The Swan Road
posted on 9/2005 By:
Few black metal bands since the peak of the second wave have possessed the ability to express ideology through music as eloquently as Drudkh. The Swan Road is their third release in three years, and it continues this prolific band's trend of crafting music with an astute grasp of both the naturalistic and nationalistic.
The progression from last year's Autumn Aurora is subtle, and exhibited in the more peripheral elements of their music, rather than the heart. There is slightly more emphasis on folk based instrumentation and the vocals are noticeably louder, but the focus remains on overlaying recursive melodies in a dense wall of distorted guitar sound. Of course, there's a reason for this. With mostly every song falling somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes, the listener can either tune out or get sucked in. There's no way to passively enjoy this album. That's for the best, as The Swan Road isn't terribly technical or heavy. The real pleasure comes from being transported by the delicate pacing and painstaking execution of the songs, and enjoying them in that place rather than your own. The methodical buildups in "Eternal Sun" and "Glare of 1768" are each rewarded with resolutions that are enjoyable in their own right, but more importantly cast light on how the song works as a whole.
The warm production bathes the album in a triumphant, joyous ambiance that is more evocative of late summer or early autumn than the dead of winter. These are articulate songs that speak for themselves, rather than shoving their blathering misanthropy or inarticulate nihilism down your throat.
This is an essential black metal album in a year when essential black and death metal albums seem to come fewer and further between. With a solid underground ethic that is free of the demands of the popular metal scene, Drudkh were able to create the kind of complete and uncompromising album that discriminating metal fans should eat right up. Do your best to find a copy of The Swan Road, it might be the best album you hear all year.
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