Drudkh – All Belong to the Night 8/10
A piece of art in four acts, the legendary Ukrainian act Drudkh has emerged as titans within the Black metal. Unafraid to question the beliefs of a modern society consumed by its materialistic nature and the technology that accompanies it. Drudkh asks the larger question of the human condition using their native language and its history to defy conventions and ask demanding questions.
All Belong to the Night is savage incredibly raw, and keeps the lo-fi aesthetic that separates black metal from other genres. “Till We Become the Haze.” Embodies the traditions of Yakiv Savchenko, and his work, it is a fifteen-minute exploration of music that is progressive black metal and also unashamedly metal, its riffs memorable the mid-tempo crushing in its ability to maintain rhythm and unrelenting attack. “The Nocturnal One,” is another Savchenko-inspired piece whilst “November” is a doomier offering and “Windmills” offers chants in its depiction of village folk wandering from adversity into danger, its layers tempered by anger in equal measure. The melody is fractious the aggression lurking a constant undertone of anger that rallies against the opposition.
Drudkh embodies the spirit of rebellion and unity against opposing forces, the tangible and the metaphysical all part of the condition. It is cold, atmospheric, and cataclysmic in its aggressive primal state. A united combination of forces that is relentless pure and rich in thought and principles.
Eternal Helcaraxe – Drown In Ash 9/10
Drown In Ash is the third full-length release from Irish Trio Eternal Helcaraxe and is the long-awaited follow-up to the simply brilliant In Times Of Desperation. Drown In Ash is a worthy successor, its immediacy tempered by its layers and deep thought. An album that seeks to address the very nature of depression, its lack of hope and loss.
The riff and mid-section of In Dark Woods and dreams are simply excellent, the reward of gradual build-up and dynamics, the journey of bleak isolationism complete and harrowing in its despair, and its conclusion are beautiful yet melancholic. Eternal Helcaraxe excels in challenges, delivering music in its purest state, an emotive one based on feeling, from the opening speed of ‘’Cease’’ and its terrific riffing, ‘’Ice cold winds’’ is raw unbridled fury in its execution Praetorian delivers such thoughts as ‘’ From feeling everything and nothing all at once’’ with utter conviction and honesty
Drown In Ash is not simply another excellent black metal record where such ideas and expressions are allowed to roam free with foundations based on speed, aggression, and power. It is also a journey of shattered hopes and despair “None of it Mattered” the piano thoughtful and tinged with sorrow is no less aggrieved than the savagery that is “Where Dead things Roam Free’’ and its clean vocals. Withered Strands of Existence’ Is simply superb, the coalescence of emotion and the hauntingly beautiful merged with the aggressive and brilliant dynamic riffing.
Rich, honest and utterly uncompromising Eternal Helcaraxe have created another masterwork that is restless within the genre and pushes its foundations to the limit. Black metal that is primal pure and disconnected from any preconceived notions. An Expression of art and the fragility of the human condition. Highly recommended.
Eleine – Acoustic in Hell 8/10
The ever-growing in stature Eleine surprise with an Acoustic EP that takes tracks from their previous releases and returns them to their primal state. Songs that are raw and yet still powerful. Yes, this is an acoustic record but one of the heaviest ones yet.
Recorded in a week in January 2022 with Madeleine Liljestam’s vocals recorded in a mere three hours! It is this energy that gives Acoustic in Hell its impetus. While another acoustic suffers from being over polished Eleine’s music contains a raw primal emotive feel again elevated by a vocal performance that is impassionate and textured. ‘’Enemies’’ still lures you in with its malevolent energy, the orchestral splendour has been replaced by more rhythmic energy that lurks and drives each track.
‘Ava Of Death’ and ‘All Shall Burn’ benefit greatly from a stripped-back approach whilst ‘Memoriam’ is a re-interpretation that relies on its strength as a great strength and uses Madeleine’s incredible vocals to carry its melody.
Eleine has an element of darkness to their music, and it is still present on Acoustic in Hell. Admittedly the drum sound is thin which at times makes some of the rhythms repetitive and lacks some of the dynamics that are usually present. Having said that “death Incarnate” still burns with incendiary energy and the acoustic guitar is predatory even without amplification and has a great solo.
Acoustic In Hell highlights a band with supreme musical talent and deft songwriting skills in whatever format they are presented. This greatest songs collection (for the moment) given a re-interpretation is a must for fans and a different gateway into the world of Eleine.
Aenaon – Mnemosyne 8/10
Hailing from Greece Aenaon is an Avant Garde musical project that celebrates the Greek goddess of remembrance and the river of memory, this is their third full-length album and it is a myriad of textures and emotions that range from the extreme to the sublimely beautiful.
Heavily textured and rich in the purity of Black metal it is the progressive musical elements and the deft touch of saxophonist Orestis Zyrinis that set Aenoaon apart from other experimental acts. Whether it be the flourishes that imbue the harrowing “Cartesian Eye” and its pure heaviness or the dulcet melody that haunts instrumental Doppelganger which is reminiscent of Bowie’s Eno Trilogy.
“Mantledeath” is able to seamlessly merge the experimental with the extreme whilst “Hysteria” is exactly that. An unhinged track full of chaos un uncontrollable energy, Clark Nova is simply a journey into the full-on jazz mindset (something extreme in itself). The Pleiades is another subtle journey of acoustic and brass and Psyche is another rager highlighting the torments that vocalist Astrous represents, full of character emotion, fragility, and rage. Mnemosyne is a challenging album that is excellently recorded that captures the excellent musicianship and the ideas that are well thought out and excellently executed within
Representing the good and the not-so of the human spectrum of emotions and memory Aenaon has created a demanding yet satisfying journey that questions the nature of recollection and the eye that beholds it. It is bold audacious and heavy.