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Album Reviews : Drudkh – Handful of Stars

By on September 20, 2010

Will the new album from Ukraine’s Drudkh be the release that finally appeases the whinging little bitches screaming out for Autumn Aurora II? Absolutely not, thank God. I can’t imagine my fascination with this band being as strong as it is if they had just gone on to release Autumn Aurora IV or V. Handful of Stars sees Drudkh venture further into progressive/post black territory.

The 8th album since their inception in 2003, and their second release with label Season of Mist, is an extension of last year’s phenomenal Microscosmos. The layout and song writing feel somewhat similar but the introduction of clean riffs and melody give Handful of Stars a completely different feel. It’s not until the 5th track (of the six), “Towards the Light”, that a blastbeat or a tremolo riff make an appearance.

The clean guitar is an audacious move and one which will further alienate the black metal purists. However, the true admirers of this band that appreciate and expect the subtle changes in direction and pre-ordered this album months ago – you’ll not be disappointed. The production is once again crisp which has been a noticeable feature since their move to Season of Mist and Roman Saenko’s harsh vocals are brilliant as always.

I don’t think it quite reaches the dizzy heights of Microcosmos. For one thing the quirky intro and interludes we’ve been treated to on previous albums, and come to look forward to as much as the songs, have been replaced by a sombre piano introduction and acoustic interlude. It’s not that these moments are unpleasant but they just don’t match it with, for example, the haunting “Nav’” from Blood in Our Wells or the folk inspired “Days That Passed” from Microcosmos.

The four main tracks are 10 minute plus epics with the highlight (and possibly the Drudkh highlight to date) is “Towards the Light”; the hypnotic variety of different tones and textures is simply brilliant. Handful of Stars is another proud addition to the artistic and inventive vision of Drudkh. Highly Recommended. 8.5/10

Band: Drudkh
Album: Handful of Stars
Year: 2010
Genre: Atmospheric black metal
Label: Season of Mist/Riot!
Origin: Ukraine
http://www.myspace.com/drudkhofficial

Track List:
1. Cold Landscapes
2. The Day Will Come
3. Downfall of the Epoch
4. Listening to the Silence
5. Towards the Light
6. Twilight Aureole

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.