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The spirit of nature, manifested as art. - 88%

ConorFynes, September 14th, 2015

While Blood in Our Wells may be Drudkh's better album musically, I cannot think of another album that captures natural atmosphere as profoundly as Autumn Aurora. When September or October roll around, this album always comes into mind. Drudkh may have not had the most consistent career around, this album alone could have ensured their place among the greatest their genre has ever laid host to. They're rarely the sort of band that would sound interesting without the atmosphere, but it's hard to hold that against them when they conjure a mood so well. There is a magic to behold in the sense that a collage of raw guitars, tumbling drumwork, screams and the occasional nature sample can evoke such a strong picture in the mind's eye. For me, listening to Autumn Aurora is like taking a brief retreat from society, becoming alone and one with nature; ancient, vast, and glorious.

The fact that Drudkh nail that atmosphere so well is made more impressive by the fact that every second or third black metal band has meant to do the same. Most grasp at echoes of the magic, but ultimately sound grounded, and not in the earthly way they're intending. Drudkh made great lengths towards achieving this on their debut Forgotten Legends, but that album was otherwise held back by its trying repetition and monotony. While I'm convinced a grasp of atmosphere is something you either 'have' or don't have from the start, Drudkh became far more adept at bringing their atmosphere to light via more dynamic means. Their composition is still pretty minimalist by most band's standards, but Autumn Aurora finally employed the band's inherently strong riffs in such a way that they never get boring to listen to.

Drudkh's ideas tend to be solid by and large, but Autumn Aurora carries a mystical undercurrent that sets it apart from their other albums. There's a really organic feel, for example, to the way the lead guitar in "Summoning the Rain" is handled. The rough-yet-controlled feel to the guitars sounds like it was concocted simultaneously, or drawn out from the floor of a lake. The expected folkish undercurrent remains strong throughout the album; acoustic guitars are rarely given a spotlight outside of brooding intros, but you can almost always hear them strumming away behind the wall of distortion. Such a simple addition to Drudkh's sound makes Autumn Aurora much prettier-sounding than its barebones predecessor.

There's an emotional aloofness throughout Autumn Aurora; it is vast and plenty reverent to nature, but it lacks an intimate touch. This would make most other albums sound relatively cold, but I think it works for what Drudkh were trying to accomplish here. The gritty, repeating riffs, the sparse growls, everything sounds warm without giving the impression you're in the company of others. It is purely solitary art, and that's a good part of the reason why the atmosphere works so well. With regards to atmosphere, the are only a handful of albums that see fit to create a 'mental cinema' in my mind while I'm listening to them. In Autumn Aurora's case, I'm regaled with images of wind rustling through trees, of twilight sweeping across a forest. Those images are par for the course for most any nature-themed black metal, but it's very seldom that music ever evokes it as well as here.

Drudkh's masterpiece culminates with "The First Snow", a song that truly sounds like it was forged in the liminal region between autumn and winter. The black metal is distilled to none but its most beautiful, harmonious elements, the tempo slows down to a melancholic plod, and the acoustics take a higher priority in the mix. For a relatively long piece that doesn't use more than two ideas throughout, "The Final Snow" never wears thin. It could probably go on for half an hour and I wouldn't mind. That's the sort of atmosphere that Drudkh bring to the table; timeless, masterful and surprisingly authentic. There are plenty of times I think one of their later albums is my favourite, but I keep coming back to Autumn Aurora. For their part in it, Drudkh have created a work of art that would sound just as evocative if it were released twenty years from now, as opposed to over a decade ago. Don't try to figure this album out; there's nothing to unlock. Sit back, and let it pass over you. Real atmosphere is surprisingly hard to come by, and this album has it in droves.

Happy black metal, anyone? - 84%

dark_serenity, August 14th, 2013

Those who would regard this as the finest Drudkh album, hasn't obviously listened enough to the some of the other great albums by this band... at least in terms of technicality. That being said, what makes this album special is the sheer innovation of adorning black metal with a whole new dimension which is far from being cold and bleak, as typically this genre is characterized by. This is perhaps the one and only black metal album I've listened to which actually sounds "happy" and has plenty of elements of the spring season, as evident from the album name Autumn Aurora. Sadly though, very few bands took to this dimension of rather warm and joyful atmospheric black metal, which makes this album stand out as a classic in it's own glory.

The album starts with the intro track "Fading" which heralds the advent of spring with plenty of elements of the atmosphere entwined with a short guitar solo. This track, it should be noted, is in sharp contrast with the last song of the album "The First Snow" which announces the phasing out of the warmth as nature gets ready for winter (the first snow). "Fading" almost automatically leads to the second song "Summoning the rain" which richly melodious. Although this song, and the remaining ones in the album, sound very pleasing to the ears one quick thing to note is that there is a serious lack of riffs in the entire album and it never reaches the point-of-no-return or climax in any of the songs. That's perhaps my only complaint about this album, but nevertheless each song is great in it's own merit. Agreed that atmospheric black metal typically consists of repeated sound patterns, the ears feel a little dull in that aspect when listening to Autumn Aurora.

"Summoning the rain" ends with the sound of falling rain and leads to the "Glare of Autumn." This song and the next two songs "Sunwheel" and "Wind of the night forest" are where the album reaches the zenith of good musicianship. Once again, not any of these songs carry with them the cold rawness of typical black metal. "Sunwheel" for example, representing the pagan sun cross, seems to offer a multitude of melody to the pagan sun god. Though the vocals are quite minimal in this album compared to other Drudkh albums, the growls of Thurios falls right in place with the other instruments and conceives a holistic package suited to impress amateur as well as experienced black metal listeners or any heavy metal music fan for that matter. The album ends with the song entitled "The First Snow" which in my opinion is too long of a songs and perhaps could be shortened. It has a very short unique riff which is repeated far too many times through the song. This song typically marks the end of autumn and the beginning of winter and perhaps is the only song is the album with a sad and melancholic feel given the warmth of the atmosphere is slowly fading away.

