Drudkh - Handful Of Stars

Ukranian black metal crew Drudkh’s last album Microcosmos landed at number three on my 30 Best Metal Albums Of 2009. As I said then, “The smallest details are accounted for … deep weirdly seafaring bass sound (see ’Distant Cries Of Cranes’), darkly cascading guitars (and masterfully patient solos), massive dynamic shifts, subtle keyboards … It feels effortless, but remains as deeply thought as their best work.” The last we heard from the guys they were blasting and buzzing through a cover of Beherit’s “The Gate Of Nanna” as Drudkh side-project Blood Of Kingu, but things get especially pretty on eighth album, Handful Of Stars. The quartet has a stellar oeuvre that contains a number of classics — Forgotten Legends, Autumn Aurura, Blood In Our Wells, The Swan Road, the aforementioned Microcosmos. They’re one of the most important active black metal bands on the planet. And Handful Of Stars may very well be their greatest work to date — though the experimental, progressive, melancholic piano/keyboard, and gauzy “shoegaze” elements will undoubtedly piss off purists. Take a listen to standouts “Twilight Aureole” and “Towards The Light,” make up your own mind. The lyrics were inspired by the Ukrainian poets Oleksa Stefanovych and Svyatoslav Gordynskyj.

Season Of Mist just uploaded a free MP3 of “Towards The Light.”

Listen in order:

01 “Cold Landscapes”
02 “Downfall of the Epoch”
03 “Towards the Light”
04 “Twilight Aureole”
05 “The Day Will Come”
06 “Listening to the Silence”

Handful Of Stars came out yesterday (9/21) via Season Of Mist. I envy those of you hearing “The Day Will Come” for the first time. Regarding the headline: I know we also have Kylesa, Agalloch (!!), Alcest, Nachtmystium, Enslaved, Salome, Triptykon, Castevet, Yakuza, Burzum, etc., to contend with this year (so far) … Who else?

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Comments (35)
  1. Don’t forget, Ludicra’s The Tenant….

  2. right now its between this and Alcest for my album of the year so far. one question though…”the day will come” being 20 minutes long? is that an alternate version or something? the only one i’ve seen is a little over 9 minutes.

    • Pretty hilarious. The download the label gave me somehow splices together “The Day Will Come” twice, creating this really really epic version of what should normally be a 9:06 song. I like my extended version better.

      • hahaha…awesome. drudkh is a band that would lend itself toward looping songs like that I would think…at least you get to listen to that soaring riff at the end of the song twice!

  3. FYI, Drudkh’s main man’s old band, Hate Forest, was a Nazi black metal outfit. It stands to reason that Drudkh is thus bullshit, much like Burzum.

  4. This a goddamn joke, right? Both of those songs were terrible.

  5. So far Belus is still my favorite album released this year, followed by Watain’s Lawless Darkness, Year of no Light’s Ausserwelt and Immolation’s Majesty and Decay. But I know that the new Agalloch is going to end up first, there’s just no way around it.

    I listened to that new Drudkh album today, it was alright. Maybe it will grow on me.

  6. My favorites this year are Nachtmystium, Alcest, The Ocean (still waiting on Anthropocentric), Enslaved, Ihsahn, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Burzum, Triptykon, etc…

  7. ok, so i hope that some Haunting The Chapel folk can help me out here. i am not very knowledgeable about black metal but i enjoy other types of metal, plus indie, folk, bluegrass, hip-hop, shoegaze, blah blah i’m open-minded when it comes to music.

    i am so into Drudkh. until the vocal. musically, i like this band very much, as i have several other black metal bands (although i understand this to be uncharacteristic, musically, of traditional black metal – correct me if i’m wrong).. but wow when that vocal comes in—to me—it sounds like someone just shit on my calamari. but! i understand that everyones’ tastes are different and that’s part of what makes music so great.

    so my question to black metal fans: what do you find appealing about the vocals in this genre? i’m not being condescending, just asking an honest question. i find the ‘meat-throat’ style vocals to be grating and they distract me from the crafted musicianship of the band(s). also, having sampled Drudkh, i’m left with the feeling that the vocal style is the only factor that distinguishes black metal from, say, prog rock, or modern shoegaze-whatever in this case. am i wrong to think that?

    i’d just love to hear how black metal fans feel about this characteristic vocal style, and what is it about the style that you respond to/are attracted to. thanks! ~mike

    • for me its kind of the otherwordly aspect. granted, a “growly” vocalist has to get it right for me, and I can be picky about those kinds of vocals (no distortion or effects; many of these vocalists really sound like that!), but when I do like the vocals, its almost like the voice can be a transmission from another world or something, which is something I like to get out of my music. I listen to a lot of punk and indie rock too, and actually didn’t discover extreme metal until later in my musical development, and actually found the vocals to be a big drawing point as they were something different. personally, I tend to find the affected whine of a lot of indie rock vocalists to be a lot more grating than growly vocals, but as you said, its a taste thing.

    • With a band like Drudkh, I think part of the appeal of the “harsh” vocals is the counterpoint they provide.

