Genre: Black Metal
Country: Ukraine
Label: Season of Mist – Underground Activists
Year: 2018

Almost a decade has passed since the release of ‘Microcosmos’, the last DRUDKH’s truly good work (and one of my two favorites since today, perhaps wins in the photo-finish against ‘Autumn Aurora’). A decade of a continuous journey into the vortex of mediocrity for a remarkable band like the Ukrainians is a long time, even accounting for the cynical reality that sometime during its existence, every musical project will go through this phase. However, there were few cases where a band failed to get out of this mire and for Drudkh this time was nine years and three albums later; the quartet from Kharkiv returns on… the path of Virtue with ‘Їм часто сниться капіж (They Often See Dreams About the Spring)’.

In about the forty-four minutes of album’s duration, the Ukrainians give form to the olden soul of works written by their compatriot poets Bohdan Ihor Antonych, Maik Yohansen, Wasyl Bobynśkyj and Pavlo Fylypovych, externalizing in a musical way every gloomy and melancholic feeling each poem hides. Having as a lodestar the heavy, full of thick, gray clouds atmosphere that embraces artfully the frozen rail riffs of the guitar, ‘Їм часто сниться капіж’ is a journey to the misty darkness of the early 20th-century Eastern Europe. The eerie serenity that prevails is down to the mellow and eternally monotonous musical themes and to some enchanting mid-tempo passages, but in parts there are also violent fits of rage, reminiscent of the outbursts of a weighed down teenager, living under pathetic conditions in an orphanage standing lonely in the outskirts of an isolated provincial city. And what comes to transmute the glacial dark aura of that era into abyssal-deep mental catacombs, in which the mind wanders eternally until it surrenders to utter paranoia, is the vocals; full of misery and endless grief, it feels like sleepless formless shadows hiding in the darkest corners of a childhood nightmare.

The ‘Їм часто сниться капіж (They Often See Dreams About the Spring)’ is a part of a distressing period, as I first started writing about it while I was experiencing a very difficult situation. A death, however, forced me to leave this review unfinished for a long time. On the day that this piece is completed, the calendar is on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, and what you read above is largely influenced by this death, but also totally expresses my feelings for the best Drudkh album of all time and one of the best in the atmospheric subgenre of black metal.