Monday, August 30, 2010

Music Review - Drudkh - Songs of Grief and Solitude

For the uninitiated, Drudkh are a band from the Ukraine who play a fairly decent style of folk/black metal, with emphasis on a mournful and at times dreamy atmosphere. I'm not one of their many, many fans who revere their music; actually so far I've only liked on average one or two songs per album they've made. However, this album, Songs of Grief and Solitude, caught my ear and has pretty much hooked me.

The biggest reason I like this album is because it's entirely acoustic. Acoustic guitars, flutes and a few percussive moments take the place of the normal guitar and black metal drumming, and the result is quite interesting. There's no vocals except for the odd whisper here and there and the songs are very, very, repetitive. This actually reminds me of Hex(or Printing in the Infernal Method) by Earth in that this is probably as close to drone as you can get in terms of musical writing without actually being drone. The mood is generally somber and mournful as is the norm for Drudkh, and if one knows the history of their home country one can see how this is a completely appropriate atmosphere to want to achieve. The repetition really is what makes the atmosphere what it is; gentle guitars and flutes playing very simple folksy melodies for nigh on 40 minutes can be quite an experience if the music is well composed, and I believe Drudkh more or less nailed it here. A lot of the music particularly the bits with the flute remind me of Native American music; it has that same feeling of being close to nature.

There's no flash here, no solos, nothing that will really make you stop and take note of what you just heard. This is gentle, somber music that takes one to the vast plains and forests of the Ukraine, under the stars beside a crackling fire. Songs of Grief and Solitude has become the mainstay of my pipe and cigar smoking playlist, especially when I smoke outside with the sunset.  This is a relaxing journey through Drudkhs homeland, and a terrific piece of acoustic/ambient/slightly drone music. This music feels like nature, if that makes any sense. Relaxed, mellow, organic, ambient and even a little drone-ish, Songs of Grief and Solitude is well worth your time.

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