|This article may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. (November 2013)|
|Genres||Black metal, folk metal|
|Labels||Season of Mist|
|Associated acts||Hate Forest, Astrofaes, Blood of Kingu|
Drudkh is a Ukrainian metal band that mixes elements of folk metal and black metal. They were formed by Roman Saenko, prolific metal musician, the leading member of Hate Forest, Dark Ages and Blood of Kingu; Thurios, the leading member of Astrofaes and, with Saenko, a former member of Hate Forest; and Yuriy Synytsky, of Lucifugum (session drummer) and Definition Sane. Their lyrical contents embrace Slavic mythology, seasons and poetry. Many of the band's lyrics are derived from the works of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Ukrainian poets, especially Taras Shevchenko.
Drudkh have been particularly secretive throughout the course of their career, even for a black metal band, giving no interviews and not releasing the lyrics to several of their albums. They have also disavowed radical politics.
Drudkh have released nine albums and two EPs on the English extreme metal record label Supernal Music. All albums (with the exception of the EP) have also been released on vinyl through two Finnish black metal labels, Northern Heritage and Faustian Distribution.
The band's first album, Forgotten Legends, was released on February 23, 2003. The album establishes the band's trademark epic sound; its three tracks and one outro span nearly forty minutes, with the longest track, "False Dawn", nearing the sixteen-minute mark. Now considered a classic, Terrorizer included Forgotten Legends in its Top 40 Black Metal albums list.
Autumn Aurora followed on November 28, 2004 (see 2004 in music). While continuing the same general mood and atmosphere of its predecessor, it distinguishes itself from its predecessor by being the first Drudkh album to incorporate synthesizers and other such keyboard instruments. Autumn Aurora has frequently been cited as Drudkh's finest album, although some fans give the nod to the later Blood in Our Wells. This record had a strong critical success: for example, it was chosen the best album of the year by Chronicles of Chaos web-zine.
After Autumn Aurora, Amorth (drums, keyboards) joined the band and replaced Yuriy.
The Swan Road (Лебединий Шлях), released on March 14, 2005 (see 2005 in music), marked a departure in a number of ways. It was very well received and is the first Drudkh album to have Ukrainian lyrics, all of which are adapted or taken directly from the work The Haidamakas (1841) by Taras Shevchenko, narrating about the famous Ukrainian anti-Polish peasant rebellion of 1768. Booklet of CD included the prints of Shevchenko's notebooks, which were mistaken for songs lyrics by many non-Ukrainian-speaking fans. With the addition of Shevchenko's poetry, the material can also be said to have taken a more pronounced nationalistic leaning on this release (a move continued on the next album). The music's atmosphere is also significantly more urgent, with the drums pushed to the forefront of the mix and a vastly increased use of blast beats.
On March 23, 2006 (see 2006 in music), Drudkh released Blood in Our Wells (Кров у Наших Криницях), once again through Supernal Music. On this album, poetry from four of the most respected nineteenth- and twentieth-century Ukrainian poets (including Oleksandr Oles and Lina Kostenko) serves as lyrical material, and the album itself was dedicated to the memory of Stepan Bandera, legendary leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. Musically, the album adds progressive rock influences and an increased use of traditional heavy metal soloing into the mix, while retaining the band's trademark blend of black metal and traditional Ukrainian folk music. In part because several tracks sample the Ukrainian poetic film Mamay (2003), the album is considered more cinematic than its predecessors. Many fans have cited this album as the band's best work to date. It was a first Drudkh record to appear in Terrorizer Top 40 year list, achieving the 35 position.
After the release of Blood in Our Wells, Amorth was exiled from the band and new members Krechet (bass) and Vlad (drums) joined.
On October 19, 2006, Drudkh released Songs of Grief and Solitude (Пісні Скорботи і Самітності), marking a different path for the band. Rather than being a black metal album, this release is composed of folk music, with much of the music inspired by, or even taken directly from, previous Drudkh compositions (for example, "The Cranes Will Never Return Here" is based on a riff from "Solitude" on Blood in Our Wells, and "Archaic Dance" is based on a riff from "Glare of 1768" on The Swan Road). It is entirely instrumental, with barely any drumming, and prominently features wind instruments. The album received mixed reviews, with some fans criticising the band for reusing old material, and others praising the band's radical reconstruction of its own sound.
On April 16, 2007 (see 2007 in music), Supernal Music released Drudkh's Anti-Urban, a 45-RPM 10 inch coloured vinyl limited to 999 copies containing exclusive tracks available only to Supernal Music customers. It was re-released as mini CD in 2009 as part of deluxe box-set edition of Microcosmos album by Season of Mist.
