By Jonathan Smith
Autumn Aurora is the second full-length album from Ukrainian black metallers Drudkh, re-released recently by Season of Mist along with several other of the band’s earlier efforts. It’s an album that, listening to it now in retrospect, both continued and solidified the group’s pagan and nature themes and thick, heavy sound. The melodic but abrasive sound of the songs fits the new cover art, which depicts fiery red underbrush set against a wall of tall trees on which some pale, thin leaves cling to life. Lacking the fury of winter but nonetheless acting as a bellwether for the changing season, Autumn Aurora begins with “Fading,” a quiet acoustic instrumental that ends with cooing birds and the rustlings of forest life. “Summoning the Rain” is the strongest track on an excellent album, one that includes an epic synth track that regularly rises above the constant, insect-like buzz of the guitars and bass. As the tracks progress, small recorded interludes increasingly suggest a coming storm. Behind it all is Roman “Thurios” Blagih’s vocals, taking a backseat to the thick, increasingly gale-like instrumentals over which he must scream to be heard. The album insert that accompanies the new release has pictures of sublime forest scenes, one for each track. There is not a band member wearing spikes or make-up to be seen. Taken in the Ukrainian Carpathians, it’s clear that that it is the scenic photos, and the moody music which invokes them, that are the stars of Autumn Aurora.
(Season of Mist)