Handful of Stars
is the most underrated album by this Ukranian band. Many fans criticize it for being bland, uninteresting and a severe drop in quality. Whilst I can certainly agree that this album is far calmer and not as abrasive, I would however prefer to consider it more of a shift in gears rather than a drop in the quality of their musical output. It astounds me how so many people can criticize Drudkh
for not altering their sound in anyway and when they do release an album that’s slightly different they proceed to grind it into the dust. Praise be to the internet trolls and their wildly inconsistent views on music.
The biggest criticism surrounding Handful of Stars
is its apparently perceived similarity to infamous French band A|symmetrylcest. I personally don’t see it. There’s no clean vocals, no twinkly melodies, nothing that actually sounds like A|symmetrylcest. If anything it sounds more like Fen
with the melding of dreamy atmospheric black metal with post rock. Sounds absolutely nothing like A|symmetrylcest, please stop saying it does. It sounds like Drudkh
first and foremost, only difference being the increased elements from post rock. The band has still retained their signature sound yet it comes wrapped in a lighter, much brighter package. The forest atmosphere is still present, it’s just not as melancholic.
So I think I’ve discussed enough how this doesn’t sound like A|symmetrylcest and how it still sounds like Drudkh
. How does the quality of the music hold up? It’s really quite excellent. The melodies are beautiful and powerfully atmospheric. There’s a good focus on the crescendo up to a climax that’s found in great amounts of post rock. The song structures themselves are good and well written. None of the songs ever meander around, the ideas fit comfortably into the song lengths. Some of the melodies are really beautiful such as the shoegaze inspired melody within The Day Will
Come, it’s possibly the “least Drudkh
” song on the album yet still sounds like them. It’s just a lot lighter, much more atmospherically bright than what they’ve put out in the past. It makes good use of the loud/quiet dynamics that has come to define any genre that has the post prefix applied. Of course it would be unfair to say that this isn’t at least influenced by A|symmetrylcest, Drudkh
focus on a much lighter, less aggressive style of black metal with Handful of Stars
so the A|symmetrylcest influence is apparent. However, whereas A|symmetrylcest would often forego the black metal elements in favor of shoegaze, Drudkh
still keep black metal the most important aspect of their sound. There’s just some extra added softer elements incorporated into their sound allowing Drudkh
to reach new atmospheric heights.
But despite the obvious post rock influences, the only real change from their prior releases is just the lighter tone. Guitars have been cleared up a fair bit; they’re not as misty, much more bright and clear. I think it works really well with the melodies they are playing, creating some utterly ethereal soundscapes. It’s a good mix and one that has worked really well for this band. Drudkh
have always been good on the atmosphere and Handful of Stars
is no different. It’s a got a great forest atmosphere flowing within it, it’s not as melancholic and dark as how Drudkh
sounded on previous albums. But atmospherically powerful it certainly is.
The criticism leveled at Handful of Stars
is absurd; it’s actually a really good album that contains some astounding moments of beautiful post black metal. Sure, it’s a slight departure from Drudkh
’s distinctive sound but they’ve worked really well with the new style. A|symmetrynother good addition to Drudkh