The band's next release, a full-length black metal album titled Estrangement (Вiдчуженiсть), was released on August 25, 2007 as a deluxe version. The album, which was previously known under the title River of Tears, had been rumored to have a "Burzumic" feel before its release, and in some ways this was borne out by the album's release; its songs were in many ways significantly more minimalistic than those on Blood in Our Wells and its lyrics based completely on the 1931-1932 works of Ukrainian poet Oleh Olzhych. Reception to the album has been largely positive, with many fans hailing it as a return to the band's roots or praising the band's musicianship demonstrated in the album's many solos. Notably, the album also featured the band's first prominent use of blast beats since The Swan Road. A spoken introduction in the first track is taken from the 1995 Ukrainian feature film Atentat about life and assassination of Stepan Bandera.
In Autumn 2008, the band signed with the French label Season of Mist. On June 22 (July 14 in United States), 2009, the seventh Drudkh album Microcosmos has been released under label Underground Activists and published by Season of Mist. The release was on CD digipak version and a limited edition box-set with an MCD re-release of Anti-Urban EP. In this album, the band continues using lyrics from Ukrainian poets, like Ivan Franko, Oleh Olzhych or Bohdan Rubchak. Like in Estrangement, the outro is taken from the 1995 Ukrainian feature film Atentat. The album was praised by critics: it was ranked 11 in Terrorizer Top 40 Albums of 2009 and 3 in Top 30 Metal Albums of 2009 by Haunting the Chapel, the Stereogum heavy music section. In November 2009, Season of Mist have started to re-release Drudkh's whole catalogue with the remastered reissues of Forgotten Legends and Autumn Aurora. All Drudkh's full-length albums were re-released by their new label in nearly half a year, finishing with new editions of Songs of Grief and Solitude and Estrangement in June 2010.
Drudkh's eighth full-length album called Handful of Stars (Пригорща зірок) was released on September 21, 2010, via Season of Mist. Critics and fans noticed the changes in style and sound: it was much clearer than previous efforts and was obviously influenced by post-rock and such bands as Alcest. Due to these features record received the mixed reviews, though it appeared in Haunting the Chapel 's Top 50 Albums of 2010 at 8 position. Again, for lyrics was used the poetry of Ukrainian authors, such as Oleksa Stefanovych and Svyatoslav Gordynskyj. The release of new Drudkh full-length was supported with Slavonic Chronicles mini album, which consisted two covers of Master's Hammer and Sacrilegium. It was released as a CD only with deluxe edition of Handful of Stars and also as 10" LP including download card to get the digital version of the record. As opposed to Handful of Stars, Slavonic Chronicles was much more stylistically similar to their older works like Blood in Our Wells.
The post-rock direction, that was present at Handful of Stars, has been developed in new project titled Old Silver Key by Drudkh members with famous French artist Neige from Alcest and other bands on vocals. This supergroup signed to Season of Mist and released debut record titled Tales of Wanderings on September 16 (September 27 in North America), 2011.
Drudkh's new album titled Eternal Turn of the Wheel, recorded in summer 2011, was released on February 24 (March 13 in North America), 2012, through Season of Mist. It marks a return to the band's roots – long emotional compositions, inspired by nature and seasons change.
Band members since Estrangement
- Roman (Roman Saenko, Роман Саєнко; also in Hate Forest, Dark Ages, Blood of Kingu and Old Silver Key) – guitars (2003–present)
- Thurios (Roman Blahykh, Роман Благих; also in Hate Forest, Astrofaes, Blood of Kingu, Old Silver Key and Kladovest) – vocals, guitars (2003–present)
- Krechet (also in former Astrofaes, Blood of Kingu, Old Silver Key) – bass (2006–present)
- Vlad – drums, keyboards (2006–present)
Former band members
- Yuriy Synytsky (also session for Lucifugum, 2001–2007; also in Blood of Kingu) – session drums
- Amorth – session drums (2005)
- Studio albums
- Forgotten Legends (2003)
- Autumn Aurora (2004)
- The Swan Road (2005)
- Blood in Our Wells (2006)
- Songs of Grief and Solitude (2006)
- Estrangement (2007)
- Microcosmos (2009)
- Handful of Stars (2010)
- Eternal Turn of the Wheel (2012)
- EPs and Splits
- Anti-Urban (2007)
- Slavonic Chronicles (2010)
- Thousands of Moons Ago / The Gates (2014; split with Winterfylleth)
- Eastern Frontier in Flames (2014; compiles the band's material from their EPs and splits to date)
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