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A Black Metal band from Kharkiv, Ukraine, Drudkh have established themselves as one of that country's most famed exports in the genre. Naming themselves after the Sanskrit word for "wood" or "tree", the band have amassed a substantial, critically acclaimed discography since their first album in 2003, despite the band members' past flirtations with authoritarian ideologies (which they have since disowned and now seem to regard as an Old Shame).

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At some point, Season of Mist set up a Bandcamp site where you can stream or purchase their music. Most information about them is only available by Word of Saint Paul, as they have never given interviews and don't interact with the press; the closest thing we've ever gotten to an official statement from them was an announcement they made upon signing to the label disclaiming all connections to radical politics.

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Members

  • Krechet - Bass, Keyboards
  • Roman Saenko - Guitars, Bass
  • Thurios - Vocals, Keyboards
  • Vlad - Drums, Keyboards

Discography

  • 2003 - Forgotten Legends
  • 2004 - Autumn Aurora
  • 2005 - Лебединий шлях (The Swan Road)
  • 2006 - Кров у наших криницях (Blood in Our Wells)
  • 2006 - Пісні скорботи і самітності (Songs of Grief and Solitude)
  • 2007 - Anti-Urban (EP)
  • 2007 - Відчуженість (Estrangement)
  • 2009 - Microcosmos
  • 2010 - Пригорща зірок (Handful of Stars)
  • 2010 - Slavonic Chronicles (EP)
  • 2012 - Вічний оберт колеса (Eternal Turn of the Wheel)
  • 2014 - Thousands of Moons Ago / The Gates (split with Winterfylleth)
  • 2014 - Eastern Frontier in Flames (compilation of Anti-Urban, Slavonic Chronicles, and the band's side of Thousands of Moons Ago)
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  • 2015 - Борозна обірвалася (A Furrow Cut Short)
  • 2016 - Той, хто говорить з імлою (One Who Talks with the Fog) / Pyre Era, Black! (Split with Hades Almighty)
  • 2016 - Зраджені сонцем (Betrayed by the Sun) / Hägringar (Mirages) (split with Grift)
  • 2017 - Десь блукає журба (Somewhere Sadness Wanders) / Schnee (IV) (Snow (IV)) (split with Paysage d'Hiver)
  • 2018 - Їм часто сниться капіж (They Often See Dreams About the Spring)
  • 2019 - Кілька рядків архаїчною українською (A Few Lines in Archaic Ukrainian) (compilation of the band's contributions to their 2016 and 2017 splits)

Drudkh also contributed two tracks to the multi-artist compilation One and All, Together, for Home (2014), which Saenko curated himself.