All in all, Autumn Aurora, the second studio album by Drudkh is a great listen and a worthy follow up of their first album Forgotten Legends. Unlike other black metal albums which require several listens before the intricate musicianship starts to coherently make sense, Autumn Aurora has its hooks on you right from the beginning because it is very difficult not to like this album. But then, once you start liking it and dig a little deeper for uniqueness it disappoints a bit. I would believe this album has given traditional black metal a new dimension, a rather happy and positive dimension which no other band seemed to have followed up with. Despite the lack of an abundant number of riffs, this album goes down as a classic in the history of black metal because of ingenious new dimensions.

Ukrainian Autumn - 79%

Killer_Clown, April 21st, 2012

After "Forgotten Legends' comes their second - "Autumn Aurora". In a moment people acknowledged this album as classics of Drudkh in particular and black metal in a whole. But to my mind, there's nothing special. Yes, this is a good instance of such music but nothing more than that. For example, their previous and their next releases are much better by their musical and lyrical content.

The first thing that you may pay attention to is the cover. It depicts the sorrowful autumnal time in the middle latitudes of Eastern Europe. This cover (especially the left one) really creates the special ineffable atmosphere of the moment and you anticipate the appropriate continuation on the album with pleasure.

Actually the cover to some extent conveys the purpose and the essence of "Autumn Aurora". Moreover, the cover itself captures even more than songs in here. Unfortunately, the tracks are not so capturing and alluring (as in comparison with other works) and they cannot create you a mood. It just sets you indifferent.

I do not understand people (and I doubt whether I will do understand them) who say that "Autumn Aurora" is the peak of the career or the main prosperity of Drudkh. No, obviously not. If we talk about their best we have to mention "Blood In Our Wells", "Microcosmos" but not this one. Most likely that "Autumn Aurora" is the most obscure and fortunately passed part of their glorious career.

However "Autumn Aurora" sounds approximately like their other releases - it still has its moments but it is only much more boring. Not to say that it disappointed me very much but I was not as pleased as after their first. "AA" sounds more polished than the forerunner but it does not disclose in the full extent that amount of ideas and ambitions Drudkh had for this time.

"Autumn Aurora" seems to be similar to "Forgotten Legends" in many respects. The sound is soft enough, rather slow, there are no blastbeats fortunately. Also there are many east-european folk motifs. So, the album has many common with preceding one. Almost everything was taken from "FL". But as I said above, "AA" is much more boring. And this fact can make fans happy and I still doubt how the great number of fans can consider it as classics.

To highlight: maybe the second and the third ones. They are almost flawless.

You've gotta be fucking kidding me - 20%

Noktorn, May 27th, 2011

It's my job to clue you all in: Drudkh sucks. More to the point, Drudkh has ALWAYS sucked, and even their oldest material is no exception. I know there's plenty of people out there who think Drudkh's a shitty band but make some weird exception for 'Autumn Aurora' as if anything different from the project's dozen other boring albums actually occurs, but that's a totally bullshit claim. Drudkh really hasn't developed an iota since their first album because they really don't need to; they've learned that all they have to do to make money is put an appropriate amount of delay on their guitars, play generic Slavic folk melodies, and repeat themselves over and over again and you people will buy it because you have no standards.

Then again, I'm really coming to this late to the game- I've certainly thought Drudkh suck for several years now, but no one's REALLY given a shit about them since 'Estrangement' came out and disappointed everyone for reasons I don't really understand. It was kind of funny to see, actually- Drudkh was at the top of the world of atmospheric black metal for a couple years, and then seemingly instantly no one gave a shit anymore. I wonder why- maybe it's that their music was never great and essential like people said, but just transitory, flashy, and ultimately meaningless? No, of course not- they have lots of pictures of trees on their album covers! We're dealing with a modern, sensitive black metal here, folks, the kind that thinks Mayhem is kind of yucky and blast beats should only be used ironically or in conjunction with major key riffs.

My essential problem with Drudkh, which comes out more on this album than perhaps any other, is that they have no true personality of their own. 'Autumn Aurora' is quite literally nothing more than a shameless rehashing of 'Filosofem' with half the taste and twice the overwrought folk riffs and gleaming backing synths. The band makes no attempt to hide the fact that 'Filosofem' is the only point of reference: the guitar tone is an exact replication of Varg's, the vocals occupy a similar position in the music, and the perpetual repetition of simple melodic themes are all verging on plagiarism. The difference between Drudkh and Burzum is that Varg had an essential grasp of melody, of how to slowly develop a song over the course of a track- in actuality, Burzum isn't nearly as starkly repetitive as Drudkh is. On the other hand, the Ukrainians just slog through the same melodic fragments over and over again with little to no variation. In the pursuit of aping Burzum, Drudkh come out with the exact OPPOSITE of everything Burzum managed to achieve.

What are there, like five riffs on this album? Okay, maybe that's harsh, but I would say there's more than fifteen at a stretch, and even that's a really liberal estimate. Fifteen riffs over forty minutes means that each riff is getting almost three full minutes of playtime. This isn't necessarily a problem- I enjoy a lot of droning, minimal black metal- but the riffs are so fucking boring, simplistic, and cliche-ridden that I can barely stomach them. They're all listlessly strummed arrangements of Ukrainian folk melodies which have absolutely no drive or motion behind them because there's zero emphasis put on any sort of variation within them. Constructing riffs in an ambient manner can work, but the thing is that you have to add small variations, little elements that pile up and eventually take you to a very different musical place. Drudkh never does this- a track starts in one place and won't even take a single fucking step outside that tiny box it starts in. There's no sense of development or motion to this music, just an endlessly repeated and horribly generic 'atmosphere' that anyone could create with the same tools.

There's some really boring acoustic guitar work sprinkled throughout this record as well as some hilarious cock-rock solos, but neither of them do anything. Like the backing synths, they seem there just to maintain the illusion that there's more going on than there actually is. Everything on this album has reverb, delay, and distortion piled onto it to try and create a wall of sound that appears thicker than it actually does, but peel away the effects and you see how amateurish it really is. I think the vocals are a great example: they're just there. Someone is distantly screeching in the background, and it has absolutely no relevance to the music. They're so quiet you can just ignore them when they appear, used so sparingly that the album is borderline instrumental, and employed in such an arbitrary way that they don't even feasibly punctuate any major moments in the songs. Like the acoustic guitars and synths, they're only there to project an image, not to add anything to the music.

