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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.