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

Лебединий шлях (THE SWAN ROAD)


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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3 stars A band that sounds like a crossbreed between (old) Enslaved and Bathory with a mix of death and black metal vocals is surely a winner. Add the obvious Ukraine folk music vibes too and the band's unwillingness to do any interviews & answer fan-mail and the scene really begin to take notice.

There is no doubts that Drudkh is one of a kind and they blasts their own path. This is something I admire them for. I also like their music a lot. Their mix of Eastern European traditional music and black metal is really refreshing. But all this is futile if their music is not up to scratch. But, it is.

This album consists of some pretty long songs which weaves around in a melodic black metal forest, a forest also shared with folk music. But this is mostly a grim black metal album with tremolo picking electric guitars, bass, drums and pretty grim vocals. The music is good though throughout. Unfortunate, it lacks the little extra that makes a good black metal album. It has a lot of sameness throughout. But the closing song Song of Sich Destruction is a great song. This is a good black metal album, but nothing more than that. Their sound is great though and that saves the day.

3 stars

Report this review (#297510)
Posted Sunday, September 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'll say that the thing I like the most about this album is the cover, a true work of art. The album itself, well, isn't as good. Usually, a band creates with their album their most mature and acclaimed album. Drudkh wasn't one of these cases.

What changes and makes everything different? Well, the music doesn't sound so Atmospheric anymore, all the progressive is gone, more songs, this is just a plain black metal with a few good songs. And when it tries to get a little atmosphere, it just doesn't work, or at least not as well as in other occasions. One thing if the album that I really like was what, in the end, it transmitted me, which is the love for the antique, the old world, and especially the love for Ukraine, the country where the band is from. Their patriotism in fact has always been very highlighted and proven, thanks also to some moments, during the album, like in the whole final song, where Drudkh gives an open tribute to Ukrainian folk music, or maybe just general eastern folk music. But the Black Metal moments didn't always appeal to me, unfortunately. Like I said, though, I really like the intentions the band had in making arrangements.

Despite all the bad things said earlier, they are some great moments and songs here; "Eternal Sun" isn't a typically Drudkh song, but it works, thanks to it's brilliant melodies and ideas. "Fate" is a surprisingly haunting piece of music, being at the same time rough and strong, but the clean guitar that echoes in parts of the song is something I'd die for. The final "Song Of Such Destruction" is the folkish song mentioned earlier, without growls or electric guitars; just a melancholic voice singing in Hungarian and an old sounding guitar playing from a radio. I'm really glad the band decided to insert a song like this one in one of their albums.

The Swan Road is an album I wouldn't recommend to everyone, being mainly a very rough Black Metal album with some calmer moments in the middle of the songs; if you loved the first two Drudkh albums, I can't guarantee you'll feel the same for this one.

Report this review (#408863)
Posted Sunday, February 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#1313067)
Posted Thursday, November 20, 2014 | Review Permalink

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