DRUDKH - Eternal Turn Of The Wheel CD
Season of Mist
Genre: Black Metal
If you've been a long time fan of DRUDKH (aka: from 2003 to 06, their classic early era) than when the announcement for their new release came out late last year you probably had a presence of deju vu. Over the past six years you've heard that announcement many times. So when the day finally came you listened to the new release and you were questioning (Songs of Grief and Solitude from 2006) satisfied (Estrangement from 2007) surprised (Microcosmos) and down right disgusted (2010's Handful of Stars). That latter one even garnered accusations of selling out to the post black metal / non metal crowd. I thought that Handful of Stars sounded like a blackened version of SONIC YOUTH. Therefore I had to agree with the naysayers that DRUDKH had indeed left their early dense, earthy black metal riffs which was more about the land and atmosphere then appeasing some hipster retards / indie rock losers who believe the local city park to be woodlands.
So what's the early verdict of Eternal Turn Of The Wheel? I can put your fears to rest by telling you that the Ukrainian underground legends do well with their ninth album. The release starts off in typical DRUDKH fashion, "Eternal Circle" is a short yet beautiful acoustic instrumental opener closed with nature sound samples. The first of the four long epics (another DRUDKH tradition) is "Breath of Cold Black Soil". It's mere seconds into the cut when you realize that DRUDKH has reached back into their icy past for inspiration. At once the song's brisk riffs and blast beats create a storm which lifts up into it. The furious waves of atmosphere assault your body, ripping away clothing and leaving you naked to be carried away on the frozen wind like melodies. That beautiful guitar and keyboard created blizzard is back with the ever memorable caustic screamed vocals as our guide.
"When Gods Leave Their Emerald Halls" brings out the pain and sacrifice where as "Farewell to Autumn's Sorrowful Birds" sorrow. The latter cut has a melody reminding me of KING CRIMSON's "Epitaph". Both cuts ground you in a place of cold solitude where all of the world's sadness, which once flowed free, is now frozen solid and locked in place. The next cut gets bled into by the footsteps of someone walking through snow. Welcome to the finale "Night Woven of Snow, Winds and Grey-Haired Stars" another epic of brooding grimness, icicle beauty and North wind riding which carries you along in a catatonic state over the frozen landscape back to the dark iced crypt. Eternal Turn Of The Wheel might have the concept of seasonal change although that final sound you hear is the wind. The end is never pretty also the only return to form I care about was DRUDKH's. They're back.