Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Drudkh - Eternal Turn Of The Wheel

Eternal Turn Of The Wheel is Drudkh's touted return to form after the mediocre-bad Handful Of Stars. When an album is supposedly a "return to form" I guess the main goal is to never get your hopes up because no matter what the band produces it'll be a shadow of their former self. Is that the case with Drudkh's Eternal Turn Of The Wheel? Kind of.

Here we have Drudkh's ninth full-length in nine years starting in 2003. They've released an album just about every year (minus 2008 and 2011), and the first seven were relatively consistent with a few marked dips in quality, their lowest point being Handful Of Stars. However Eternal Turn Of The Wheel is supposedly a return to former glories like Autumn Aurora and Blood In Our Wells, which saw Drudkh creating atmospherically dense folksy black metal. Eternal Turn Of The Wheel capitalizes on this with an enchanting bleakness that the last few albums lacked (yes, even Microcosmos which I enjoyed).

The re-found atmosphere is as dense as ever. Like walking in a snowstorm, these guys really blanket you in some cold-as-fuck riffs. "Breath Of Cold Black Soil" is a strong opener with its tremolo riffing and subtle keyboards. Thurios' vocals are a bit more prominent this time around throughout the entirety of Eternal Turn Of The Wheel, but the riffing carries most of the weight of the music. The outro riff on "Night Woven of Snow, Winds and Grey-Haired Stars" is particularly powerful, and the Thurios' vocalwork is pained greatness throughout the track.

Not all the tracks are particularly amazing though and on an album of five that's saying something. "When Gods Leave Their Emerald Halls" is passable at best with it's constant blasting and dominant keyboards. It has a strong outro at least. I just fucking hate dominating keyboards. As for the production, I'm kind of impressed. Eternal Turn Of The Wheel has a pretty solid bass tone that adds texture to the often overly-simple black metal riffing.

I know I've mostly praised the album, but something about Drudkh's formula is getting stale for me. This album is somewhat of a delivery on the promise of "a return to form." However I don't know if that form is something I find very appealing anymore. I've heard it done before and better by the same band not to mention others, and I found the whole of Eternal Turn Of The Wheel predictable. Is it acceptable? Yes. Is it really special? No. This wheel certainly can't turn forever.

6.25 out of 10


1. Eternal Circle
2. Breath of Cold Black Soil
3. When Gods Leave Their Emerald Halls
4. Farewell to Autumn's Sorrowful Birds
5. Night Woven of Snow, Winds and Grey-Haired Stars

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