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Originally released in 2003, long out-of-print, and reborn in a gorgeous deluxe digipak with all new and extended artwork! "Forgotten Legends", the stunning debut output from this mysterious Ukrainian band, allows them to rightfully claim the successful transformation of nature's crushing power into music. Their refreshing style lays somewhere between black, pagan and Viking metal yet is devoid of keyboards or acoustic passages. There is no doubt that this is obscure, sometimes violent, raw music yet it will also surely appeal to those who search for hypnotic transcendence within songs.
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Drudkh consume nature and restate it in an engrossing, developmental birth of audaciousness (this would be mastered on their next album). In Drudkh's current condition, this creates a groggy, muddy tone with hope coated in sludge and decadence. The production limits itself heavily to the guitars, which in turn play very straightforward, repetitive riffs with little extravagance except their own tuneful sorrow. These riffs display their own emotion, but always retain a buzzy, low-end sound behind the melodic forefront. Tempos never go blazingly fast or lose their foothold, showing how easy craftsmanship helps the cause no matter how undemanding it may sound. The guitars go through this raw process of a distortion - which is always heard behind the frontal guitar like some shredded vortex - enveloping the riffs in a warm, fat tone without losing its edge. Bass markups aren't hugely prevalent on their own terms, but with the music at hand it would be logical to keep it backing the rhythm. The bass accompanies the minimal, gentle temperament of the whole guitar sound to further reinforce the bleary, weighted tone, and that's as far as it will go in this bog of a setting.
The two other pieces to this jigsaw - the drums and vocals - both serve as backing roles to the bass, guitar, and overall tone. The drum mix isn't above the other instruments, but it's noticeably clear (clingy cymbals, quiet-but-juicy drum bass, bouncy snares, etc.); the playing itself is consistent, steady, Burzum-ish in some sense, and strictly rhythmic. It keeps the listener on key when changes in riffs aren't enough to value, and some of these drum patterns go from timers to very catchy beats which add another element to the fuzzy fog of guitars and bass. The vocals aren't very common, but are there to retain the dismal solitude of the situation; screams are the style, although the mix puts them under the guitars but widens them to where the charred, coarse screams fit with the emitted warmth.
Forgotten Legends rules subtly; some may get their [...] kicked by the first riff of "False Dawn," while others may not get the boot until much later. "Smell Of Rain" won't likely do anything since that's just a rainstorm (literally), but the other three do their part in creating a whirlpool of restrained, gravitational riff-ambiance that's worth your time. Check this out if you dig this sort of music and I can assure you that this is a keeper.
Drudkh did even better than this on later releases such as 'Autumn Aurora' and 'Blood in Our Wells', but 'Forgotten Legends' was a deep and spirited debut, which I highly recommend to all admirers of pagan nationalist metal.
The booklet contains some amazing artworks, which would appeal to those who love the work of Norwegian Theodor Kittelsen, however the artworks aren't credited so I'm not sure who is responsible for them. They are charcoal on canvas works depicting themes of Loss, Pain, Solitude, Betrayal and Melancholy, and complement the music perfectly.
All n All a Epic Release from this band
If anyone is a fan of metal or of extreme metal like Black and Death Metal trust me you will like Drudkh and this album.