Suprenal Music, 2005
Genre: Black Metal
2.Вічне Сонце (Eternal Sun)
3. Кров (Blood)
4. Заграва 1768-ого (Glare of 1768)
5. Ціна Волі (The Price of Freedom)
6. Доля (Fate)
7. Дума Про Руйнування Січі (Song of Sich Destruction)
After hearing the brilliance of “Autumn Aurora” I absolutely had to hear what the follow up album would sound like. One of the things that draw people to Drudkh is their overly hypnotic musical approach. When the album opens with “1648” it appears that we are all going to get what we asked for another time around. However, appearances surely can be deceiving because when “Eternal Sun” kicks in we are presented with some fairly straight forward Black Metal. Nothing all that hypnotic like last time, in fact it opens with a full on blast beat sequence. I found this mostly confusing because it just sounds an awful lot like a Hate Forest album. Why didn’t Saenko just use this kind of an approach for a Hate Forest album? If you listen carefully you can really hear the usual Drudkh guitar line show through in the song as it is being played through that first sequence. As the track progresses it goes into a beautiful acoustic passage and then smoothly slides into that Drudkh we all know and love to hear. It eventually goes into another blast sequence, but it has some real folk overtones shifting between what sounds like a flute and a layered guitar lead, so it doesn’t really take away from that Drudkh essence all that much in the great scheme of things.
While “The Swan Road” is distinctly a Drudkh release by the overall play and representation of the music, it is still far to varied in comparison to the previous works. That hypnotic droning Black Metal approach has sort of been completely put aside on this album. Much of the music is similar to the second track I described above, but maybe with a bit more emphasis on the slower passages and the blending of acoustic guitar pieces. It definitely has more of a focal point around folk elements than previous Drudkh work, which overall is really cool. I just question whether or not he should have called this a Drudkh album. I realize that they were somewhat folk oriented on the previous works, but this sounds far too different in its approach. Hell this even reminds me of some early Nokturnal Mortum work at moments. Thurios has canged vocally, he no longer uses that more standard high range Black Metal vocal approach, but on this one he has more of a mid-ranged vocal approach. So it sounds even more like Hate Forest in that regard. Although he never sings quite as low as Saenko normally does in Hate Forest, which is a good thing because that wouldn’t have fit Drudkh at all in any respect. The guitar solos on this album are really excellent. It’s interesting also in the sense that Saenko usually uses triple guitar layering for them. The rhythm guitar sequence continues as normal, but then a solo will start in your right speaker then a third guitar will start in on the left and blend with the second guitar perfectly. It’s a really beautiful rendition and approach to playing like this. I must point out that the solo during “Blood” sounds just like one of the guitar passages from Diabolical Masquerade’s “Death Design.” Clearly a good memory to produce in my world. The album actually closes with the track “Song of Sich Destruction” which is an Ukrianian traditional piece. This makes me remember the use of Ukrainian traditional pieces on Hate Forest’s “Battlefields.” It’s a strange and interesting track to close with; I actually prefer this track to the traditional interludes in “Battlefields” though.
Overall I would say this is a great album, but for a Drudkh album it’s a bit different. I’m still not certain how I feel about this being good for a Drudkh approach so it sends mixed feelings to the listener in that regard. I do recommend picking this album up for the sheer point that it is simply a beautiful album to listen to, but do not expect another Drudkh like “Autumn Aurora” this time around.