All this being said, I'm not going to avoid giving credit where it's due: the drumming is the sole bright spot on what's an otherwise incredibly boring album. Yuriy Sinitsky has a drumming style that's unobtrusive but still lush and creative, adding a lot of rhythmic dimension to otherwise static guitars and vocals. The way he plays with hi-hats and bass drums feels much more jazzy than conventionally black metal, but he weaves these unusual elements into the texture of the music with ease. I'd really like to hear more of this guy drumming- here's hoping he's involved with some projects of his own in the future. His work here is oddly more remarkable than most of what he's done with Lucifugum or other big name Ukrainian artists- I'd like to hear him bring some more of this style out, perhaps on an album he has more creative control in.

Of course, drumming isn't going to save a shit album, and it certainly doesn't here. Drudkh is one of the ultimate emperor with no clothes bands for me; their shtick is entirely transparent and relies on people with no critical thinking skills (or no familiarity with Burzum) appreciating them. I haven't heard a single Drudkh releases that deserves anything more than a $2 price tag in a bargain bin, and even this, their 'greatest' album, is no different. Please, force the black metal scene to have some standards and don't listen to shit like this. You're only making it worse when you do.

An absolute classic - 99%

dystopia4, April 2nd, 2011

There are many things that can go wrong with atmospheric black metal. There are many bands that are great at the atmospheric part, but couldn't play decent black metal if their lives depended on it. What was intended to be a hypnotic atmosphere might come off as boring and tedious. Drudkh falls victim to no such fate, with both atmosphere and black metal weaved together to make one of the best black metal albums ever released. There is not a single moment on this album where Drudkh comes off as dull, everything falls perfectly into place. It is rare that such an original album graces the realm of black metal.

Picture yourself in a vast forest on an autumn's day. The leaves have changed color and there is a soft wind blowing. This is exactly the atmosphere that Autumn Aurora captures. The fuzzy electric guitar, the serene acoustic guitar, the crashing of the cymbals and the sparse deep rasps all converge to create the perfect aesthetic. The guitar tone on this album is very unique. It is not crushingly distorted, but it is fuzzy enough to not sound out of place in a black metal album. It is prominent but does not overpower everything. The magnificent melodies of the lead guitar are rare, but extremely powerful when they do show up.

The vocals are much more deep than the high pitched screams that are typical of black metal. They are not buried in the mix. Neither are they distractingly loud. They fit in perfectly. The drums on this album are phenomenal. They are often repetitive, with emphasis on the cymbals. Their repetitive nature is hypnotic, rather than boring. On "Wind of the Night Forests", the drummer proves he is also capable of intricate patterns. When metal bands include synths, it is often cheesy and over the top. On this album they are tasteful, not overdone and add depth to the songs.

Black metal is most known for being bleak, depressing, grim and evil. With Drudkh's sophomore release, they prove that black metal isn't limited to one aesthetic or vibe. While there are still traces of melancholy, Autumn Aurora is beautiful and almost hopeful at times. "Fading" is a perfect introduction to this autumn journey. The acoustic guitar plays serenely with birds chirping in the background. The intriguing riff that starts off "Sunwheel" is hopeful; almost joyful. While this might sound cheesy on a black metal album, in this case it is anything but. "The First Snow", the album's final track, signals the end of autumn. There is something beautiful about the repetitive acoustic guitar and synths. Instead of drawing the listener into a bout of apathy, it is hypnotic.

If you are looking for a black metal album packed to the brim with relentless blast beats, evil sounding guitars with unrelenting distortion that refuse to touch a major scale and over the top wails, this isn't your album. If you are looking for the perfect atmosphere and originality, you won't be disappointed. This is an absolute classic of the black metal genre, and certainly deserves all the attention it gets.

Amazing - 100%

M3TALMANIAC750, February 21st, 2011

One of the things that makes a great album, especially in the black metal or depressive black metal genres is atmosphere. The ability of a band to capture a certain atmosphere whether it be depressive and melancholy, or hateful and dark, the atmosphere of a black metal album is important. This album delivers a thick sorrowful, and very natural atmosphere. Out of the 4 Drudkh albums I've listened to this one is by far their best.

This album will capture the listener and draw them away into the middle of forest right in the middle of autumn, hence the title Autumn Aurora. The introduction is an acoustic piece with various nature sound effects. Its a perfect lead in to the rest of the album. What I immediately notice is how the guitar tone works with the synth and keyboards to provide a sorrowful and completely natural sound. It captures the essence of autumn fading into winter. The guitar tone is fuzzy and not too high in the mix, but no too low either. The riffing style is very similar to that of Burzum, think fuzzy guitar tones, depressive and emotional melodies. Every so often they throw in some nice guitar leads that add a wealth of feeling to the atmosphere. There are also a few nice acoustic passages to be found as well.

The synth is used quite effectively on this album as well, many times it's more prominent in the mix than the guitars, and the melodies always have a very melodic and yet sorrowful feel to them. One of the best examples of this is the track Glare of Autumn the guitar drones on in a hypnotizing riff while the keyboards play a very profound and emotive melody on top of it. To me the way the synth and guitar work together to create the atmosphere is the best part of this album

There is also credit to be given to the drum work in this album. Many times it is a hypnotic beat that's very repetitive, but it's very effective throughout the entire album. On occasion the drums play some pretty nice fills and do more than just keep the traditional hypnotic depressive style beats. Sometimes they come out of the mix and really shine. There is a wealth of double bass on this album, and the drums don't overwhelm everything they are pretty even in the mix with everything.

The last point is about the vocals, they aren't necessarily the most memorable thing about the album, but they are very effective. The vocal tone is more of snarl or mid-pitched growl then the usual black metal screech, and it sounds like there is a good deal of reverb added. You can feel the sorrowful emotion as he snarls. The vocals are also very well-produced, not polished production mind you, but it has the exact effect i'm sure they were going for: raw emotion and atmosphere.

