|Review: Drudkh - Microcosmos|
Label: Season Of Mist
Year released: 2009
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: August 12, 2009
Reviewed by: Brett Buckle
Rated 3.9/5 (77.93%) (29 Votes)
Drudkh are one of the darlings of the Black Metal underground. Dark and mysterious, they have built their reputation on their musical output alone, inspiring many fans with their natural, folksy style of songwriting. For so long it seemed that they could do no wrong, with their first four albums each being a classic of nature inspired folksy Black Metal, but they ever so slightly fumbled with 2006's Estrangement, an album that didn't quite live up to the surreal magnificence of their earlier output. Well, I am very fucking happy to tell you that Microcosmos sees them return to form in the best possible way, easily meeting and often surpassing their early classics by retaining the beauty of those albums and breathing new life into their formula to produce an album that is both heavenly and earthbound in its beauty.
As "Distant Cries of Cranes" blasts out of your speakers, the first thing you are going to notice is the production job. This is much fatter than Estrangement and a lot cleaner than Blood in Our Wells. For a start the bass is there, rich and audible with a slightly clicky sound, and awesomely it is put to fine use throughout the album, driving it forward and pushing its head through the traditional Drudkh wall of guitars to add that elusive bottom end touch of melody. To me Estrangement was a bit of a let down in the Drudkh catalogue, but by Satan Microcosmos is an amazing return to form! The sweeping mournful melodies of Blood in Our Wells return in full force, conjuring to the minds eye the vast, forlorn forests and fireside camaraderie that Drudkh have made such a name for themselves with. Incredible, engaging folk sections blend seamlessly with the swirling, ethereal metal, and it is here that the bass playing really shines as it really enhances the spirituality of the melodies and counterpoints the slightly mournful acoustic guitars. Present in spades through Microcosmos is the now trademark Drudkh melodies, simultaneously soaring and sorrowful, and while they are no dramatic departure from the previous albums, they sound fresh, original and as natural to the music as birdsong is to a windy summers day. Each track on Microcosmos is a masterpiece of repetitive, droning Black Metal, infused with grand, sweeping melodies, perfectly timed and executed "tense and release" dynamics and earthbound majesty. Just listen to the lengthy intro to "Decadence" with its repetitive open arpeggios and stop/start beats, colossal melodic lead work and bittersweet atmosphere, or the dynamic, folk-based blasting of "Ars Poetica" to really be taken away on the journey to Drudkh's home among the Carpathians.
I fear I am getting a little redundant here with this review – I suspect very few of you reading this have had no encounter with this fantastic band, and many of you have probably had Microcosmos for a couple of months. For those of you surveying the lay of the land of reviews before buying, if you haven't already been convinced, then I urge you to go ahead and grab a copy. Drudkh are one of the few bands truly worthy of the aura surrounding them, and with Microcosmos they have recovered from the light hiccup that was Estrangement to deliver a very strong contender for album of the year. Simply brilliant!
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