Label: Season of Mist
Releasing a total of ten full-length albums since their formation in 2002, Ukraine’s Drudkh has established themselves as one of modern black metal’s most prominent bands. Their latest, Борозна обірвалася (A Furrow Cut Short) doesn’t stray very far from what one would expect from Drudkh – namely lengthy songs that feature mystical riffs and lyrics based around Ukrainian folklore and poetry. This album exhibits what Drudkh does best, however nothing new is really brought to the table.
With a running time of just under an hour, the album’s lengthy seven songs have no shortage of entrancing riffs, blast beats, melodic leads, and wailing shrieks. Immediately I was hurled into a whirlwind of black metal chaos when the album began. While much of the album is like this, there are moments where Drudkh weaves their signature folk sound into the sonic mayhem of black metal (their use of acoustic guitars in “Cursed Sons II” is an obvious example of this). The atmosphere is on point, as well. While the songs featured in this album are long, they never feel boring or monotonous – courtesy of Drudkh’s ability to write unique, melancholy riffs and organize them in a way that pleases the ear.
Although the tracks have a tendency to blend together, the album has several standout moments to note. These include the hypnotising, mid-tempo middle passage of “Dishonor II” and the entirety of “To The Epoch of Unbounded Poets”, which happens to be my favorite song off of the record. The melodic guitar lines on this track are something to behold.
I don’t have many complaints about the production. It’s easy to make out riffs, though the guitars often blend together with the rest of the instruments. The drumming, while often intense, gives the rest of the band breathing room and maintains the qualities you’d typically expect from black metal drumming. The bass, while a tad quiet, is most definitely present. In general, nothing feels overproduced and a raw edge is maintained.
…A Furrow Cut Short is a strong album from a band that has already proven their quality to the genre. While it’s not perfect in that I feel like the album would have benefited from more variation on Drudkh’s already well-known sound, the album delivers memorable black metal with an atmospheric and folky edge. If you are already familiar with Drudkh, then you should already have a pretty good idea as to what to expect from this album. If not, then I definitely urge you to look into this release.