To summarize the word I've used most is atmosphere, and its for a good reason, the vocals, guitar, synth and drums (the bass is pretty much inaudible.) work together to create the perfect atmosphere of the beauty of autumn and yet the sorrow and death of the beginning of winter. The album is like listening to all the emotions conveyed from late autumn to early winter. The sound created is a very natural, very emotional very thick atmospheric sound and it's done perfectly. This album has no flaws, everything fits together to create an album only gets more enjoyable the more you listen. Beware: if you start the album, you will get lost in its atmosphere and be hypnotized by its beauty.

Early Bedtime Tonight - 93%

OzzyApu, September 21st, 2010

Autumn Aurora moves away from the murky background that Forgotten Legends basked in toward the whole of autumn itself. The gloom and despair of the debut is shunned by the everlasting birth and rebirth of life that autumn sits between, yet this sophomore effort intermingles with both and retains the style from the debut to give us an offering that itself can only be deemed as Drudkh’s best. To listen to this means to step away from civilization and mankind – even for a little while to keep you alive inside. That won’t make much sense to some of you, but trust me, you’ll need every bit of help in this messed up world we live in.

Six tracks makes more to break down and experience individually as separate journeys; some last dozens of seconds while others last several minutes - each carry their own touch of ethereal embrace. Just hearing the stratum of oxidized temperate atmosphere is enough to change my outlook on any given moment. The fuzzy distortion makes its return, although its infusion adapts to the open-ended clarity amidst incised, begrudging notes. Autumn Aurora relies heavily on rhythms instead of climaxes, a statement (one can assume) on life’s continuous progression forward regardless of outbursts on humanity’s part. The music itself isn’t progressive – don’t be fooled by words – in fact, the simplistic strum-etching style Saenko employs is a form of little effort that creates forests of roaring layers. The air fizzes hypnotically, echoing the melodic, blissful tunes seemingly passed down from legendary folk tunes; hardly the reality, but still spellbinding and soothing either way.

The bass back up isn’t very apparent when listening to say on my computer, but when I’m asleep and up close with the music, it grows like grass as the hair of the earth. Booms and churning lava rivers of natural warmth glaze the fervent tone, with massive exuberance especially on songs like “Wind Of The Night Forests” when all the instruments gang together with the non-sappy acoustics and synths in a frenzied whirlwind. Drumming I’m also a huge fan of, as Yuriy rolls and paces cleanly and calmly throughout the expedition on a buff, tumbling-style of drumming. He goes for lots of constant cymbal hits and timed, implanted drum bass plunges and hefty snares. These patterns are intensely catchy and hold no subversion as black metal would have one assume – they only coexist moodily.

The last bits of autumn’s rust are the vocals, which resonate eternally through every autumn you’ll ever live through. Thurios howls with wide, tattered screams that, although not too abundant in variety, insist on being the Sasquatch of the music, I guess. They aren’t out of place, and in fact are the one element that keeps this album from becoming utter ambiance for the human realm of sanity (read: instrumental nature ambience). Likewise, these screams cry for the seasons themselves, like it translates nature’s pain for us. The one track that doesn’t need this contribution is “The First Snow” - a track that reminds me a whole lot of the intro to Burzum’s song “Det Some En Gang Var”. “The First Snow” is an enthralling instrumental that sums up the entire experience with delectable synths and guitars forming the infinite buzzing breath as it goes in and out of straightforward strokes to amplifier humming.

Drudkh proved to be an entity not on the verge of something superb, but already an unremitting life form of great fortune. Now obviously we know that they threw that out the window in favor of making shitty rural wank albums, but since then they’ve returned back to what truly made them a band that created an art to listen and experience passionately. No more riffs for the sake of riffs – people can write all sorts of riffs, but Drudkh were more about thought and the final picture. Pictures can be worth a thousand words, but it’s the ones like Autumn Aurora that can do without words as they shut you up and take you on a voyage, instead.

Drudkh - Autumn Aurora - 95%

ThrashManiacAYD, August 25th, 2009

To accompany my review of the recent Drudkh release "Microcosmos" I have taken onboard the opportunity to pass judgment on an older album of the bands'. Choosing my favourite is extremely difficult; despite clear stylistic similarities running between every Drudkh release (with possible exception to 2006's acoustic "Songs Of Grief & Solitude") they each possess a slightly different feel, a variance in their palette of colours used in the construction of such poignant, emotional music. Alas I have plumped for "Autumn Aurora" - "Blood In Our Wells" could equally have been chosen however such is the scale of greatness that Drudkh have frequently touched.

As I have touched on so frequently, an album's cover is intrinsically important to the overall view of the music contained within. For those who shamelessly download only you will never know the feeling of holding a CD, or better still a vinyl if you're cool like me, in which you can almost wring the sweat of devotion and passion out of it. You're missing out. "Autumn Aurora"'s cover is no different, setting the scene for a free-spirited ride through Drudkh's interpretation of nature, paganism/heathenism and Ukranian/Slavonic history, often told through the lyrics of Ukranian poets past and present. Stark, moribund and simple, it is infinitely better than any recent garish CGI nightmare so many bands insist on using.

If this cover had a sound, surely it would be opening track "Fading". The sound of birds and nature sit peacefully against an acoustic guitar, making you the listener feel miles from anywhere even when amongst the hustle and bustle of everyday city life. Drudkh may ultimately be labelled a 'black metal' band for wont of a better description but the likes of "Summoning The Rain", "Glare Of Autumn" and "Wind Of The Night Forests" are too graceful to be tagged alongside the hordes of corpse-painted faux-Satanic worshippers. The classic rock solo midway through "Wind Of The Night Forests" contrasts with the thin and distant rhythm guitars strumming diligently throughout it's 10 minutes, thus serving as a great metaphor for the size of what Drudkh do; without seemingly trying they have become a band that convey feelings about a life almost their entire fanbase would not know of, and in some respects could only dream of. This is done through a fairly simple song structure, high on reverb and patient in approach but with such overwhelming charm the boundless fields of Ukraine seem but a mile from me here in concrete north London.

Though quietly evident throughout, the use of keyboard-led atmosphere comes to the fore in 9-minute closer "The First Snow". Recalling the fantastic dark ambient influence in early- and mid-era Burzum, the grainy production invites you to forget everything you previously knew about black metal - it is, and can be, this beautiful. Coming from someone who has never caught the bug of 'symphonic black metal', I personally feel this is the level at which keys/synth work best in the genre. Despite being 'softer' sounding than what you might get in Dimmu Borgir, the comparative atmospheres generated need no comparison; useful when about the only thing anyone can agree on with regards to how BM 'should' sound is that atmosphere of one description or another is absolutely vital.

