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Drudkh - Лебединий шлях (The Swan Road) CD (album) cover

Лебединий шлях (THE SWAN ROAD)

Drudkh

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.35 | 14 ratings

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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.

CassandraLeo | 4/5 |

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