Review by Vinny for Drudkh - Autumn Aurora (2004)
Drudkh's natural tour de force was my first experience of the band, and what a great gateway record Autumn Aurora was. Opening with the sounds of the outdoors and continuing this theme throughout the album alongside soaring passages and atmospheric movements, ticked so many boxes in my brain it was hard to believe that it all fit so well together.
The depth of the sound of the instruments here was what impressed me the most upon first listen, and still does to this day. There's a richness to the notes and a ruddiness to the complexion of the whole musical soundscape the album unveils. Cleverly, the record maintains an assured and constant pace throughout also. Alongside all the interspersed sounds of nature, there is a healthy charge to the direction of the record that keeps things upbeat and varied where required. The drumming is strong and vibrant without ever becoming intrusive, the drums support the overall sound perfectly helping the formation of a complete picture being painted here.
There is of course folky elements to the record also that again serve to cement that variety and boost the spectrum of influences on display across the record. You can't not have the echoes of the more catchy elements of the record ringing around your head for days after listening to this record just once. Likewise, the more ambient moments reflect the sound of wildlife and the autumnal season the record represents and these also stick with you post-listening.
Astonishingly, for such a complete and opulent sounding record this was only the band's second full length, building well on the solid foundation left by the debut Forgotten Legends some 12 months before. For all the beauty present in these tracks there is a fierce, passionate and barely distilled sense of anger still acting as the key driver underneath the surface. Vocally the delivery is still harsh and scathing, rooting the album firmly in the realm of black metal whilst letting the rest of it explore near ethereal realms also.