Drudkh
Handful of Stars


2.5
average

Review

by Kyle Ward EMERITUS
September 19th, 2010 | 133 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An anomaly in Drudkh's discography that had the potential to be memorable, but instead falls far short due to inconsistent songwriting and a tiresome atmosphere.

While not a complete departure into the unknown, Handful Of Stars is an album that precariously straddles the line between the Drudkh that has released such albums as Autumn Aurora and Blood In Our Wells and another entity that demands progression in the band’s sound. What adds to the confusion is a lack of proficiency in writing the kind of easy-going riffs that carry the brunt of the album’s weight, bearing the prevalence of the throaty howls and the subtle plucking of the bass. The laid-back approach to Handful Of Stars is dominant, however; resonant tremolo-picked riffs are the norm, sliding up and down the fret board with little care or cause, yet they seem humbly restrained from going anywhere too technical, an aspect reserved to the handful of guitar solos that litter the album. It’s an interesting piece of musicianship that screams mediocrity, all the while securing the focus of your mind with startling efficiency.

The complete abandonment of the Eastern-European folk aspects to Drudkh’s music, interesting due to both its bluntness and impact on Drudkh’s sound, is a bold move; those familiar with the Ukrainian song titles and heavy incorporations of folk music will undoubtedly be surprised by the change. It could be that the band is maturing, looking elsewhere for inspiration away from their core sound that has served them well since Forgotten Legends. When it all comes down to it, though, the concept of Handful Of Stars seems too thin to be able to cover the forty-minute run of the album, and even after repeated listens this remains true. The riffs have the tendency to wallow around far longer than they should, and the relatively simplistic drumming adds to the plodding boredom that is only broken by the occasional rolling fill or atmospheric guitar solo. While Roman Blagih’s vocals are indeed strong, with his unique delivery breaking numerous moments of monotony, they can’t save a completely uninspired instrumental performance from dragging the album down farther than it ought to.

Even if the plodding riffs were meant to be recycled over and over through a song, and assuming the intention was to create a hypnotizing atmosphere that combines repeated simple melodies with a strong atmosphere, everything still adds up to an album that could be summed up in one or two songs, not six. The enjoyable qualities of “The Day Will Come” are overshadowed by the oppressive stagnation contained in “Downfall Of The Epoch” and “Towards The Light”. The acoustic breaks that are scattered about do serve well in adding a small sense of variance to the album, but after the first few tracks everything becomes a blur; riffs meld together into a cycle of repeated notes slowly strumming away as the disappointingly hidden bass guitar wallows around in riffs that barely resemble the prominent qualities it enjoyed in past releases.

It’s frustrating that Drudkh let such potential wash away. Handful Of Stars could have been an amazingly refreshing album that proves that the band can draw from whatever influences they wish and still write a good record. Instead, the nods at post-metal fall short of greatness, leaving a broken and confused album in its wake. Some people may relish its simplicity and uncaring nature, but the lost potential is something that simply cannot be ignored. The sorrowful guitar solo of “The Day Will Come” shows what has been lost; as the few short notes that comprise its body wail along, it makes you think that if the entire album had been like this, Drudkh would have struck gold. Instead, the solo fades away into the same brand of riff that has dominated the soundscapes of Handful Of Stars for what seems like an eternity.



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user ratings (181)
Chart.
3
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
Crysis
Emeritus
September 19th 2010


17303 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Could have been awesome.....

Digging: Falls of Rauros - Vigilance Perennial

SCREAM!
September 19th 2010


15108 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

well done review. I think i like it a bit more than you do and might bump it up to 3.5

ffs
September 19th 2010


5254 Comments


shame, one of my fav bm bands. ill probably still get around to listening to this

Crysis
Emeritus
September 19th 2010


17303 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

It's worth a shot, some people may find it to their liking.

lobby
September 19th 2010


1251 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

...if every other bm band is to their liking.



this is v repititive and I don't know why u would want to give it more than a couple listens

Aakon_Keetreh
September 19th 2010


448 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah this was boring as hell

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
September 19th 2010


19975 Comments


I liked it, it's no Autumn Aurora, but it's still pretty good. It feels like its right where it should be after Microcosmos, which i thought was a great addition.

This just needed more purpose.

Dryden
September 19th 2010


13555 Comments


agree with the rating for this. it wasnt that great at all

Ire
September 19th 2010


41948 Comments


holy shit dryden gave an honest comment



Hawks
September 19th 2010


52280 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Great review like always dude. I liked this album. Not as much as albums like Autumn Aurora or Microcosmos, but it was pretty good.

Digging: The Body and Full Of Hell - Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light

DeafMetal
September 19th 2010


8596 Comments


Autumn Aurora blows this away. Good review dude.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
September 19th 2010


22218 Comments


This was my first experience with the band and I must say I'm let down

Digging: Mortespermia - CCCXXXIII

Bitchfork
September 19th 2010


7584 Comments


This is easily their worst album.

vanderb0b
September 19th 2010


3473 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Your first one Spirit? Get Blood In Our Wells and Autumn Aurora, they're much better.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
September 19th 2010


22218 Comments


Yeah I think Autumn Aurora will be my next

Hawks
September 19th 2010


52280 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Autumn Aurora rules. So does Microcosmos. You couldn't go wrong with either one.

Bitchfork
September 19th 2010


7584 Comments


"holy shit dryden gave an honest comment"
you aren't in very many black metal threads with him are you?

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
September 19th 2010


19975 Comments


This was your first experience with Drudkh Spirit? I thought you'd heard Estrangement and others as well, i could have sworn we've discussed that before.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
September 19th 2010


22218 Comments


Nah this was my first listening to the band. I'm not really sure why I didn't try them out before.

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
September 19th 2010


19975 Comments


Well, this was definitely a bad place to start, as others have said, get Autumn Aurora now.



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