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Drudkh – “Eternal Turn of The Wheel” – [Season of Mist]

Rat King   9/24/2017   A Library, CD

Old Man Winter

Drudkh are a band of four Ukrainian black metallers, active since 2002 (with some changes in lineup). Their current lineup has been in place since 2006. Drudkh has disavowed any political or ideological associations with their music, but it does have a strong thread of Ukrainian nationalism running through it, manifest in their use of Ukrainian poets’ work as lyrics, particularly that of Taras Shevchenko, as well as Ukrainian folkloric themes. They are proud Slavic heathens, often writing about nature. I would guess that they are not fond of Russia. The meaning of the word drudkh is unclear, although it may be a romanisation of a Sanskrit word for wood (as in “a block of wood”).

Their 2012 album “Eternal Turn of the Wheel”, released on Season of Mist, has a theme of changing seasons, with one track for each season as well as an instrumental introduction. Apparently every season is cold in Ukrayina.

The introduction lasts little more than one minute and consists of wind noises and acoustic guitar. The season tracks are somewhat long, running about eight to ten minutes depending on the track. Drudkh’s sound is guitar-based, with riffs rather on the melodic side, but they also love synth keyboards, which moves it into solidly atmospheric territory. The drumming is usually quite slow and nature sounds (more wind, thunder, some birds of prey) are a recurring feature. It’s a funerary procession in the cold woods featuring a man screaming in Ukrainian. You can hear bells in spring.

The lyrics to spring mention water still sleeping under a sheet of ice, dead trees and snow, while summer is foggy and still. Autumn sees rain, wind and grassfire. Winter mentions darkness, snow and ice. Fairly straightforward.

Hail the Great Wheel.

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