"The First Snow" finishes with the sound of cold winds, closing this chapter that started at the end of summer and has taken us through the dwindling sunshine of the autumn to the onset of Eastern European's horrendous winters. Drudkh and their stylistically similar bands are not for the attention deficit generation who need their music to spill it's load within 30 seconds of pressing play (or clicking 'download album'). Have some patience and expand your mind to accept an album like this because as much as anything else, it will tell of your attitude towards music in general, not just extreme metal at it's finest.

Originally written for

One of The Best Atmospheres - 92%

blacknumenorean, December 16th, 2008

This was the first album I had heard from Drudkh, having stumbled upon their name on some forum. When I saw the album cover and title, I was a little skeptical. However, the first listen blew me away entirely.

Autumn Aurora tells how summer fades and autumn comes, until it fades again into the cold, harsh winter. An amazing thing about Autumn Aurora is that the song titles are represented perfectly in the actual songs. For example, Summoning the Rain actually creates the feeling and atmosphere as rain falls from the heavens and thunder booms in the background.

A very big surprise to me on my first listen was Sunwheel, which sounds joyful and happy for black metal, and I'm sure everyone else has had and will have the same experience. It takes a while to get used to;nonetheless, this track is beautiful and it will elevate you to another place and time. However, this joyful feeling cannot last forever and autumn's last days come to a close. Wind of the Night Forests wraps up autumn with the coming of fierce winds and cold nights. This song is pretty dark and it has an awesome solo about halfway through. The First Snow tops it off with a dark ambient feel that signals the beginning of winter.

Overall, all the instruments flow together perfectly. The riffs are catchy, the drums sound very natural, the vocals are quite good and fit in well with the rest of the instruments. The synth work is heard mostly on Glare of Autumn and The First Snow and it creates some of the best moods and images.

My favorite thing about this album is how the songs transition into each other. For example, listen to the Glare of Autumn. It starts of with a melancholy riff, and by the end of the track, an uplifting riff is playing. Then Sunwheel starts, which is very uplifting. Also, Sunwheel's mood gets darker at the end of the song for its transition into Wind of the Night Forests.

This album has great replay value and I recommend listening to it when its raining. It also helps if its Autumn. :)

I highly recommend this album to any black metal fan.

Regal Energy - 90%

Arboreal, October 27th, 2008

Autumn Aurora is a concept album based upon the fall season. This was one of the first black metal albums I discovered since Hvis Lyset Tar Oss that really knocked my socks off and didn't plagarize that album endlessly (or Filosofem for that matter).

I must say, this one REALLY takes my mind on a journey...

Melodic, ambient keyboards abound and sit just under the guitars which creates a dazzling, haunting wall of sound. The guitars are very fuzzy and remind me of Hate Forest which makes some sense considering the ties there. The vocals are mid range growls that fit the music well and don't dominate the mix.

I really like these vocals a lot. Not too shrieky, not too croaky More like a howling, shouty wail/snarl if that conjures up something for you. Very emotive and they have an undeniable Slavic quality that actually adds some great eclectic charm to this recording!

Production is not quite as clear or punchy compared to Blood In Our Wells and some of Drudkh's more recent releases but I prefer this sound. The bass guitar is a little low but it doesn't bother me since it just seems right. Each instrument's part is very reserved in the typical black metal fashion. The guitar playing is almost always very simple and rhythmic for instance.

The drumming is solid and there isn't a whole shitload of blasting, so take that as you will. There ARE however lots of cymbals present (which I love) and occasional toms which give off a very primal feel and adds flair to the whole mood. There's still blasty bits around but they are considerably slower than your average blast tempo and have more variation in the patterns. This is great, I think metal needs way fewer blast beats in general. Can't some of these fuckers come up with an interesting, creative beat that also happens to be less than 200bpm? I didn't realize that the typewriter in my closet was a percussion instrument.

Anyway, this album does recall Hvis Lyset Tar Oss at times but that's the nature of the beast. You could pick out music Burzum sounds like, too. Kraftwerk+Thorns demos=???? But this cheapens the greatness of what Varg did and oversimplifies the issue. And comparing this with Burzum's works is not totally fair either. I just felt it should be mentioned as being a pretty significant influence.

However, Autumn Aurora defines it's own greatness by embodying gentle sunshine, cool rains, and calm forests...all with a certain yearning melancholy underneath which I can only surmise as being too beautiful to fully express.

I have to say it, I actually like Drudkh more than Burzum. Put on the headphones and play this album from beginning to end in one sitting. If you liked Hvis Lyset Tar Oss this should be virtually guaranteed to please. Regardless, just don't expect to headbang or have your balls drop from the "AwEsOmE riffz dood!!1"

A new black metal classic.

Superb - 97%

skywards, December 21st, 2007

This being my favorite Drudkh album they have released and maybe even my favorite in the genre of the black metal. It is necessary to review this album, because of its sheer beauty, and its originality in which it has injected into the style. Setting it out from the crowd and into the forefront of the European black metal scene.

The first thing I noticed when I fist listened to Autumn Aurora was the stunning synths, which I would say are some of the best I have heard. They feel so over powering, taking your mind into a trance throughout the whole length of the album.

The synths give the music an organic feel, making it sound natural and fresh. With enough room in the production for each instrument to breath and to be appreciated. With all the guitars, drums and synths to be heard, although the bass seems to be almost impossible to hear with all the layers over it.

With this, the music brings to you a scene of forests, lakes and mountains, just as autumn begins. With leaves turning brown and the fresh autumn wind. This is pretty much unlike any other album. An album, which can set a mood and a scene, so vividly even the album cover seems to be so reflective of the music contained. On the last track titled 'The First Snow', it has a completely different atmosphere, feeling much colder, almost as if the song represents the ending of autumn into winter.

