DRUDKH Lebedynyy Shlyakh (The Swan Road)

Five years after its original release, Season of Mist has mercifully decided to re-release The Swan Road, along with the rest of Drudkh's catalogue. Combining low-fi, buzzy riffs with rolling double kick and occasional blasts, Drudkh produce a backdrop over which they distribute rasping vocals, tasteful leads and wind-swept folk melodies. They're one of those bands that successfully bridge black metal atmosphere and folk without venturing into any cheesy or "happy" territory; their soundscape remains melancholy and desolate. Drawing influences from their Slavonic heritage, these Ukrainians forge fragility and roughness, tenderness and heaviness, particularly evident in the moving "Song of Sich Destruction" and "The Price of Freedom" (the latter is based on the 1841 poem "The Haidamakas" by Taras Shevchenko). Other choice cuts include "Blood" and "Eternal Sun." The Swan Road is stylistically unwavering, but is nevertheless a strong release; it's tragic, richly textured, well-conceived and very listenable. (Season of Mist)