Review by Vinny for Drudkh - Handful of Stars (2010) Review by Vinny for Drudkh - Handful of Stars (2010)

Vinny Vinny / January 02, 2019 / 0

Following the amazing Microcosmos up was always going to be a challenge for even the mighty Drudkh to achieve.  The very niche Slavonic Chronicles that came out the same day as Handful of Stars showed that the combination of lush melodies and harsh and earthy bm was not entirely the order of the day anymore.  I actually heard the aforementioned EP ahead of the full-length and was unaware until researching this review they were released simultaneously.  Whilst I would not say that the EP content is mirrored by the album there is still a level of disappointment with both for me.

Handful of Stars feels like that previously juxtaposed yet harmonious marriage between melody and cold reality had started to show real sign of disengagement and the two forces were now becoming opposing of each other.  As such, although I would not go as far to say that it was a divorce or even a full-on separation, the two where most certainly sleeping in different bedrooms to my ear.

The richest part of the album for me is the crisp and soaring leads that punctuate some otherwise very boring and substantially uninventive song structures.  It sounds like the rest of the band really wanted to tone down the sound but the vocalist was by no means on the same page and stuck with the same harsh and scathing vocal attack.  In trying to rationalise this balance my brain focuses on the softer side to the sound too much because there is more of it and the vocals feel like they "jut-out" instead of add any means of dimension to the album.

This loss of depth to the song writing does not sound like it is done in panic though.  The album feels very assured, perhaps to the point of being over-confident in many regards.  Maybe even slipping towards some element of arrogance.  Whether the direction of the album was conscious or not, it was not a successful venture.  My admiration for most of Drudkh's output is encapsulated by their ability to pose such flourishing structures, deploying an abundance of melody to lift the poetic elements to their sound to truly magnificent heights, yet at the same time be able to represent the more indelicate nature of some of the more bm focused elements.  Here the feeling is that melody and an actual softness lead the way and the more aggressive tones are just drifting along behind.  Not their finest hour.  

Comments (0)