17 January, 2014

Full Album Stream: Drudkh: Eastern Frontier In Flames – new compilation album


The collection of the “long out-of-print and sought-after” DRUDKH EP's and split releases, ‘Eastern Frontier In Flames’, has just become available in Europe, January the 17th, 2014, with its North American release date set for January the 21st. Released on Season Of Mist, ‘Eastern Frontier In Flames’ presents songs from ‘Thousands Of Moons Ago / The Gates’, DRUDKH and WINTERFYLLETH just released split (out on 21st of January in North Ameruca), as well as the long out of print ‘Anti-Urban’ and ‘Slavonic Chronicles’ EPs. Only available on digipak CD and digital, ‘Eastern Frontier in Flames’ should be sought-after here (Season Of Mist e-shop) and shop for ‘Thousands Of Moons Ago / The Gates’ here (Season Of Mist e-shop) or get it from iTunes as you enjoy it in full here (BandCamp), courtesy the label:

DRUDKH was founded in Kharkiv, Ukraine in 2002 by guitarist and bassist Roman Saenko (HATE FOREST, OLD SILVER KEY etc), vocalist and keyboardist Thurios (HATE FOREST, ASTROFAEST etc) and drummer and keyboardist Yuriy Sinitsky (LUCIFUGUM) amidst some controversy toward the band's political views, addressed by DRUDKH founder Saenko in the following statement (DRUDKH follow a strict no photos, no interviews, no website policy; their Facebook page is run by their label):
“The absence of any comments or information from DRUDKH's side gave an opening to a few ignorant internet warrior-fans to spread rumors, that the band embraces some extreme political views. This is absolutely misleading and a total profanation, since there is nothing in DRUDKH's music or lyrics that would suggest any political outlook. DRUDKH praise individualism, self-improvement and estrangement from modern values.”
Embracing Slavic mythology and poetry then, especially the works of Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko, DRUDKH (Sanskrit for “wood”) nevertheless recorded their BURZUM-inspired debut album ‘Forgotten Legends’ in 2003 (Supernatural Music), which was re-issued through Season Of Mist in 2009: 

DRUDKH's second full-length of folk-influenced melodies and cinematic and luxuriant atmospheres (“charged with bitterness, melancholy and sorrow”) followed in 2004 when ‘Autumn Aurora’, the album considered by many as DRUDKH's finest,  was released (and re-released on Season Of Mist in 2009): 

Replacing Sinitsky with Amorth on drums and keyboards, and digging yet deeper into Shevchenko's narrative about Ukrainian identity, the group released their next effort, ‘The Swan Road’, in 2005, followed by similarly themed, progressive metal-leaning ‘Blood In Our Wells’ in 2006. Both albums were reissued on Season Of Mist in 2010:

Next, Amorth departed from the band and new members bassist Krechet and drummer Vlad were recruited before the release of ‘Songs Of Grief And Sorrow’ in 2006. The songs which appeared on DRUDKH's fifth album marked a distinctive musical redirection for the band. In order to calm the band's (black metal) fans' nerves, DRUDKH infused enough blastbeats into their next effort, 2007's ‘Estrangement’: 

Their fan-base's doubt was further dealt with on ‘Microcosmos’, released in 2009 via Season Of Mist sub-label Underground Activists:
“And this is where DRUDKH's greatness ultimately emerges from the fog to manifest itself: via the unquestionably foreign (for lack of better word) aesthetic with which the band weaves majestic, slowly evolving melodic themes of unknown origin (“folk” being too simplistic a term) amidst the sparingly used, tired and token black metal elements one does expect, like blastbeat runs, buzzsaw riffing, and tormented vocal rasps. As a result, these rare reversions to black metal “normalcy” wind up giving ‘Microcosmos’ just the sort of sporadic, emotionally cathartic punctuations it needs to humanize its otherwise sweeping, cinematic flow, and keep it from descending into the calculated numbness of soundtrack reverie. Indeed, for a genre (black metal) characterized by grim-faced bands set on showing as little emotion as possible (lest it be violently negative emotion), DRUDKH's astonishingly candid, almost romantic, approach to their craft allows their music to emote and, one might venture, say all that is left unspoken by their aversion to publicity. And going by the rich musical evidence provided on ‘Microcosmos’, perhaps there really is nothing else for DRUDKH to say in interviews, photographs, websites, etc,” [raved Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]:

DRUDKH couldn’t just rest on their laurels of course and have opted to alter their sound on their next record, 2010's ‘Handful Of Stars’, once again. Moving into a more atmospheric and progressive direction, the Ukrainians found themselves suddenly “accused” of “not sounding like their normal, reliable selves, but rather straddling a fine line between AGALLOCH's ten-year-old blackened folk metal and the market-saturating post-metal of ISIS, CULT OF LUNA etc” by the same Eduardo Rivadavia (more here). Listen to ‘Handful Of Stars’ below and decide for yourselves to which DRUDKH fan-camp you belong. Or just take them as they come: 

DRUDKH's ninth full-length, 2012's ‘Eternal Turn Of The Wheel’, was presented as the band's return to their blackened roots. It was described as “welcomingly raw, wintry and atmospheric, with, it must be noted, a familiar BURZUM-like taint” by About.com's Craig Hayes:
“It’s always a nerve-racking proposition when a band claims to be getting back to their roots – we’ve been left disappointed by that statement countless times. The obvious issue with DRUDKH's decision to look to the past for inspiration is that their early works are highly revered. Expectations are stratospheric, yet slightly unrealistic. DRUDKH have no hope of producing work as electrifying as their first few albums, but that’s not to say there aren’t ample rewards to be found on ‘Eternal Turn Of The Wheel’, as it’s definitely evocative of a more instinctive era from the bands past:” [More here]

DRUDKH features: Roman - guitar, acoustic guitar and keyboards, Thurios – vocals and guitar, Krechet – bass and keyboards and Vlad – drums and keyboards

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