REVIEW: DRUDKH – “A Few Lines In Archaic Ukrainian”
Drudkh is one of the most influential modern black metal bands today. Its style of atmospheric and East European folk-influenced black metal has shaped a lot of atmospheric black metal music that came after it. 2018 saw Drudkh release their full length ‘They Often See Dreams About the Spring’ and it turned out to be one of their best since their early classic releases.
Amidst their full-length releases, the band released several splits in the last few years. ‘A Few Lines in Archaic Ukrainian’ is a compilation of tracks of these splits EPs. The lyrics of these tracks are either direct words of or inspired by Ukrainian poetry penned by poets who lost their lives under the cruel Soviet regime. Featuring 6 tracks, 2 from an EP each, Drudkh takes us on more adventures of folksy landscapes.
The first two tracks “Golden Horse” and “Fiery Serpent” are from the split ‘One Who Talks With the Fog / Pyre Era, Black!’ with Hades Almighty. The lyrical themes on these two tracks were inspired by the poetry of Ukrainian writer Volodymyr Svidzins’kyi. These tracks are some of the heaviest and ferocious Drudkh has sounded in a while. The drumming on this is spectacular and sound very hungry and crisp.
The next two tracks “His Twenty-Fourth Spring” and “Autumn In Sepia” are from the split ‘Betrayed by the Sun / Hägringar’ with Grist. The lyrics of “His Twenty-Fourth Spring” were written by Ukrainian poet Bohdan-Ihor Antonych. The lyrics of “Autumn In Sepia” features words from Mike Johansen. These two tracks are more in line with the Drudkh we know well. Echoey atmosphere laced with folksy and emotive melodies gels the string of riffs admirably.
The last two tracks are from the split ‘Somewhere Sadness Wanders / Schnee (IV)’ with Paysage D’hiver. The split had the interplay of Drudkh’s autumn and Paysage D’hiver’s winter and together formed a strong release. The track “All Shades Of Silence” was inspired by the writings of Ukrainian writer Yevhen Pluzhnyk. The track “The Night Walks Towards Her Throne” was penned by Ukrainian poet Maik Yohansen. The tracks are standard Drudkh affair with the creation of melancholic moods of the autumn season. One of the most interesting parts here is the long ambient/dungeon synth sections in “All Shades of Silence” that stands out in the track for the depressive yet calming vibe it has.
‘A Few Lines in Archaic Ukrainian’ is a beautiful ode to Ukrainian poets and writers who influenced and inspired Drudkh’s themes and philosophy. The compilation sees Drudkh shape into different forms of aggression, fervor, and sentiment. The tracks work well both as part of their splits or separate works.