Drudkh. A shadowy collective of Ukrainian musicians who never tour or give interviews. This is a shame. Because, as is always the case with the band’s output, many questions are raised in the listener’s head when listening to one of their albums.

This album takes as inspiration the work of a group of Ukrainian poets of the early twentieth century. These poets and many like them were oppressed and sometimes liquidated by the Stalinist regime of the time. The listener may, perhaps, draw comparisons between that time and the current period of Russo-Ukrainian relations.

However such weighty considerations are not a pre-requisite for receiving Drudkh’s art. On a much more visceral level the music is there to be experienced, if not always enjoyed. On these terms it is easy to declare that Drudkh, after a period of interest in the post-rock side of black metal, have returned to the full-blooded black metal style that signifies their best work.

The drums of Vlad are almost always at full blast with heavy use of double bass. tthis provides the backbone of the sound, along with fast-paced snare and cymbal work. A classic black metal device in fact. The band as a whole favours sweeping melodic changes and counterpoints to this constant battery. And although picking out songs within this environment is relatively pointless, the mournful overall feel of Vechirniy Smerk Okutuye Kimnaty leaves a tangible impression on the consciousness of the listener due to the deployment of these musical devices. An emotional response to the music is possible at a more than superficial level with much black metal of this style. However Drudkh make that connection only rarely on this album.

As with all music of this kind, only the already initiated will fully understand the nuance and artifice involved in it’s creation. Of the five tracks offered only Za Zoreyu Scho Striloyu Syaye offers the kind of accessibility casual listeners might demand; however for existing devotees of the genre there is plenty to enjoy, even if this is some way from being the finest work in the Drudkh canon.

They Often See Dreams About The Spring will be released by Season of Mist on March 9th.