By Noah Wortham
Ukrainian black metal band, Drudkh, has released a new single early alongside a video in protest of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Their official Bandcamp page details that “DRUDKH has always shown unwavering pride for their country through their music” and that this “poignant statement is a testament to their fighting spirit and love for their homeland.”
The new track, titled “Нічний – The Nocturnal One,” is a sample of the material for their upcoming album slated for later in 2022. This will mark the band’s first major studio release since 2018’s “Їм часто сниться капіж (They Often See Dreams About the Spring).”
Drudkh is known for fusing the sonic landscapes of black metal with folk-based themes and, on albums like “Blood in Our Wells,” material by Ukrainian poets. Despite this, there is still a mystique to the band as they tend to deny interviews and have not officially released the lyrics for a few albums like 2003’s “Forgotten Legends” and 2004’s “Autumn Aurora.” As with many black metal projects, there is a significant emphasis on instrumentation and atmosphere as opposed to the catchy hooks and lyrical focus found in other genres.
“The Nocturnal One” immediately assaults the listener with the raspy howls of vocalist Thurios and layers of guitar that are shrouded in reverb. The vocals have a consistent punch to their delivery in each verse but are balanced enough to not overshadow the mix. The distortion of the guitar adds to the fusion of the various textures within the mix. Vlad, the drummer, provides the track with alternating moments of fast-paced rhythm and accentuated cymbal taps.
The highlight of the track is the atmospheric bridge toward the halfway point that slows down the pace momentarily and strips back the instrumentation. The vocals cease and the distorted guitar and drums are allowed to reverberate in the mix. Additional instrumentation is slowly layered until a drum-kick signals a full return to the tracks assault.
The music video for the new track is directed by Jean Valnoir Sinoulin, also known as Metastazis. Containing various aerial shots and landscapes, the video showcases the marching of armies with flags that bear the moons phases alongside supernatural elements such as a giant and a dark Pegasus figure flying through fog. The music video toys with the camera’s movement and shot composition providing overhead and tracking perspectives but also a tilting effect. The overall effect of the music video produces a highly symbolic but substantially ambiguous image. Despite this, the video is entirely computer-generated and certain scenes appear to be hindered by the lack of detail.
Overall, this new track is a promising start and teases the potential of the upcoming album to be a great addition to their discography and a standout black metal album for the year. Hopefully political relations will be handled in such a way that the band members will make it safely through this conflict.
Drudkh’s record label, Season of Mist, has been in contact with the band and they explained that “”Even though we weren’t supposed to share any statement or music until later this year, we are grateful to get this new track out here today. It represents HOPE, may it strengthen those who need it.”