      With death metal, it’s the added brutality, I would say.

  8. I guess it’s just the right match for the music, at least that’s how it should be IMO. Nasty music calls for nasty vocals. Contrast can work too of course, sometimes. I don’t know how much metal listeners focus on the vocals anyway, I’d bet at the end of the day for most people it’s just another instrument in the mix. You have to get used to it, I didn’t like that at all either at first.

  9. I think, judging a book by its cover, it’s safe to say “no.”

  10. I agree about the vocals. They are very cheesy. Sometimes it works though. Liturgy is fantastic! The best albums of the year so far are the Alcest, Ariel Pink, and Caribou albums. With the Women and Deerhunter albums not too far behind.

  11. best of 2010? this is boring. and not original.

  12. Its good. Real good. But have you heard the new Swans. Hol-ee Shit! That gets my vote for album of the year thus far. Looking forward to kylesa and agalloch as well.

  13. woozefa  |   Posted on Sep 24th, 2010 0

    i’ll be honest. this is not my kind of music AT ALL. that said, i really dug the intro and was grooving on the riffs until the dude started singing. then i just collapsed helplessly into laughter. sorry. glad you all are digging it though.

  14. I haven’t heard one split second of marrow of the spirit yet, and i have no doubt in my mind it will be album of the year. Don’t think i’ve ever been more excited for an album. Brandon have you heard anything from it yet? If so what do you think so far?

    • I have a copy of Marrow… and it’s amazing. It’s definitely in the race for metal album of the year. Hard to describe because it’s incredibly ambitious, diverse. Will hopefully post something soon — when I get the go ahead from the band and label.

      • I hate you so much right now. Any chance you can tell us about the direction they’re taking with this one? Is it inspired by Bela Tarr’s Werckmeister Harmonies as the first song’s title suggests?

        • Each song is really different, so it’s hard to nail down… Definitely their most expansive, exploratory album so far. I’m still digesting. Will give it a close listen tonight and report back.

  15. Sooooo..here’s the thing: Metal is similar to Reggae, Prog., The Grateful Dead, Techo and several other musical trips a soul can take. It’s a great trip and each every one of them will round out the music geeks understanding of sound. The other thing these trips (and several others) do is “lock-up” the music geek.
    If you’re not careful you can get stuck in these ruts and not move forward. Actually forward is not quite right……around would be better. When you hear a Metal fan say that the band X new album is
    “incredibly ambitious, diverse” what we’re talking about here is “incredibly ambitious, diverse” for METAL.
    To say that anything in metal is truly ambitious and diverse is perverse. The music itself is limiting due to it’s one overwhelming goal: brutality. Don’t get me wrong, brutality has it’s place and I love it when I’m in the mood for it. Just as I love things that are beautiful, weird or sad. And when those moods hit me I might grab Jens Lekman, Ariel Pink of Bon Iver, respectively…..Keep moving forward my fellow geeks.

    • if you think agalloch’s overall goal in music is brutality you clearly haven’t heard them. Also did you listen to these songs? I would call them a lot more melodic than brutal, and they’re metal. You clearly don’t listen to much metal at all if you think metal can’t be truly ambitious or diverse.

    • I know i shouldn’t let these comments make me mad but rereading this comment just shows me a gigantic music snob who knows nothing about the genre he/she’s chosen to bash. Obviously you haven’t heard of any developments in metal since the late eighties since you think metal can only be brutal. Metal is one of the most diverse genres of music there is incorporating almost every other conceivable genre of rock there is. There is metal just for the sake of brutality but none of the bands that are being talked about on this page would fall into that category. Listen to the music before you choose to place yourself above the listeners of the music or you end up looking like an idiot.

  16. I didn’t like Microcosmos at all, it lacked bite and felt formulaic. This new one is much better, but bands like Drudkh of WitTR will never be favourites, simply not my taste. The Watain and Nachtmystium are 2010 favorites, but I’d add Diamonds by Enforcer and two albums by bands that are not really metal, but do evoke the spirit of great bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin: Black Mountain’s Wilderness Heart and The Dead Weather’s A Sea of Cowards.

  17. New Drudkh is very good, though it is not as great as “Autumn Aurora”, in my opinion. The best releases of 2010 thus far are Abigor (total evil avantgarde, complex and devastating, unique band!), Nachtmystium and Ihsahn. I am sure that there are plenty of good records to hear, for example, new Enslaved (I did not hear a lot of albums yet).
    Speaking about Drudkh’s previous effort: I did not like “Microcosmos” at all, except the final part of “Ars Poetica”, maybe.
    What was the real masterpiece of Kharkiv scene in 2009, is “The Voice of Steel” by Nokturnal Mortum, and it’s not only best Ukrainian record of 2009, it is real brilliant, one of the most interesting metal albums of the last years, an outstanding gem! If you did not hear it yet, just find it, and it will definitely take it’s place in your best-of list. This group could be much more popular, if not their connection to NSBM scene (that is in the past now, as far as I know).

  18. The debut of this band called Vestiges is the best metal album of the year thus far but most people will not listen to it.

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