By Laura Wiebe Taylor
Microcosmos, the latest record from elusive Ukrainians Drudkh, has been hailed by many fans as the band’s return to folkish black metal form. The album is teasingly short – four full songs in the middle with a brief folk instrumental at either end. The serious substance lies in those four lengthy central tracks – raw blackened aggression, potently emotional melodies, uneasy acoustic interludes, pulsing riffs, atmospheric drones, and a handful of unsettling heavy metal solos. The music’s elemental qualities are arranged in a tense ever-shifting balance, flowing from one riff, one lead, one song to the next, then sometimes taking an abrupt change in direction. The bass plays a prominent role in the sonic and compositional mix, providing a reverberating counterpoint to higher-pitched leads and an essential weight anchoring the album’s melodic meanderings to the rhythmic momentum underneath. Microcosmos is Drudkh’s first album for Season of Mist, but it carries no compromises for a potentially larger audience – Drudkh remains rewarding but also difficult. Their newest record is sophistication without veneer, a visceral and kaleidoscopic brew.
(Season of Mist)