The drums throughout Autumn Aurora are also pretty impressive, enhancing the overall atmosphere and sound. An example of this is at the beginning of 'Summoning The Rain' when the drummer uses the toms abundantly, contributing to the atmosphere immensely and really helping the feeling of autumn landscapes to come though. Although in some parts of Autumn Aurora with the drums blast beats do occur, but they sound well placed. Like in ‘Sunwheel’ where they feel so powerful and skillfully played, just showing how if a band comes together with all the elements of one feeling, in this case autumn, they can create such an album like this.

Well, finally onto the vocals. Well simply they fit the music and atmosphere perfectly, having a certain amount of echo, which to say the least sound superb. The vocals also have the right amount of presence, not getting in the way of the guitars or synths. But simply enhancing the overall sound at times.

Overall, what can I say, this album is a superb listen and if you are looking for atmosphere-it has it in abundance and the skills in all areas to match. From the drums and synths. To the guitars and vocals. This band is superb and so is this album. Simply a must buy for black metal and would be my first choice for a person who has never listened to Drudkh. Trust me-you won’t be disappointed.

Re-emergence Of A Dying Genre. - 82%

Perplexed_Sjel, October 7th, 2007

The formula is very much the same on Autumn Aurora as it was on Forgotten Legends. Drudkh are doing what they do best in creating an atmospheric piece of black metal music and putting their own special twist on a genre that had become quite bland before their arrival on the scene. It's unfair to suggest that Drudkh single handily turned the genre on it's head and made it better by tenfold because there are numerous bands out there that have contributed to the genre's re-emergence as a force to be reckoned with. However, Drudkh have had a hand in the matter, that much is for certain.

As previously stated, Autumn Aurora follows a set pattern Drudkh have laid down. It's all about creating an aesthetically pleasing atmospheric journey for the mind, body and soul. Considering the very fact that Drudkh have followed a set pattern may deter many people from continuing on their journey through the Drudkh pieces, but it shouldn't. Due to the short space in time between the first and second full-length's, it's easy to see why both albums could have easily been made into just the one. The same elements exist, the same concept exists and the effect is the same. Autumn Aurora is a spellbinding full-length. It uses a variety of tones and textures to create stunning soundscapes, which is again the most pleasing aspect of Drudkh's music.

Using by electric and acoustic guitars has again worked in Drudkh's favour. They blend together perfectly to create one hell of a sound. On the debut I could hear a folk undertow, and as with Forgotten Legends, I can hear it again. It comes in the form of the atmosphere created by the keys and acoustics. The mellow sections is where this idea prevails. There is a somewhat romantic feel to the music. It depicts, in terms of the images it conjures up, a perfect setting on a lovely autumn night. The wind is howling, the moon shines as bright as ever and nature sounds across the sky in the form of Drudkh's fantastic leads and unstoppable drums.

One aspect of this full-length that isn't like the last, is the vocals. They are not as predominant. They play a more subtle part and allow the music to flow. They're not restrictive as a lot of black metal vocals can be. They add depth to the atmosphere and fit into the mix quite well on the whole. However, the fact that they are not as predominant may detract from certain people's opinions of the album. In conclusion, Drudkh have conjured up an atmospheric and sometimes disheartened piece of music. The emotive feel is bound to grab the hearts and minds of a new generation of black metal listeners.

Gorgeous. - 92%

caspian, April 21st, 2007

Forest-y BM is fraught with dangers, but when done right it can be pretty great. I'd nominate this record along with Bergtatt as an example of what happens when it's actually pulled off.

Drudkh play a very repetitive style of black metal, with heaps of buzzy, simplistic riffing. The production is definitely worth a mention here. The guitars are really distorted, but there's still enough clarity, the vocals are buried in the mix nice and good, and the drums sound really freaking awesome... Just completely appropriate for the style of music. Another bonus is the great layering of the synths, and some well places, way down in the mix acoustic, which sounds really freaking cool.

It's pretty easy to describe these songs. For the most part, these songs are long, repetitive black metal dirges, but that doesn't mean they get remotely boring. THe riffs are always excellent, and everything has been very well structured. Drudkh manage to keep you interested, whether it's with an acoustic breakdown, a ripping guitar solo, or just a great change in riff. Songs like Glare of Autumn and Wind of the Night Forests are both around 10 minutes, but I wish they were longer, especially Night Forests, which has one of the greatest riffs ever (the ending riff). It's hard to think of a song as moving as Wind of the Night Forests.

Drudkh do mix it up a bit though, which is good. Sunwheel is more upbeat, and in a major key, which is pretty odd for a Black Metal band. Still, it works really well, and I hope they do it in other albums. It eventually switches to a more depressing feel, but it definitely works well for the song. The First Snow is also a bit of an oddity. It's an ambient track, with lots of acoustic guitars, synths and some distorted guitars supplying some background noise. It definitely shows Drudkh's skills- in most other bands, this kind of track would be terrible- but while it's decent, it's a pretty anticlimatic way to end the album. Oh well. It would've been good to swap Wind of the Night Forests with The First Snow, but you can get everything, I guess.

Still, if the worse thing I can say is that "The album should have a slightly different Track order", then you know it's a pretty damn good album. This will definitely appeal to BM fans, but I can see most people getting into this. Post-Rock and Ambient fans will probably dig this too. Dirgey, Repetitive, and totally Beautiful.. What more could you ask for in an album?

Slavonic Heathen Elite - 95%

Valmor, January 2nd, 2007

From the slavonic forestlands accompanied with tales of autumn’s beauty, enter Drudkh! Second effort from this ukrainian heathen trio and it is strongly successful! Ignore the weak, who complain of the sound, for the sound is perfect and big part for the atmosphere. Also ignore the blind who complain that “Hate Forest was NSBM, Drudkh are formed by the frontman of it, so Drudkh are NSBM too!”, abolish their existence with Perun’s thunder, for Drudkh are 0% NSBM. The meaning of Drudkh’s music has nothing to do with national socialism, but it does with national romantism. Drudkh glorify their homelands and its natural beauty in their music and lyrics, and they seriosly do it well!

