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Всі Належать Ночі

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Album Review: DRUDKH Всі Належать Ночі (All Belong To The Night)

9.5 Reviewer
Score

Ukraine has always been a world leader in the arts. The country is known for its classical musicians, composers, painters, ballet dancers, etc. Drudkh brings glory to their homeland as they emerge victorious in the black metal war. Formed in Kharkiv in 2002, Drudkh has clearly cemented their reputation as a must-know band. Drudkh is about to hit you with an all-Ukrainian bombshell when their eleventh album, Всі належать ночі (All Belong to the Night), drops on November 11.

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Unfortunately, before the current crisis, Ukraine seldom received the respect that it deserved from the West. This means that until recently, Drudkh's decision to record in their mother tongue was about as "untrendy" as borscht with pampushki. Yes, nearly all the songs in Drudkh's catalogue boast Ukrainian lyrics. Drudkh's commitment to preserving their culture is truly commendable. This enigmatic outfit brilliantly captures the immortal essence of the Ukrainian spirit, intrepid and resilient. Drudkh is known for incorporating the work of national poets, such as Taras Shevchenko, into their music. On Всі належать ночі, Drudkh borrows from authors Antin Pavluk (1902-1937) and Yakiv Hryhorovych Savchenko (1890-1937).

Всі належать ночі is epic, magnetic, cerebral, and beautiful. This album will awaken your nostalgia, though it feels fresh as the current calendar date. Всі належать ночі reflects an uncompromising attitude, yet the music remains brutal and true to the meaning of black metal. Drudkh successfully integrates progressive elements and acts on exploratory impulses that keep their songs from becoming static. The atmosphere on this record is one of its greatest assets. Experiencing Всі належать ночі is like taking a December-night ride with Baba Yaga over the steppes, forests, dimly lit urban areas, and graveyards of Ukraine. It gives you the sensation of staring into the darkness at ice-encrusted landscapes sparkling with moonlight. Textures range from velveteen to rough as tree bark.

See if you can make it through this haunting offering without lacing up your hiking boots. Всі належать ночі conjures the ghost of romantic longing, which, in a profound sense, cultivates a feeling of existential wandering and refugee-like homelessness. The words "Sehnsucht," "Lebensekel," and "Weltschmerz" definitely seem to apply here. Despite the variety of moods, it is fair to say that Всі належать ночі is a rather melancholic record. Don't think, however, that Drudkh's aggression drowns in the very real mire of despair portrayed here. The defiant Всі належать ночі is like a blade held to the aorta of Being like a dare: "Try me." However, this release is not only meant to be tough: Its goal is to inspire. Hope rises like fog from the lake of hopelessness as Drudkh converts strife into something of transcendent value.

Всі належать ночі contains four tracks ranging from roughly 8 1/2 minutes to slightly over 15 1/2 minutes. The songs blend together seamlessly. Each one is exceptionally engaging; your interest will never wane. Всі належать ночі opens with "Нічний" ("The Nocturnal One”). This in-your-face number hooks you with its combination of interesting instrumentation and fire-breathing fury. In the best of ways, Drudkh's charismatic frontman Thurios sounds like he is attempting to burst the veins in his throat, if not cause chain of avalanches. "Нічний" ends with soft echo-like clean vocals that fade into the rest of the eerie outro, which threatens to sweep you away into another realm.

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The second track, "Млини" ("Windmills") begins with chanting that conjures an aura of omnipresence and omnipotence that one rarely experiences in any setting other than an Orthodox church. This gives way to yet another savage vocal assault. The gloomy intro to "Листопад" ("November") is a bit reminiscent of Swedish depressive BM/rock. Всі належать ночі's finale, "Поки зникнем у млі" ("Till We Become the Haze"), juxtaposes speech with speechlessness in a way that gives wings to the soul and appeals to the imagination. Thankfully, the album's production is just right.

After listening to Всі належать ночі, no one will doubt that Drudkh gives this effort their all. In true Slavic fashion, Drudkh's musicians pour out their hearts while flexing their figurative muscles. Drudkh certainly proves who's boss; woe unto him who has the audacity to challenge their authority. We highly recommend Всі належать ночі to headbangers of all denominations, be they thrashers, doom lovers, or champions of old-school black metal.

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