Ukrainian folk/atmo-black metallers Drudkh are without a doubt one of the most important bands in the atmospheric black metal genre. With ten full length albums in their back catalog of which the last few weren’t exactly well-received (although they were mostly very good, in my humble opinion), the expectations for their eleventh album Їм часто сниться капіж (They Often See Dreams About The Spring) were rather mixed. I’m glad that I can say they delivered a great album that really makes up for their weaker moments.
On their newest offering, Drudkh continue to defy the cliché of the typical frosty black metal dealing with the coldest of seasons. After crafting multiple albums surrounding the melancholic beauty of autumn, the season of approaching death, they now focus on the other transitory season – spring, the season of birth and rebirth. In regards to the sound of this album, the latter is more fitting than the first. Їм часто сниться капіж can indeed be seen as a rebirth – with a few modifications. Drudkh return to do what they do best and offer a beautifully understated style of atmospheric black metal on this album that evokes emotions and inspires the listener to let their thoughts wander and – dream.
Surprisingly, one of the features Drudkh’s earlier works are known for is completely nonexistent on this album. There are no folk elements to find here, not even in the form of an acoustic intro or outro. Instead of that, the incredibly well-balanced songs are mainly made of rhythmic riffs coupled with tasteful tremolo melodies, blistering drum work and a subtle use of symphonic sound walls that add a very epic element to the aggressive sound. While the general feel of this album is, fittingly for the motif of spring, rather warm and welcoming, almost “Cascadian” in that sense, there is still a coldness in the guitars and vocals which makes the listener think back to the old days of Norwegian black metal.
With Їм часто сниться капіж, Drudkh have proven once again that they are indeed one of the best bands in the genre. Not afraid to experiment and leave behind certain aspects of their popular style while returning others, this album is one of their most coherent and absorbing works so far, and an essential listen for every fan of the genre.