DRUDKH / HADES - Той, хто говорить з імлою (One Who Talks with the Fog) / Pyre Era, Black! (SEASON OF MIST Split LP 2016)
Hades is back! YES, finally! I will not hide the fact that I’m great worshiper of this band’s work, ever since I’ve heard their music for the first time twenty years ago. And I still love albums like “…Again Shall Be” and “The Dawn of the Dying Sun”. I was actually afraid that they will never come back, since it’s been already fourteen years since the previous album called “The Pulse of Decay” was released! I did hear some news about single live shows that Hades played, but then bad news about Janto’s leaving the band came… Uhhh, Hades without Janto??? Impossible. It was long process, before “Pyre Era, Black!” finally came! And I was super excited, just because it’s fuckin Hades – even without Janto (who, by the way, was replaced by a drummer from Kampfar, Ask). One day I saw that “Pyre Era, Black!” is released on vinyl, as a split with Drudkh, so I quickly purchased it. And now, after numerous listens I am able to say that Hades is really back – and more so, they just recorded some of the best material ever since “The Dawn of the Dying Sun”!
If you know Hades discography, then you know that the band was changing through the years. And with “The Pulse of Decay” they took rather progressive, almost experimental path of black metal, very different to the atmosphere of cold, harsh heathen black metal they played in the early years. Now, fourteen years later, it was just impossible to guess, which direction is Hades music gonna go. I am happy to say that “Pyre Era, Black!” is a fantastic summation of all previous Hades recordings. On one hand it comes back to their roots a bit, as it also has that monumental, epic sound, which always characterized this band… it is very atmospheric, but also aggressive. On the other hand, it also has small progressive arrangements.
I am sure that everybody will recognize what band it is from the first listen, even if there’s a different vocalist. Who, by the way, did amazing job. I really have to say that the vocals of Ask are fantastic. I love the arrangements or how diverse are his vocals, with some clean parts and obviously also with some of the characteristic additional vocals of Remi. Yeah, I think that one of the reasons why this new EP sounds so bloody good is because the vocals are that great.
But the music is also killer. There are three new tracks, of which I personally liked “Bound” the most. It’s classic Hades, so epic and dark sounding, it’s almost majestic. When it starts, with the acoustic guitar and then the first riff, I immediately thought of “The Dawn of the Dying Sun” or “Millenium Nocturne”. What makes this song standout also is its catchiness, all these memorable riffs it has. But give a listen to the title track also! It’s so simple, as it’s basically based on one, but so fuckin memorable riff. I bet it will stick in your head for days and you will keep on chanting or singing it like crazy. Obviously the last song “Funeral Storm” is also killer… and each of these songs is a bit different, what makes “Pyre Era, Black!” even more interesting. Well… Definitely I have to say that for me personally this is one of the best releases of this year and I am just unbelievably happy to see Hades back and in such a good form, with such a fantastic new vocalist in the line up. Great work!
But hold on, this is a split LP, so we have also Drudkh on side B. I have to be honest – I never paid attention to this band. I knew the name, but never bothered to check any of their albums. Why? No reason, really. There are just too many bands around, you cannot know everything and I felt too lazy to check ten albums of some Ukrainians. I don’t think I would ever hear their music if they didn’t appear on this split with Hades.
With two, lengthy (almost nine minutes long each) songs, it’s very solid pagan black metal, with a lot of atmosphere and big focus on nature and Ukrainian folklore. Stylistically they remind me Abusiveness a bit. But I was quite surprised to hear such intensity and aggression in many parts of these songs, there are moments when Drudkh really shows a spectacular, vicious black metal – like in the first part of “Золотий кінь (Golden Horse)”. At the same time their music is very diverse, so there’re also many slower, more atmospheric parts, so generally it’s very well played and very well written / arranged stuff. I cannot complain at anything really, I had a good listen and surely they deserve to be on this split. And soon I will hear Drudkh again, on split LP with Grift. But I doubt I will be getting their albums – ten is way too many to buy now.
Standout tracks: “Bound”, “Pyre Era, Black!”
Final rate: 85/100