The album starts with a very calm intro, Fading, where birds sing and an acoustic guitar leads you to the melancholic season of autumn. Followed by pair of maybe most atmospheric and very solid songs Summoning The Rain and Glare of Autumn. Now the most famous part of the album, the track Sunwheel causes alot of arguments between the fans about its meaning. Sunwheel is a symbol that was first used in the times of stone age, the neo-nazis did not invent it. I strongly say, that the track Sunwheel glorifies the pagan meanings of sun and its other important things too. It is of course easy to accidently think that Drudkh are contuing the NSBM legacy of Hate Forest, but no they aren’t. As the sun goes down, the moon comes up. Wind of the Night Forests is a very atmospheric song and very similar to Summoning The Rain and Glare of Autumn, but this one includes a guitar solo, so nothing more of it. The last track, The First Snow, is quite avant-garde and ambientish. It is a nine minute track that repeats few chords throughout the entire song. It is played with acoustic guitar and keyboards. The acoustic guitar plays almost the same, if not the same, that it does in the intro song Fading. Anyway in its minimalistic musical, but extremely grand atmospheric way the song is a good way to end autumn and start off a cold and dark pagan winter.

This album is a true milestone and masterpiece in black metal culture and ideology. I highly recommend this album to anyone who likes atmospheric metal music and to those who have liked other Drudkh releases too, but have not yet heard this one. A fantastic album that can be listened to time after time and when you’re old and lonely you might want to grab this from ye ol’ record shelf and take a listen. Privet slavonia!

A great follow-up - 96%

meedley_meedley, August 29th, 2005

The follow up to their debut Forgotten Fields is truly amazing. They used many new thing here as well as retaining many aspects of their first album. There's a couple more tracks this time and it's a bit longer. The sound, although similar in terms of ambience and atmosphere, it a little crunchier than the last, the drums are a little easier to hear, whereas when it came time to play fast before, it was hard to hear sometimes. The only reason that this isnt as good as the debut, is basically the music. Everything sounds better, but the songs dont have that epic vibe as much, whereas before every song was epic. I like to think of Drudkh's albums as times of the day. Forgotten Fields was like during the night in the forest, whereas Autumn Aurora is the next morning, with dusk falling upon the forest and eventually the sun coming up.

Nonetheless, opener Fading is some beautiful acoustic work which seems to take place in a forest.

This moves to Summoning the Rain, which definitly not Drudkh's best song ever, it's more of a average piece, but by their standards, it's still great. There's nothing truly different that the band hasnt dont before, maybe the reason the song is not the best is due to over repetition. Since the riffs are not as memorable, it seems like the song just keeps going. Good song otherwise.

Glare of Autumn is a bit long, and is again a kind of average song overall. It has it's moments but nothing too spectacular. Good song anyway, because Drudkh can do no wrong.

Sunwheel is an interesting song. It's an upbeat black metal song... heh. but since this is a rarity, when the vocals come in, it seems like something's off. But when you think about it, the vocals are used more like another instrument than anything else. The atmosphere given off is most original and something no other band has done, or done since. I truly think of the warm morning sun rising on a cool autumn day. There's a solo too, which is definitly fitting in this song.

Wind of the Night Forests is great. I like to imagine that it is now late-Fall and it's getting colder. But not winter yet. This may be the best song here, mostly because it is the most ferocious, which is probably the best word to describe it. This would have fit perfectly on FF, thats how atmospheric it is. The guitar tone even sounds like a small choir at times, which I find remarkable.

Since I've been describing times of the day and year, We reach the end of the album The First Snow, so it's obviously now winter, or close to. Drudkh hit the mark on this one. Even if I didnt know the title of the song, I still wouldve imagined a forest being blanketed by snow, and blizzard even. This is probably the darkest song here, highly contrast to Sunwheel. The use of the acoustic guitar is very well placed.

This is a truly great experience. I recommend this to everyone. I dont care what you listen to. That was probably the best way to close such a great album. It's also a good idea to listen to all of Drudkh's albums in consecutive order. Ive done it, and it's a greater feeling than just listening to one album at a time.

Extremely original "Nature" black metal - 85%

KayTeeBee, January 15th, 2005

Drudkh is the side project of Hate Forest, and Roman writes the music and plays all the instruments (With the exception of Yuri, who plays the drums but doesn't contribute in songwriting, I believe). The first Drudkh release, Forgotten Legends, was a rawer album which had agressive riffs, and brutal vocals, and it sounded a lot rawer than this album. This album has a bigger "Nature" feel to it, when you listen to the music you can actually picture nature in its purest form, as it was when civilization hadn't taken over. Just take a look at the cover and you'll see what I mean.

The guitars in Autumn Aurora are totally original, containing a lot of acoustic guitars that give a very "natural" feel to the music, but the distorted guitars are still quite impressive, pulling off riffs that sound very different compared to most black metal albums that have been released, both past and present.The drums are also very precise and diverse, Yuri does an excellent job at playing his instruments. I feel that drums that vary a lot are an important factor in this album, seing as the riffs are quite repetitive. The drums stand out the most in "Wind Of The Night Forests", with high-hats and crash symbals coming out of nowhere.

The feeling that this album gives is a feeling that I've very rarely felt, something that is only felt when I listen to simliar bands like Woods Of Ypres. I think it's the acoustic guitars that give it so much feeling, and also the fact that the guitars aren't fully distorted, but there's still enough to call this album black metal. If I could compare Autumn Aurora to only 1 other album, it would have to be "Pursuit Of The Sun & Allure Of The Earth" by Woods Of Ypres, which focuses on both relaxing guitar work and soothing atmospheres.

If you're picking up this album expecting brutal beats and agressive guitar work to headbang too, you're not picking up the right album. Although this is a black metal release, it mainly focuses on soothing the listener and bringing him into a relaxed and sleepy state of mind, without adding a bunch of weird effects too tire the listener. To enjoy this almost at its best, you have to be relaxed, it's a great album to listen when you just woke up or you're feeling relaxed and don't feel like hearing a bunch of riffs put together just for the hell of it that make 3 minute songs. Something you may wonder when you look at the song's length is why I haven't mentionned it being repetitive yet. I have to admit it, this album contains a lot of repetitive moments (especially in songs like "The First Snow"), but the atmosphere is so special that you don't notice it.

