Drudkh, the Ukrainian masters of atmospheric black metal, have returned in 2012 to bring yet another album. "Eternal Turn of the Wheel" sees the band continuing their signature sound, with relatively little new elements. With that said, the band doesn’t really need to do anything new, because they are fairly unique and usually deliver quality albums. As you might expect, this album often switches between hyper-blasting drums with atmospheric keyboards and the slower, more melodic sections. In that sense, Drudkh have always reminded me of Burzum, which is probably why I enjoy their music more than most black metal. The third element to this album is the clean and acoustic guitar sections, which I found to actually be the best parts of the album. It’s not often that an intro is memorable, but it was surprisingly well-crafted and quite enjoyable. Likewise, there is a similar part towards the end of “When Gods Leave Their Emerald Halls”.
The songs themselves are quite a journey; with the exception of the intro, they all stretch to around 8+ minutes. The somewhat fuzzy guitar tone contributes to the less-than stellar production, though given that this is black metal, this production is actually very satisfying. The vocals on this album were a bit surprising; there weren’t really many attempts at the classic black metal raspy growl, but instead, the vocalist shouted his way through the album. It’s similar to what Tom Araya would sound like if he were a black metal singer. The best track is definitely “Farewell to Autumn's Sorrowful Birds”, which opens with several minutes of melodic riffing. None of the other songs are bad, but they aren’t particularly memorable. Unfortunately, there isn’t a song (or even a riff or melody) that is as mind-blowing as “Only the Wind Remembers My Name” from "Estrangement", for example. Despite that, the album is enjoyable while it lasts, and I have the feeling that it will grow on you with more listens. There are definitely some subtleties in the synths that are hard to catch on first listen.
Drudkh aren’t going to blow you away with this album, but they don’t need to. "Eternal Turn of the Wheel" is just another record that is a testament to their ability to create this style of black metal. If you are a newcomer to the band, it might be better to start with one of the older records, but all fans of this style should be able to like this album.
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“Farewell to Autumn's Sorrowful Birds”
3.8/5 or 76%
Written by Scott