Despite the fact that my listening trends towards “extreme metal” (whatever that even means), I’ve always gravitated towards melodic music. I love repeatitive, trance inducing arrangements of notes that loop for long periods of time. I prefer atmosphere to aggression, beauty to dissonance (for the most part), and A lot of people all of that boring. Sucks for them or something. Drudkh excels at all of these things I like, and are responsible for one of the best metal albums ever.
Drudkh is by far one of the most melodic and atmospheric bands of the genre. In fact, I can think of very few bands that better define, for me, what atmospheric black metal is supposed to sound like. The riffs are not raging, at 300 bpm, and there’s very little if any blast beats to found as a rule throughout their catalog. However, the mournful, Ukranian folk inspired melodies, coupled with bluesy and rock and roll influenced leadwork, sets Drudkh apart from their peers, if for no other reason but pure instrumental prowess. Hell, Drudkh is one of the few black metal bands who has a bass player you can not only actually hear, but you’re happy when you do. The vocals are fairly typical for the genre, but the venom behind them sounds so real, and the delivery is so consistent. That’s pretty much Drudkh’s game; they didn’t reinvent the wheel, they just took a blueprint started by bands like Burzum and perfected it. Their songs are hummable, memorable, and have staying power. I haven’t gone a winter since I first heard them without listening to them A LOT.
Interesting to note; most of the members of this band are in side projects together, like Windswept, Blood of Kingu, Precambrian, and Dark Ages. In further testament to their truly talented songwriting, all of these bands sound sort of like some aspect of Drudkh, but also have their own identity that sets them apart. Oh, and they’re all also great.
My personal favorite thing about Drudkh is how they keep progressing, while not fucking with the formula too much. Drudkh has remained a constant go to band for the last 10 years, across all of their work. While certain albums have added post rock flourishes, and hell, they even have a fully folk album, any fan of Drudkh can hear a song from any era and immediately identify it as them. I loved their split from this year, and look forward to them announcing, soon, as they tend to take little time between albums, their next step.