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"Thousands of Moons Ago / The Gates" (CD)

Drudkh - "Thousands of Moons Ago / The Gates" CD cover image

"Thousands of Moons Ago / The Gates" track listing:

1. Drudkh - …W Krainie Drzew (Hefeystos cover)
2. Drudkh - Ten, Ktery Se Vyhyba Svetlu (Unclean cover)
3. Drudkh - Recidivus (Sacrilegium cover)
4. Winterfylleth - The Gates (Hate Forest cover)

Reviewed by on January 23, 2014

"Even as a cover, '...W Krainie Drzew' eviscerates most of the pretentious American eco-black metal that has emerged in the last decade."

A split, an EP, or a cover album? Regardless of where you want to slot this into your library, I suggest you put it somewhere because "Thousands of Moons Ago / The Gates" is one of the more enjoyable I have heard of all three in a while, in some ways a vision of what cover albums should feel like; a collective of reinterpretations that form something new and natural.

Drudkh is held up as one of the shining examples of Ukraninian metal, and the band has earned a place in my heart alongside much earlier black metal pioneers for spending the last decade pummeling out an earthen black metal that few bands match. Without resting on its laurels, "Eternal Turn of the Wheel" from 2012 left me reinvigorated about what the band can continue to achieve, even if 3 covers was the last direction I'd have suspected (and maybe hoped for). Drudkh’s partner on this release is Winterfylleth, a band who's more recent perseverance has seen the group signed to Candlelight Records.

Drudkh's style permeates deeply into the first three tracks such that they never feel like anything but new Drudkh material; a major draw-card. The opener is a cover of a Burzum-ish/gothic band and evokes the spirit of the first Drudkh albums with a dreamy atmosphere, one of the sun dawning on forests. By returning to early inspirations, the band recaptures the essence of what it once set out to achieve. It's a great track and even as a cover eviscerates most of the pretentious American eco-black metal that has emerged in the last decade.

The following two tracks ignite more blasts from the band and are more firmly rooted in black metal, but the production and choirs are ambient enough that it still contains the kinds of haunting, euphorically heavy riffing the band is known for. The bands being covered, (Hefeystos, Unclean, and Sacrilegium) are quite obscure so "Thousands of Moons Ago" really is a unique look into the formation of Drudkh, rather than a homage to larger acts of the 90s.

Winterfylleth is then introduced and begin right where Drudkh left off. Covering the more well known Ukrainian band Hate Forest (which prominently featured Drudkh members), the closing track to the EP is a long and double bass driven song, using a more repetitive and hypnotic approach. I will say I would have preferred this not to be a split, but Winterfylleth should attract new fans with this - I dare say I'm interested to check out more of the material too.

This is available as vinyl split EP limited to 666 copies, and a digital release for the masses. Both are worth your attention, if for no other reason than for "...W Krainie Drzew" to remind you that Drudkh is not yet ready to draw its final excellent breath.

Highs: The opener "W Krainie Drzew" is a concentrated burst of everything great about Drudkh

Lows: If "BLood in our Wells" was the last Drudkh album you enjoyed, this probably won't turn your head.

Bottom line: For a split EP of covers, this is one of the few that earns your attention - worth getting if you're a Drudkh fan.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)