Thousands of Moons Ago/The Gates
Season of Mist
21 January 2014
by Tom Gibbons
The Ukraine’s black metal underground is so underground that one of its leading bands, Drudkh, has a “no photos, no interviews, no website, no gigs” policy, and then streams their latest EP on Bandcamp. Awesome right? But it goes deeper – this EP isn’t just Drudkh covering lesser-known bands from the Ukranian scene (Hefeystos, Unclean, Sacrilegium) but also inviting the very English folk/black metallers Winterfylleth to contribute a cover of Hateforest’s ‘The Gates’ to conclude this four song split EP.
The two bands share a love of pagan metal, patriotic folklore, denials of political extremism and an excellent guitar tone, but let’s focus on the latter for the moment. A few years ago during an interview with Wolves In The Throne Room, they shared their love of the analogue 1973 Neve console, similar to the desk rescued and restored by Dave Grohl in his Sound City documentary. Without delving into audiofile-level detail, bands like WITTR, Wodensthrone, Drudkh and Winterfylleth rely heavily on a warm analogue guitar tone to accentuate the melancholic chord layers which largely contribute to that bleak atmosphere on their records – check out Winterfylleth’s excellent The Mercian Sphere as case in point. Drudkh’s new EP serves as an excellent introduction to this particular style of stark black metal, a sub-genre which has grown well and released some exceptional albums over the last five years.
Drudkh’s three covers are fairly straightforward, simple arrangements hovering around the five minute mark, but it is Winterfylleth’s cover of Hate Forest that steals the show, with the Manchester band stamping it with their signature tone and superb execution. If you’re wondering “WTF is Hate Forest?” they were formed in the 90s by Drudkh’s leading members, Roman Saenko and Thurios. And they are dodgy as fuck, and not in a fun way. You can see how the connections of this EP come together now, right?
This a strong EP, and given the aforementioned context it is an important release for the genre. For any fans of extreme metal that this piques the curiosity of, a visit to Drudkh’s Bandcamp page for a doorway into Ukranian black metal most definitely should be on the cards.
Sounds Like: Wodensthrone, Fen, Wolves In the Throne Room,
Standout Track: The Gates