Friday 11 November 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Drudkh / Grift - “Betrayed By The Sun / Hägringar” (Split)

By: Conor O’Dea

Album Type: Split
Date Released: 16/09/2016
Label: Season of Mist |
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I cannot but recommend the album for fans of Drudkh. The Grift tracks are in no way bad, they just do not compare to the masterful first half of the collaboration.

“Betrayed By The Sun / Hägringar” DD//LP track listing:

Side A:

1). DRUDKH Його двадцять четверта весна (His Twenty-Fourth Spring)
2). DRUDKH Осінь в сепії (Autumn in Sepia)  

Side B:

3). GRIFT Källan (The Source)
4). GRIFT Cirkeln (The Circle)

The Review:

Splits are, by their very nature, a risky venture. Like any chimera or hybrid, you can end up with a monstrosity or abomination or something which is better than the sum of the parts. The best splits, ironically, are those that do not actually evoke the sense of being split; they form something cohesive and coherent. Recent examples would include joint efforts by Torrid Husk/End and the just-released Selvans/Downfall of Nur collaboration.  In a sense, this makes split albums a little bit tricky to review because the metrics become muddy: are we looking at a series of discrete tracks? Side A and Side B of a vinyl release? Or are we evaluating the album on how it sounds from beginning to end? With those disclaimers in mind, let's take a look at the collaboration by the legendary Drudkh and relative newcomer Grift.

First things first: there is little doubt to my mind that Drudkh is at the peak of their powers in this split. “His Twenty Fourth Spring” is probably my favourite track of theirs since 2006's “When the Flame Turns to Ashes”. Everything in both tracks delivers an intense, aggressive auditory experience with virtuoso performance and production. It is damn fine work and very promising for the next full-length after the somewhat disappointing “A Furrow Cut Short”. There is a sense of reinvigoration as opposed to reinvention here, as if Drudkh have found new blood for the wells from which they draw their music 

The following two tracks by Grift present an interesting but not necessarily good contrast to Drudkh. In isolation, these two tracks are competent, but are frankly not nearly as good as Erik's work on Syner, nor are they as compositionally compatible with the first half of the split. Raw production, shrieking vocals, slower, folk inflected rhythm and pace; all are jarringly set against the much smoother sounder Drudkh song. I am a fan of Grift, whom I see as having immense potential, but am not convinced that this paring served either band well. There is also the feeling of an excellent band putting out some of their best work to date set against some less-than-stellar material by a newer artist. 

These criticisms of the paring and some of its weaknesses aside, I cannot but recommend the album for fans of Drudkh. And to be fair: the Grift tracks are in no way bad, they just do not compare to the masterful first half of the collaboration. 

“Betrayed By The Sun / Hägringar” is available here
Band info: Drudkh: bandcamp || facebook || Grift: bandcamp || facebook

FFO: Burzum, Hate Forest, Arfsynd, Saiva