What I dislike about the album is that some parts could use a bit more distortion. The last song, "The First Snow", is the one that finished the album is a rather weird way. It has no drums, and the keyboards and weirdly distorted guitars make me wonder why they put this song in here, it basically sounds like a rough mix. They should add drums, a few more riffs, and an acoustic ending. Now that would make the album a lot more interesting (or the end of the album, at least).

However, all the other songs on Autumn Aurora were, as I already mentionned, soothing and very relaxing. A great album if you want to picture nature as it is without civilization, and certainly very enjoyable.

Melancholy and beauty from NSBM? - 92%

Cedric, December 7th, 2004

This album is ridiculously depressing. I was listening to it on my way to work, and I had to stop to focus on the music. Autumn Aurora is the second album from Drudkh, the pro-ject of Hate Forest members. Drudkh plays mostly instrumental music, reminiscent of Burzum in ways. Even the seemingly randomly placed vocals can be compared to Bur-zum in a way. The key differences are the more melancholy melodies, slightly more compressed production, and more flamboyant drumming, compared to the minimalistic drone of Burzum. Minimalistic drumming would make this just a Burzum clone album for the most part, and I think the drums are actually one of the main factors in this al-bum’s beauty.

The guitars have the slightly more thin sound reminiscent of earlier black metal, but with a more atmospheric edge to them. The bass is not really a significant factor, but is not inaudible, working as a support for the guitar. The songs are often introduced by nature sounds like rain or wind, usually followed up by the main guitar theme, supported with some very creative drum work, using cymbals and non-linear bass-drumming in a very unique fashion. Repetition may be boring in many bands, but you find yourself being fo-cused on the separate instruments at different times during the song. Slight changes in the chord voicings give a variety that does not stray too much from the main theme, but give it a slightly un-easy edge to the music that forms the more melancholy ideas. I am not aware of any lyrics for this, but as Hate Forest is a more NSBM band, and they tend to focus on those issues as well as nature, I assume the lyrics relate to that. That leads me to the topic of vocals. The vocals are very sparse on this album, spread thinly through the 9 minute-plus songs, mostly to provide a healthy variation and add to the atmosphere of despair. The vocals are of a Varg-esque quality, with slightly less hissing, but still enough venom. I would consider this mainly an instrumental album though, and it provides a beautiful atmosphere.

Brilliant Natural Black Metal - 100%

Vor, November 28th, 2004

Drudkh is yet another one of Ukraine's great gems, comprised of Hate Forest members. Knowing the atmosphere one recieves from a band like Hate Forest, I knew I was in for quite a treat when I found out about Autumn Aurora. This is black metal that represents the glory of nature and it's strength over the terrors of mankind. Just looking at the cover artwork will let you know that this is something for those into nature, and the music does not fall short of perfection to express that entity.
The album begins with beautiful nature sounds and an acoustic intro before breaking into magnificent and epic black metal that is shockingly emotional, giving the listener a wonderful feeling as being one with nature. The highlight of the album is definately the opus entitled "Glare of Autumn" which really moves me each time I listen to it. The beauty the song gives off is unmatched from anything else I've heard. It begins with simple acoustics and more nature sounds before bursting into an undescribable riff that lets out sheer joy while continuing to express the power of nature. One can imagine standing alone on a beautiful rich meadow with the sun shining brightly on the vast landscape around them while listening to the song. It is completely instrumental which is good because the song needs no words to express its great beauty.
The vocals are used very sparingly throughout the album but work effectively. They are not that low monstrous tone one would expect from Hate Forest, but more of a classic black metal rasp that fits the music perfectly. Guitars are simple yet carry the message across with their powerful simplicity one might expect from an album such as Burzum's Filosofem. The production is raw but at the same time very listenable. Even though it is raw, it sets a very thick and rich atmosphere to the music. Everything is perfect about this album. A definate must have for the natural black metal fans.

Awesome album, definitely better than the other. - 92%

WhenWolvesReturn, October 16th, 2004

The members of this band are in other bands, so it's no surprise that they're good musicians (especially considering it's Hate Forest members). I may be maimed for admitting this, but I really do like this band more than hate Forest, it just seems to click better.

The first track is assorted nature sounds, and it's obviously recorded in the woods and then had studio recorded instruments put over top of it. It might've sounded a bit more lo-fi but I wouldn't preferred the instruments to be recorded in the forest that the birds were recorded in. Very docile, and will make the rest of the album catch you off-guard with its Catchyness and overall just depression that goes in to it.

Glare of Autumn - This song really disappointed me when I first listened to it. It seems like the drummer just hits random drums for the first 30 seconds or so, and the guitar is a bit low in the mix. One thing I will say that hit me about all of this release is that the keyboards are at perfect levels throughout the whole release, and the singer is harsh and brutal, just like it should be. This song drags on a tad too long, however, considering that there isn't much guitar sound variation in it. Definitely Not the stand out track of this album.

Sunwheel - This is hands down one of my Top 10 favorite songs of all time. It starts out with a (rarely in black metal) joyish riff and a warm synth tone, with a pounding double bass part. EVERYTHING is perfectly in time in this song throughout the whole thing, and I can't think of anything better to describe it. The first time I heard this song, I was hooked on Drudkh for life. THis is the type of song that makes you just LOVE a band. One unfortunate thing about this song is about 8:47 long, shorter than the first song, but it doesn't drag like the first track! I could listen to this track and that riff for half an hour and it still wouldn't be enough. THE best song Drudkh has EVER produced.

Wind of the Night Forest - This song hangs out at the darker side of the band, obviously. It's a pretty big downfall in feeling from the previous song "Sunwheel". Not to skimp on their excellency, there's more overly awesome simplistic riffing and drum beats. The drummer is playing 16th notes on the hi-hat with varying beat patters on the rest of the drums. At just under 10 minutes, this song is the perfect length, not too long, not too short.

The first Snow - A largely Ethereal song that gives a feeling of both hope and desperation. I can't think of much to say about this song, but the guitar seems to play the same thing over and over and over without much change in what chords are being played; however, the synthesizers are as lovely sounding as ever.

All in all - I'd say this is a VERY good sit-down-and-listen album, but not one I would take on a very envigorating walk through the woods. This would fit well if you were camping out under the stars and wanted something to listen to, especially if there was a light dusting of snow on the ground. This is a black metal MASTERPIECE of an album.