Review Summary: A Beautiful Symphonic Black Metal masterpiece.
I never used to be a big fan of Black Metal, somehow it never grabbed my attention. It was one of the Metal genres that I was constantly hesitant to try, mainly because I always thought of it as repetitive. I never enjoyed that basement production that most of the acts part of the Black Metal scene were trying to aim for. That rawness in terms of sound production always ruined things for me whenever I approached the genre. But it was until I discovered this record that my perception and appreciation for Black Metal changed, as this album marks the beginning of my interest in this music style.
I was completely blown away from the very first time I heard this record. How can one find beauty in a Black Metal album? Isn't this a paradox? What makes this a masterpiece? Is this work worth of a "classic" rating? This are some of the questions I would like to answer within this review.
I'm not sure if a Black Metal album can be described with the word beautiful, but that was the feeling I got after hearing this release. There's something about its atmosphere, about the despair in Mr. Hreidmarr vocals, about the magnificent orchestration, about its lyrics, that make of this a beautiful work. It might be something paradoxical to find beauty in one of the most extreme, ideologically obscure and evil genres within the Metal world, but the again, this is the best adjective I can use to describe the feelings this record evokes.
Now, without further ado, I would like to deal with the subject matter, that matter of course is describing the great opus that is Drudenhaus.
"A Doleful Night in Thelema" kicks in with an apocalyptic pace which is going to set the tone of the speed that can be found throughout most of the songs of the record. This pace is mainly responsibility of Niclas Vant, the demon behind the drum kit. His drumming is aggressive, fast and very dynamic, this is definitely one of the strong points in this album.
Another key ingredient in this magnificent record, is the superb vocal work of RMS Hreidmarr which reflect all the madness, suffering, depression, pain, despair and hatred that can be found in the lyrics. This emotions are perfectly identifiable in songs such as "Divine White Light of a Cumming Decadence" which is probably the most aggressive track in here, and this is mainly because of Hreidmarr's way of pouring his soul in the way he sings or in "The Red Archromance" which is arguably the climax of this album, thanks to its perfect blend of orchestration, soulful vocals and excellent drumming.
But the award to the most impressive element in this opus has to go to the exuberant and majestic orchestral arrangements made by Neb Xort. This guy manages to make a keyboard sound as if an entire orchestra is present in the mix, something that is truly remarkable. Though this element is present in every single one of the tracks, his work shines brighter in "God Bless The Hustler" and "Enter The Church of Fornication" which at the same time happen to be two of the best songs in here, the organ intro in the former is probably one of the most immaculate moments of the record.
Guitar and bass work is excellent too, but their are certainly not the protagonists here, as they have more of a backing purpose of the main melody which is driven mostly by the keyboards. Despite of this fact it is possible to find excellent riffs in almost every track.
I would like to point a very interesting fact about the lyrics, and it is that they are written in various languages (English, French, German and some Latin). Something that in my opinion adds magic to this album.
In conclusion, is because of the elements described above that this album is a masterpiece totally worth of a classic rating, as it is, in my humble opinion one of the greatest Black Metal records ever made, and also I'm truly convinced that this is one of the best Symphonic albums I've heard in my life.
-A Doleful Night in Thelema
-God Bless the Hustler
-Enter the Church of Fornication
-The Red Archromance