Review Summary: A Magnum Opus of emotion, atmosphere, and brilliant songwiring, [B]Blood In Our Wells[/B] is a definitive Black Metal release.
Ah, Black Metal, one of the most unique and captivating genres of music in existence today. Although it has a massive and loyal following, there is no doubt that it is also fairly inaccessible, due largely to poor recording quality, questionable image, and often times racist subject matter. It also does not hold the same solid fan base in America that the Death Metal scene does, and many a band is lost in the flood of up and coming Black Metal bands in today’s world. Despite having an original sound, Black Metal bands often begin to lump together around the same basic formula, breeding carbon copies of the genre giants like Emperor and Bathory. Also, due to the significant lack of technicality that the music sometimes possesses, there is not as much distinction or variety in the instrumental work. It is all too common that they ride their image and the current wave of popular metal to success. However, like in all genres, every now and then a band comes along and completely raises the bar for what is expected. They create a quintessential album, one that is not only meant to be enjoyed by fans of the genre but lovers of music in general. In the battleground that is the Black Metal Scene, it is both shocking and encouraging that a fairly unknown band from Ukraine could come along and produce an album that not only destroys the mold of what a Black Metal band must be, but also raises the bar on the emotion and lyricism which can be conveyed throughout a Black Metal CD.
Drudkh- Blood In Our Wells
It really is a shame that more people have not heard of Drudkh, because they create some of the most beautiful, atmospheric, and touching music I have ever heard. It is somewhat ironic that they were born out of a genre that thrives on hate. At their base, they are clearly a Black Metal band; however the music they create is so much more than what one would expect. Conjuring up their Ukrainian heritage with such instruments as flutes, woodblock percussion, and layers upon layers of acoustic guitars, Drudkh possesses a natural and moving sound reminiscent of bands like Agalloch and Opeth. They released Blood In Our Wells
with three albums already under their belt, however it was upon its release that they redefined Black Metal and created a masterpiece.
The overall sound of Blood In Our Wells
shifts, however the one aspect of its sound that the music constantly retains is its intimacy. The album is largely instrumental, and the backdrop of lush acoustic guitars weaves imagery of desolation and heartbreak. The entire album is an experience, a journey through a foray of emotions and culture which captivate the listener and pull them deeper and deeper into forest of sound. It is easy to get lost within the many winding and droning passages, only to be pulled back in by the raspy vocals and explosive guitar-driven climax. These climaxes are one of Drudkh’s most unique and special assets to their sound. Their songs do not follow a real formula, but rather they constantly change and build, layer upon layer of music creates a foundation on which a journey can take place. They are almost reminiscent of Progressive Metal titans ISIS
at times, with how the songs just build and build into they bust into intricate soundscapes. The songs are woven together by spoken interludes and short random instrumental breaks, adding to the natural and authentic sound that the CD possesses. The lyrical content is also based largely on Ukrainian history and poetry. There are no clichéd lyrics of Satanic conquest and racial prejudice, but rather personal reflection on the history that is so important to the band. Instrumentally, Drudkh lacks some the Godly technicality found in some Death Metal bands, however they are more than skilled musicians. The guitar solos can, at times, fall into somewhat mindless and boring playing, however there are moments of brilliance and superb melodic phrasing. Although not technically mind boggling, they add to the music and often times bring the songs into their emotional climax. Blood in Our Wells
has a sound like no other; it is a pure display of emotion and nature at its finest.
Although Blood In Our Wells
succeeds on so many levels, it is not without its flaws. While the recording is still huge levels above their Black Metal Peers, it still leaves something to be desired with many parts often coming in as a sort of “wall of sound”. The guitar’s lead tone could also use a fair bit of work, and there are some instances of sloppy playing scattered around the CD. However, these barely detract from the CD at all as they all add to the authenticity and natural feel of the recording. Another Con, although nothing major, is that some of the segues and introductions could flow better into the next songs. Often times they just come to an awkward pause before the guitar and drums come blaring in. Although these shortcomings are noticeable, they barely detract from the majestic nature of the CD and are the only real flaws present.
Drudkh’s Blood In Our Wells
is one of the all time greatest Black Metal CDs ever released. It is brilliant and epic from start to finish, possessing a raw sound backed by superb instrumental talent and songwriting. Although it is not for everyone, fans not only of Black Metal, but music in general, owe it to themselves to give this CD a listen. Although it is really hard to single out any specific examples of their phenomenal songwriting gift, especially since the CD is really meant to be experienced as a whole, Eternity
offers one of the best examples of what they are capable of in a single song. It is truly a diamond in the rough, an overlooked gem of a somewhat clichéd genre. Blood In Our Wells
is Drudkh’s masterpiece, and it has forever solidified them a place in the halls of Black Metal fame.