(Season of Mist, 2016)
#FOR FANS OF: Black/Epic, Agalloch
Metal is a vast, versatile, and global subculture of musicians and fans with enclaves, scenes, and subgroups hidden under nearly every culture's surface. This style of music, while abrasive, is a strong and touching medium where composers impart a vast array of emotions on each listener in increasingly inventive ways. As with any subjective form of art, each listener may glean his own meaning from the music, its imagery, and the outlook on the world that has birthed it. However, metal sets itself apart as a most precious style to its followers where fandom and fanaticism seem one and the same. Albeit precocious to outsiders, many metal fans don't just tune in through a phase in their lives. The music becomes internalized as a consistent catharsis in listeners lives. Bands like Drudkh play a very intimate version of such an audacious sub-genre as black metal heralding a deep divide between fans who don't see this band as true enough for them and fans who admire a humbler rumble that, despite its calmer demeanor, will still evoke a strong reaction. While Drudkh is a well-established black metal act that breaks the mold with its more positive and less percussive sound, Grift plays a lament closer to the heart that denotes a derided desperation in the mind's weaved wilderness.
Ukraine's stalwart black metal band, Drudkh has brought another EP out of the forest and in true form has given fire to lamenting riffs rather than cowing to despair. “His Twenty-Fourth Spring” walks you through the curves of a woodsy road into an open meadow bristling with spring flowers and grass as the clouds clear and the crisp air thickens with the bird songs and pollen of a new year. Layered with a cold lead guitar leaving a bite in the atmosphere, hot drums warming the soil, and a rhythm guitar that keeps the peace between them both, each progression brings new life into the song as the pacing shakes off the chains of winter and stretches itself out to embrace a world renewed. In response to the rebirth of “His Twenty-Fourth Spring” is “Autumn in Sepia”, a furious denial of the coming winter that refuses to be pummeled by the changing of the winds without pummeling back. The change in tone is deeply apparent as spring comes with ease and its arrival is relished while autumn's melancholy is met by preparation. The guitars launch themselves at the drums and vocals creating a blistering cacophony that burns itself against the coming cold. Autumn is far more focused and driven to survive the oncoming winter while spring was laid back and enjoying its time in the sun. Drudkh tells a timeless story in these songs signaling the producing and parting periods that the temperate zone is known for and the effect the climate has on its inhabitants.
Desperately crying for relief, Swedish one-man band Grift begs to be heard across the expanse that Eric Gardenfors' music creates, exacerbated by furious notes only to denote the anguish of this isolation. “The Source” yearns to be found by hopeless dreamers who have nothing left to give but need an outlet from this crippling melancholy melody. “The Source” drives this hopelessness home by guiding you from that destructive depression into a drowning defile of bitterness, one that Gardenfors describes with malice in lyrics that offer a scathing cross examination as the protagonist is prosecuted. Where Drudkh brought you sun, Grift brings rain and heartache, tempering anguish on a simmering scale of drum rhythm while the boisterous beauty of its music accentuates anguish and drives dread into your hankering heart. Sol gives you no heat in these cycles. Instead it is as lacking in drive as your own thoughts create mirages of doubt when indulging in foregone failures and wrests the hope from your hapless hands. The cycle is complete as you break down into the bottle again, beauty and misery forged into the melancholy that Grift called “The Circle”. Where Drudkh brought heat and harmony, Grift gave frigid anguish and doubt. These sets of songs compliment each other well in their juxtaposition.