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|Labels||Season of Mist|
|Associated acts||Hate Forest, Astrofaes, Blood of Kingu, Windswept|
|Website||Drudkh on Facebook|
Drudkh is a Ukrainian black metal band. It currently consists of Roman Saenko (former member of Hate Forest and Dark Ages), Thurios (former member of Astrofaes), Krechet, and Vlad. All four also belonged to Blood of Kingu until it was disbanded. Their lyrics embrace Slavic mythology. 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 political interpretations of their music specifically and "extreme political views" more generally, therefore declaring themselves a non-political band. From their conception until 2009, Drudkh did not have any official website, but in May 2009, Season of Mist launched an official Myspace, operated by the label rather than the band.
Drudkh have released ten albums, two EPs, three splits, and one anthology collecting material from the band's early splits and EPs. Their early releases were released on CD through the English extreme metal record label Supernal Music, with the exception of the EP (which was a vinyl release), and, again with the exception of the EP, on vinyl through two Finnish black metal labels, Northern Heritage and Faustian Distribution. More recent release have been through Season of Mist, which has also issued remastered versions of the band's earlier albums as digipaks.
The band's first album, Forgotten Legends, was released on August 18, 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 its predecessor's general mood and atmosphere, it distinguishes itself by incorporating 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 well reviewed 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. Its CD booklet included prints of Shevchenko's notebooks, which many non-Ukrainian-speaking fans mistook for song lyrics. The addition of Shevchenko's poetry can also be said to have given Drudkh's music a more pronounced nationalistic leaning (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 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, nationalist 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 Drudkh's first record to appear in the Terrorizer Top 40 year list, placing at number 35.
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). Uniquely in Drudkh's catalogue, this release is composed of folk music, with much of the music containing melodic elements 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. Season of Mist later re-released it as a mini CD in 2009 as part of the deluxe box-set edition of Microcosmos, and it was also included on the band's collection Eastern Frontier in Flames.
The band's next release, a full-length black metal album titled Estrangement (Вiдчуженiсть), was released on August 25, 2007 as a deluxe edition. The album, which had the working 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. Its lyrics were 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 Bandera's life and assassination.
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 was released through the label Underground Activists, published by Season of Mist. The standard CD version is a digipak; a limited edition box set also contained an MCD re-release of Anti-Urban. The lyrics are once again taken from Ukrainian poets, like Ivan Franko, Oleh Olzhych or Bohdan Rubchak. The outro is sampled from Atentat. The album was praised by critics, ranking eleventh in Terrorizer's Top 40 Albums of 2009 and third in Haunting the Chapel's (Stereogum's metal section) Top 30 Metal Albums of 2009.
In November 2009, Season of Mist began re-releasing Drudkh's whole catalogue, starting with remastered reissues of Forgotten Legends and Autumn Aurora, and finishing with new editions of Songs of Grief and Solitude and Estrangement in June 2010.
Drudkh's eighth full-length album, 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 bore influence from post-rock. The record received mixed reviews as a result, 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 tenth album, A Furrow Cut Short, was released on April 20, 2015.
- Roman Saenko (Роман Саєнко) – guitars (2003–present)
- Thurios (Roman Blahykh, Роман Благих) – vocals, guitars (2003–present)
- Krechet – bass (2006–present)
- Vlad – drums, keyboards (2006–present)
- 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)
- A Furrow Cut Short (2015)
- EPs and splits
- Anti-Urban (2007)
- Slavonic Chronicles (2010)
- Thousands of Moons Ago / The Gates (2014; split with Winterfylleth)
- One Who Talks With The Fog / Pyre Era, Black! (2016; split with Hades Almighty)
- Betrayed By The Sun / Mirages (2016; split with Grift)
- Somewhere Sadness Wanders / Schnee (IV) (2017; split with Paysage d'Hiver)
- Eastern Frontier in Flames (2014; compiles the band's material from their EPs and splits to date)
- True, Chris. "Drudkh - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
- "Terrorizer Magazine's Top 40 Black Metal Albums". IGN Boards. October 30, 2009. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
- "CoC : Rant : Best Albums of 2004". Chronicles of Chaos. February 28, 2005. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
- Polarstern, Smierc (2010). "Drudkh’s anthology of time". Politosophia.
- "Terrorizer Magazine". Rocklist.net. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
- "Drudkh (Ukr): 'Estrangement' CD Deluxe". Supernal Music. August 30, 2007. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
- "New Signing". Season of Mist's News. Archived from the original on June 22, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2008.
- "Season of Mist's News". Seasons of Mist. Retrieved April 7, 2009.[dead link]
- "Drudkh - Microcosmos (2009)". MetalArea.org (in Ukrainian). June 11, 2009. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
- "The 30 Best Metal Albums of 2009". Stereogum. December 19, 2009. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
- "Drudkh Re-Releases Announced". Drudkh's Official Myspace Blog. November 9, 2009. Retrieved November 21, 2009.
- "Haunting the Chapel's Top 50 Albums of 2010". Stereogum. December 21, 2010. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
- "Drudkh, Eternal Turn of the Wheel Album, Pagan Black Metal". Season of Mist. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
- "Old Silver Key, Tales of Wanderings Album, Post Rock". Season of Mist. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
- "Old Silver Key News: Old Silver Key Update". Season of Mist. June 28, 2011. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
- "Drudkh: 'Eternal Turn of the Wheel' Full Album Stream". Metal CallOut. February 22, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
- "Drudkh: A Furrow Cut Short". Season of Mist. February 27, 2015. Retrieved March 6, 2015.