Review Summary: Forgotten legends
The main argument against Drudkh as of late has not been that of execution, but rather imagination. There is not really a whole lot going on within A Furrow Cut Short
’s 59 minutes to pull a listener in, and that is not even comparing it to the daunting array of weapons produced on Roman Saenko’s past work. Rather than an arsenal, we have a small cache of riffs that whip about in the normal cyclical Drudkh fashion that up until recently has been used for transition among and between the more bombastic arrangements that would flair up and steal the show. These monumentally depressing dirges run ceaselessly from track to track, conjuring up an atmosphere that is not so much inspiring awe in the Eastern European soundscapes as it is highlighting just how dreary life there can be sometimes.
A Furrow Cut Short
is merely passable in some regards, with the heavy production lifting the wailing tremolos up along with the chords that provide some crunch to keep it all in check. Saenko’s screams are visceral and lasting, having an edge to them that seems more natural and less otherworldly. Strangely enough, though, it comes together in a fashion that reveals just how much Drudkh have deviated from what they do best. Long gone are the flashy bass licks or the crisp acoustic guitars, and instead we have an approach that is more in line with a wall of noise rather than a deliberate attempt to create atmosphere. It doesn’t help that the actual content of the record is almost entirely forgettable, with only one riff that deviates from the norm enough to pique your interest. That norm, though, that represents the meat and potatoes of A Furrow Cut Short
is more famine than feast, running its course with little emotion relative to what we know the band to be capable of.
For that I am a bit disheartened, because even comparing A Furrow Cut Short
to the band’s next weakest effort A Handful of Stars
, it still falls far short. Unlike their bizarre 2010 aside, this album tries nothing brazen or inherently interesting, it just sort of goes with the motions that Eternal Turn of the Wheel
got rolling. Friction within the barren atmospheres is grinding that motion to a halt, because without continued effort in the songwriting department there is little hope. Being aurally assaulted for an hour with a near-ceaseless barrage of up-tempo black metal is not what a Drudkh record should be – leave that to the second-wave bands. Drudkh are about motion, about a fluidity the likes of which their counterparts don’t really understand. The black metal scene in Eastern Europe has long been a favorite of mine for these distinctive qualities, but seeing a leader of that scene devolve into run-of-the-mill black metal is nothing short of an affront to what they once represented. This is not the Drudkh we all know.