter half of the song features bass soloing. The rhythms and tempos vary and change in an almost random fashion, which in this case is a positive aspect since this sort of droning tremolo riffage can get tiresome after awhile without occurrences to shake things up. There's also some guitar soloing and mellow passages to add variety to these tunes, and the album is bookended by folksy instrumentals.

Vocals are of a mid to high range growl as opposed to a more hysterical shriek normally associated with black metal, which is fine but gets monotonous as the album wears on. With not much variation in tone and volume level, the vocals seem more as just a means in which to display the lyrics into the song rather than an important piece of each song's construction. Production overall is fairly high quality going by black metal standards, with the drums loud and clear without overpowering the guitars whatsoever.

Strength-wise, "Distant Cries of Cranes" and "Everything Unsaid Before" are the most memorable cuts to me, possessing all of the best qualities of this album's ideas into two strong tracks that sound dissimilar from each other while sharing the mutual overall style and instrumentation. The remaining tracks are not bad by any means, but merely more of the same but at a less enticing level to my ears. Microcosmos is a fine addition to those fully immersed in their genre, but for the uninitiated, it might still be worth checking out for the unorthodox structures and cool bass lines.

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 Blood In Our Wells by DRUDKH album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.96 | 19 ratings

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Blood In Our Wells
Drudkh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Blood In Our Wells (Кров у Наших Криницях, Krov u Nashykh Krynytsyakh) - Drudkh (7/10)

Often matched up against their second work 'Autumn Aurora' as Drudkh's crowning achievement, it has been a long time coming for me to get around to hearing 'Blood In Our Wells'. They are a band who require no introduction; since their decidedly Burzum-inspired 'Forgotten Legends', they have represented Ukraine's enigmatic black metal scene with a particular focus on atmosphere. 'Blood In Our Wells' sees the band incorporating a greater measure of melody into their arboreal style, and while I might still point towards 'Aumn Aurora' as the greatest of what these Ukrainians have to offer, their fourth album is an ambitious expansion on their already intriguing sound.

One thing that's often mentioned about these guys is that they refuse to post their lyrics, and paired with the fact that most of the band's listeners will not be familiar with the finer elements of the Ukrainian tongue, this leaves the band's subject matter up to the listener's imagination. Like its predecessor 'The Swan Road' however, 'Blood In Our Wells' uses the work of regarded Ukrainian poets, complimenting the romantic lyrical imagery with an introspective atmosphere. Although Drudkh's sound still lurks about the lo-fi depths, the instruments are well mixed and clear. The vocals (presumably done by Thurios) are surprisingly distinct for a genre that often defaults on rasping; his delivery is aggressive and intelligible. Although the lyrical content is not 'original' to the band, it is incorporated beautifully into their music. It is not a far stretch to hear Drudkh's dreamlike atmosphere being matched with Lina Kostenko's agrarian metaphor.

Melody is a more prominent aspect of 'Blood In Our Wells', although this to realize itself most in the music's handful of dramatic climaxes; moments within the typically longwinded compositions in which all emotion is let loose. 'Furrows of Gods' and 'When The Flame Turns To Ashes' are both highlights on the album, maintaining the band's penchant for repetition only long enough to make their point. The latter of those two concludes on a particularly stunning note, collapsing into a melodic dirge among the greatest Drudkh have ever done. The album's second half becomes more longwinded, but the slight dip in quality does not break the atmosphere, which 'makes' the album. With the band's trademark addition of arboreal folk instrumentation into the black metal soundscape, 'Blood In Our Wells' makes for another stirring experience. It does not give the same shock, nor envelop me as much as did 'Autumn Aurora', but for the critical acclaim I had read of it, I have not found myself disappointed.

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 Autumn Aurora by DRUDKH album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.05 | 32 ratings

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Autumn Aurora
Drudkh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Gard3n

5 stars Drudkh's first album, despite being quite enjoyable, was too repetitive and tends to bore me if I'm not in the right mood. "Autumn Aurora" is repetitive too, but this time they know where to stop. There's enough variety here to keep the listener paying attention through the whole album. This time they have added some keyboards, a very good addition to their sound if you ask me. They are not present all the time, in fact they are little used, never seem out of place and it helps to develop the atmosphere.

The album is rather short, and when the music is as good as this case, it's double short. The drums are another thing that needs to be mentioned. You will hear no better drumming in Black Metal as in this album. The harsh vocals are quite few, and are very low in the mix. The production in general is raw, but every instrument (except the bass) can be easily recognized.

Since the acoustic "Fading", to the upbeat "Sunwheel" (perhaps my favourite song on the album) and the droning "The First Snow" (Agalloch would come 2 years later with "Our Fortress Is Burning... III - The Grain" as an album closer with the same drone style), this album is a gem within the Atmospheric Black/Folk Metal and should not be missed by those who enjoy the most extreme branches of music.

Final Score: 4,8 rounded to 5. Best Tracks: "Sunwheel", "Wind of the Night Forests" and "The First Snow".

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 Eternal Turn Of The Wheel by DRUDKH album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.72 | 11 ratings

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Eternal Turn Of The Wheel
Drudkh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 6/10

"Eternal Turn Of The Wheel" is a traditionally executed, yet pretty effective Atmospheric Black Metal.

Drudkh in 2012 are already considered Black Metal veterans. But the problem with veterans is that they get so used to the fact that they reach this status, that often they don't try as hard to make good music. Though it does, after a while, come out pretty naturally. "Eternal Turn of the Wheel" indeed feels almost effortless, in a good way, but you can tell that some of the excitement of the earlier albums is gone.

With the usual, rough production, the band delivers a pretty standard, typical Atmospheric Black Metal album, that remains extremely consistent with Drudkh's style. There is an overall less emphasis on the keyboards, which are used much more subtly. The vocals are probably the biggest change: much lower-pitched, less shrieked and a bit more human sounding, in contrast with the banshee vocals of the previous albums, a definitely interesting and quite different approach.

One of the darkest albums of the band, "Eternal Turn Of The Wheel" has a really intriguing, fascinating and gloomy atmosphere that reminds of a nocturnal, spectral, and especially, sylvan sight, where ancient ghosts roam around. The five tracks that together are only slightly more than thirty five minutes long, all feel very connected to one another, not only length-wise but also in terms of atmosphere: "Breath Of Cold Soil", "When Gods Leave Their Emerald Halls", Farewell To Autumn's Sorrowful Birds" all feel like windy, crispy tracks that aren't at all estranged from the rest of the band's discography. They still deliver great, memorable moments and haunting atmospheres.

The closing track, "Nights Woven Of Snow, Winds and Grey-Haired Star" feels a lot sludgier and crunchier, still however maintaining the chilly aura of the previous tracks. "Eternal Turn Of The Wheel" is a interesting and enjoyable Drudkh album that offers hints of originality occasionally; tradition though is a big aspect of this record, and as a consequence it doesn't feel that different or distinguishing from other releases of this legendary Ukranian band, who I personally will always follow, no matter how habitual they might become.

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