Tropes

  • Album Intro Track: One on nearly every album. In fact, their only full-lengths that don't have one (as of February 2019, at least) are Forgotten Legends, Estrangement, A Furrow Cut Short, and They Often See Dreams About the Spring. A few albums also have Album Outro Tracks.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Most of their lyrics are in their native Ukrainian. Song and album titles are usually given in both Ukrainian and English. Forgotten Legends and Autumn Aurora originally had song titles only in English, but a recent digital release added alternate Ukrainian titles, which aren't always direct translations of the English titles. (The album titles are still only listed in English; Forgotten Legends would apparently be Забуті легенди in Ukrainian, while Autumn Aurora would be Осінь аврора.) Anti-Urban still has song titles only in English, and the titles of the band's covers remain unchanged from the originals (thus far, two each have been Polish and Czech, with one in Latin). Meanwhile, there are no official English song titles for the songs on They Often See Dreams About the Spring, and in fact the album's liner notes are also written almost entirely in untranslated Ukrainian, down to "Side A" and "Side B" on the record labels. (The only exceptions are "33 rpm" and the names of the music studio, the visual artist, the record label, and the band - though it should be noted that the name of the studio, "Viter", is also Ukrainian for "wind". And of course, the band's name is also a foreign word, though Sanskrit rather than Ukrainian.)
  • Black Metal: Probably the genre's most famous act from Ukraine at this point.
  • Bookends: Several albums display this. For example, as discussed below under Recurring Riff, Autumn Aurora opens and closes with the same melody. This also happens with Eternal Turn of the Wheel, where the intro is reprised in the final song.
  • Concept Album: The albums after Autumn Aurora tend to fit this, in terms of themes:
    • The Swan Road used poetry of The Haidamakas by Taras Shevchenko about the Ukrainian anti-Polish peasant rebellion and ending with destruction of Zaporizhian Sich by the Russian army in 1775.
    • Blood in Our Wells seems to focus on the themes of struggle, considering it's dedication to controversial OUNnote  leader Stepan Banderanote .
  • Cover Album: Slavonic Chronicles and Thousands of Moons Ago.
  • Cover Version: They have covered Sacrilegium (twice), Master's Hammer, Hefeystos, and Unclean.
  • Despair Event Horizon: "Song of Sich Destruction" is this for the Zaporozhian Cossacks.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Forgotten Legends and Autumn Aurora were the only full-length releases with song titles exclusively in English (subsequent digital releases have added alternative Ukrainian titles for the songs, but not the album). Otherwise, almost all their original material has titles in both Ukrainian and English (the exceptions: Anti-Urban, with titles only in English; Microcosmos, which has an English album title; "Ars poetica", which is Latin for "The Art of Poetry"; and They Often See Dreams About the Spring, whose packaging, including song titles, is almost entirely untranslated Ukrainian. The covers also keep whatever language the original titles were in, but for one song whose original lyrics were unavailable, they used a poem by Ukrainian poet Vadym Lesych, and for two more, they wrote their own).
    • The first two albums are also the full-lengths whose lyrics remain mostly unreleased, and judging from "Eternal Turn of the Wheel" (the song, not the album), which is the only exception, they're also in English.
  • Echoing Acoustics: Their production generally tends to go down this route.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: Quite a few of their songs take several minutes before the vocals enter.
  • Epic Rocking: Many of their songs are very long. "False Dawn" is the longest, at just under sixteen minutes long. Discounting intros and outros, their average song length is probably upwards of eight minutes, and only a handful of their songs fail to break the six-minute mark.
  • Fading into the Next Song: Quite a few songs on Songs of Grief and Solitude are connected with sound effects. "Sunwheel" and "Wind of the Night Forests" use the same technique on the CD version of Autumn Aurora, but they're separated by a side division on the vinyl.
  • Folk Metal: It's not their primary style, but there are undeniably folk elements to some of their music, e.g. a lot of the more pastoral moments of Autumn Aurora, Blood in Our Wells, and Estrangement. They could be considered a folk/black metal fusion on many of their albums.
  • Folk Music: On Songs of Grief and Solitude
  • Genius Bonus: Their songs draw lyrics not only from the well-known Ukrainian national poet Taras Shevchenko, but also from more obscure Ukrainian poets, many of which whose work has never been translated into English. If you have an in-depth knowledge of Ukrainian history, literature, and culture it surely helps you appreciate their music.
    • Doubly so for The Swan Road, which is all about the rise and fall of the independent Cossack Hetmanate.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Not helped by the fact that many lyrics aren't released. And many are in Ukrainian.
  • Gratuitous Latin: The song title "Ars poetica" translates as "The Art of Poetry" in Latin, while "Recidivus" translates as "Returning".
  • Instrumentals: Several. "Smell of Rain" (which is just rain sound effects), "The First Snow", "Ukrainian Insurgent Army", "Fallen into Oblivion", "Only the Wind Remembers My Name", "Widow's Grief", every Album Intro Track, and all of Songs of Grief and Solitude.
  • Lighter and Softer: Handful of Stars had a cleaner guitar sound with less distortion, which may have been one of the reasons it wasn't as warmly received as some of their other albums. And, of course, Songs of Grief and Solitude, though that was more of a case of Genre Adultery.
  • Limited Lyrics Song: Many of their songs have lengthy passages with no vocals. "False Dawn" is a good example of this, although it's difficult to know how much of an example of this trope it truly is due to the lack of printed lyrics.
  • Long Runner Lineup: Hasn't changed since 2006.
  • Loudness War: The more widely available Season of Mist remasters are louder than the original releases on Supernal. Luckily, they're not painfully so, and were mastered mostly free of clipping, a trend which has continued up to the band's latest release, A Furrow Cut Short. Vinyl editions seem to be free from this entirely and often sound better for other reasons as well (e.g., harmonic resonance making up for missing frequencies in The Swan Road and Blood in Our Wells).
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Mostly an 8 or 9 (a few tracks may reach 10, but probably not that many). Album intros and outros and Songs of Grief and Solitude tend to be a lot lower, though.
  • No Ending: They Often See Dreams About the Spring borders on this; the ending of the final song ("Білявий день втомився і притих…", translated roughly as "The Blooming Day Is Tired and Drowsy…") is abrupt and comes almost out of nowhere.
  • Post-Rock: They flirted with this genre on Handful of Stars.
  • Rearrange the Song: Most of the songs on Songs of Grief and Solitude are acoustic and instrumental renditions of earlier Drudkh material.
  • Recurring Riff: Intro tracks will often be reprised later on the album. For example, "Fading" from Autumn Aurora gets a different arrangement as the album closer "The First Snow". Eternal Turn of the Wheel provides another example.
  • Sampling: Many albums sample Ukrainian cinema. Nearly every song on Blood in Our Wells samples the film Mamaj (Мамай, which, at least according to IMDB, can mean either No One or The Spirit of the Steppes, in a real-life case of Translation: "Yes"; it can also refer to one of Genghis Khan's many great-grandsons), for example. Sometimes these also provide examples of Spoken Word in Music (e.g., the intro to "Solitary Endless Path").
  • Shout-Out: Most of their lyrics are lifted directly from famed Ukrainian poets. Taras Shevchenko is the most common.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: "Summoning the Rain" and "Glare of Autumn".
  • Soprano and Gravel: Some of the songs on Betrayed by the Sun and Somewhere Sadness Wanders have clean vocals in the background, but their primary vocal style is the type three Metal Scream typical of black metal.
  • Subdued Section: They have quite a few, but the ambient midsection of "All Shades of Silence" no doubt takes the cake.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: Songs of Grief and Solitude was a surprisingly gentle album. "Song of Sich Destruction" also qualifies, though it's actually a song by bandura player Igor Rachok.
  • Uncommon Time: Shows up occasionally, such as the intro to "Solitude" (later reprised as "The Cranes Will Never Return Here").
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