Eternal Turn of the Wheel



by rmill3r USER (26 Reviews)
March 19th, 2012 | 12 replies

Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Metal is meant to be an encompassing experience. And if it weren't for a few formulaic asides, "Eternal Turn of the Wheel" is as encompassing as any metal album this year is going to get.

If there’s anything more mysterious than the desolate, pencil-drawn cover of Drudkh’s new album, Eternal Turn of the Wheel, it’s the band itself. The Ukranian folk black metal quartet has been around since 2003, and in nine years they have kept generally in the shadows by refusing press photography, not releasing lyrics for a majority of their albums, and---until forced by their label---not creating any sort of online presence for themselves. All of that added on top of the naturally estranging feel of the black metal genre itself, Drudkh is something of a conundrum.

Drudkh have dabbled in other genres as well, such as the droning atmospheres of post-rock on the previous Handful of Stars album, via the likes of Alcest. And since that wasn’t consistent with their typical folk-y Burzum-inspired version of black metal, it acted as a sort of polarizing trip. Eternal Turn of the Wheel, though, is something like a return to form as coarse black metal plays a strong role throughout, while the clean, sweeping gestures of post-rock find their way into the album now and again, to some fans dismay or delight.

Eternal Turn of the Wheel feels like a very powerful album, even when compared to the popular Blood in Our Wells release. Thurious’ vocals are thundering and full of endurance. As he belts out lines of poetry from nineteenth- and twentieth-century Ukranian poets there’s such command in the way he releases them, as if he takes a deep breath before each line to give it everything he’s got. In all reality, it’s beastly. And although some fans may miss it, the lack of static noise mixed with clean double bass and tremolo guitars only add to that power. It may not feel as gritty and unrefined as Wells, but it’s no less potent.

The structure of this album feels well laid out. Even in the moments when the wall of noise reels back and becomes a plucking, steady beat, it only serves as a foil to the monstrous wave of force that the band returns with only shortly after. Even the short moody opener, “Eternal Circle,” plays its own crucial role in the makeup of the album. Not much feels thrown into the mix happenstance, rather, all of the elements come together as a necessary byproduct of a band doing what they feel they needed to do. On “Farewell to Autumn’s Sorrowful Birds,” there’s a place where the music suddenly stops and you hear nothing but a distant wind until it cascades back into a wave of roaring guitars, and moments like these are where you realize that the band’s focus is very much appreciated. It gives listeners a reason to nod their heads to the music, to tap their feet on the ground, and maybe even bang their heads until their long hair swirls around like a shaggy windmill. It's just that sort of album that envelops you.

Metal music---whether black, death, heavy, or otherwise---was always meant to pull listeners in to an overall experience. But some bands and artists are content with playing formulas. Especially with black metal, where every band is just trying to be more evil and gruesome than the last, formulas get old and tired. And while Eternal Turn of the Wheel actually does fall into some formulaic reactions, the overall experience is an absorbing one. On the last song, "Night Woven of Snow, Winds and Grey-Haired Stars," when a quick crow call leads directly into a boorish yell and a Marduk-level of deep riffage, Drudkh doesn't sound willing to ease their grip. That is---until the distant guitars begin to fade out to nothing but wintry winds and a bleak, cold atmosphere that sends chills down your spine.

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other reviews of this album
hyperion EMERITUS (5)
And your very flesh shall be a great poem.......

Kyle Ward EMERITUS (3.5)
Drudkh exchange confusion for focus, but in doing so they lose a bit of what made them so exceptiona...

Comments:Add a Comment 
March 19th 2012


um its a 5

March 19th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

use [ ] instead of < >

March 19th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Fixed...yeah I write it for another site too, and I always miss some of the tags.

March 19th 2012


"Metal is meant to be an encompassing experience... Metal music---whether black, death, heavy, or otherwise---was always meant to pull listeners in to an overall experience. The genre became so inclusive for a reason. "

This isn't sitting well with me. Metal isn't really "meant" to be anything other than the objective traits that define the genre. Same goes for all styles of music. You also need to elaborate on why metal is "inclusive," and how this is even relevant.

March 19th 2012


It doesn't really make sense though. I heard someone say a few days ago that "folk music is meant to foster a spirit of community." Why?

I would just say that this album is an encompassing experience. I wouldn't make a blanket statement like "metal is meant to be an encompassing experience."

March 19th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

I'd question his use of "inclusive".

Digging: Kauan - Kaiho

March 19th 2012


Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I doesn't really liked this record much.

Digging: Gabor Szabo - Dreams

March 19th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

I agree that inclusive was the wrong word choice, and thanks for spotting the s/v disagreement. But I'm gonna stick with encompassing. I was going for more of a "it circles around you" vibe, rather than "it includes everyone and everything." It's got more than one meaning.

March 19th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5


Contributing Reviewer
March 19th 2012


Metal is an encompassing experience whether it means to be or not. Whether you, I or anyone else listens to this type of music, it doesn't matter, it empowers basically everyone.

Digging: Nocturnal Triumph - Into Light's Graven Wound

March 19th 2012


been listenning to this band lately, awsome stuff so far

gonna try this album tonigh

March 19th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

I'd say it's worth it. It grabbed me right away, although it might not for others...

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