Friday, July 31, 2009

Drudkh - Microcosmos

When I first hit the play button, I was getting myself ready to headbang to the crushing blastbeats one comes to expect from a black metal band. But what followed next was a totally new experience, after all the music emerging out of the speakers was very much tinged in folk melodies amidst black metal sound. Thats when I realised that Drudkh had struck a very inspiring balance between aggressive, textured guitar work and organic melodies, along with tighter songwriting. Microcosmos is one of those very select albums where incorporating folk melodies to metal hasn't resulted in a queasy lame sound unlike other mediocre outfits. Although the sound of this album is nowhere close to its previous seminal work Blood In Our Wells, Drudkh retains a certain appeal to its latest work Microcosmos that forces you to lend your ears to it.

The album starts on a very gentle note with a short folk instrumental piece that succeeds in creating a sense of aura around the album which succeeds in pulling into the very plaintive atmosphere it creates. And needless to say the album also ends on the same note, with a similar instrumental piece for the prologue. And also not to forget the four tracks in between, are combinations of aggressive riffing and threnodial melodies, along with the added delicateness that is Drudkh. 'Distant Cries Of the Cranes' is a song laden with variations throughout that includes the bass line leading the way in a deconstructed interluding end; which clearly makes you feel the melancholic atmosphere it presents.

And this melancholy continues into 'Decadence' and 'Ars Poetica' with a touch of debility although 'Ars Poetica' gives a very cracker-barrel feel. 'Everything Unsaid Before' once again exemplifies the band's exceptionally tight songwriting interwining with its textured leads without any minor glitch. Not a single moment listening to the album makes you think that Microcosmos is slipping into the mundane of musical conveyance, whether its the sorrowful 'Decadence' or the unrelenting nature of ' Everything Unsaid Before'. In fact it would also be a very harrowing experience to choose the best song from the album. Although the signature drone sound of the band is slightly diminished in the album, the tranquil and hypnotic feel that has come to define Drudkh's music still reckons here with a hammering force.

Microcosm is heavy in every sense of the word. In both style and substance, the album recalls struggles of an almost universal order (hence the title), pushing the individual to purge their self-concern in light of higher and more mysterious powers. Seen in light of their previous work, Microcosmos encapsulates the best aesthetic touches Drudkh has developed over the years, condensing folkloric atmosphere, climatic guitar solos and passionate vocals into a poetic whole.

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