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Onward To The Recycle Bin! (Part IX) - 25%

OzzyApu, September 17th, 2009

Here begins Drudkh’s descent into mediocrity and, eventually, pure shit. This isn’t as bad as Blood In Our Wells, but it’s a true step down into a puddle of shit, rather than the sewer system that would be BIOW. Gone are the beautiful sounds of nature blissfully coexisting with hypnotic black metal, discarded pompously in favor of a more rural / folky sounding Drudkh. The guitar tone is much weaker and replaced with slightly-heard lead folk melodies and a wall of distortion. These not only make the album a whole hell of a lot weaker and less easy on the ears, but also incredibly boring, lagging, and dry. BIOW would really take these negatives and stretch them out, but here there’s at least a little bit more room to cope with benefits like melodic breaks and solos that are actually worth a damn.

With the first two albums, the sound was encompassing and lured the listener into an uncharted world where the problems of society could not yet taint the innocence that was discovered. With this, that connection is lost and the feeling is nowhere near as invigorating or valuable. I could literally see the colors jovial and magical before my eyes with the entrancing atmosphere of Autumn Aurora or the dark, melancholic voyages into the great beyond with Forgotten Legends, but I don’t really get anything from The Swan Road. The atmosphere is lacking, the tone is putrid, and the bass is substantially less impressive or useful than it was when filling the gaps on the first two albums.

The drums still manage to capitulate all envious bastards with wretch cymbal crashing patterns and ballistic tom attacks. Double bass is incredibly quiet and isn’t really something heard when casually listening to the album. The wall of sound just buries the entire thing like a canvas over a cake – you never get to taste it! Vocally its still pretty decent – tormented growls that yearn for a new hope. They’re clear while sounding a bit distorted, but still grasping with emotion and turmoil.

The whole thing reminds me of a Burzum album – like a cross between Filosofem and the shittiest parts of Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, which seems nearly impossible since that album was a near-masterpiece. It’s got that droning, constant lack of appeal instead of the hypnotic, elegant pleasure that made the first two albums so full of vigor. Some moments it manages to pull itself up for a while (the song “Fate,” for instance) and a solo or two make up for the lack of thought, but they’re easily forgettable when it comes down to the entire picture. The last song also I can’t stand, even if it is meant to be culturally significant – I think it sucks shit. It does nothing but leave a bitter taste in my mouth while at the same time has no lasting value, nothing to hold it together, and nothing keeping it from sitting at 200m on the firing range while I let loose a 5.56mm round from my AR-15.

One shot, one kill…