There was apparently a bit of s scrum to get this review, and I was the lucky winner. but before I begin, let’s address the elephant in the room…..I am often told that I shouldn’t listen to Drudkh as they are “right wing”, and am made to feel uncomfortable for wearing their shirts. As far as I concerned there is nothing in their lyrics or music that promotes any form of political extremism and the mere fact that they are Eastern European does not automatically equate to their music being NSBM.

Okay, now I’ve got that off my chest, what about the music? I’m going to stick my neck out further and say that this is the best album in Drudkh’s extensive history. It is less aggressive than more recent releases and has a much more melodic atmospheric feel to it, harking back to their ‘Autumn Aurora’ release from 2004, but for me this style is where Drudkh are at their best.

Things get underway with ‘Nakryta Neba Burym Dakhom’, ten minutes of epic, sweeping soundscapes built around pulsating rhythms and Thurios’ familiar harsh vocal style. As the song builds, so does the atmosphere it creates and it is easy to find yourself lost in the music, feeling carried away to some remote bleak barren landscape. ‘U Dakhiv Irzhavim Kolossyu’ follows on, in a similar style with an interesting juxtaposition. On the one hand this music is relaxing and entrancing, but on the other it is confrontational and abrasive and the more closely you listen, the more you hear stripping away the layers.

‘Vechirniy Smerk Okutuye Kimnaty’ keeps the momentum up, going for the jugular from the outset, and is perhaps a little more aggressive than preceding tracks. The album draws lyrical inspiration from Ukrainian poets such as Bohdan Ihor Antonych, Maik Yohansen, Vasyl’ Bobyns’kyi and Pavlo Fylypovych, but to be honest the vocal line almost merges with the other instruments as an additional tier of instrumentation rather than being a stand out focal point, and I mean that as a positive comment with the end product being extremely fluent and powerful.

Fluidity and melody become more prominent as ‘Za Zoreyu Scho Striloyu Syaye’ builds to its climax before the album closes with a battering ‘Bilyavyi Den Vtomyvsya I prytykh’ leaving me feeling intellectually exhausted such was the mental journey it had taken me on,

For all the talk of melody and atmosphere, let’s be clear, this is extreme and challenging music. It is true that atmospheric black metal is my favourite genre of music, but even with this caveat,  ‘Їм часто сниться капіж’ is an outstanding album and for me it is the best release I have heard thus far in 2018.  Sadly Drudkh don’t play live and so we will never have the opportunity to fully experience these tracks, so I will have to be happy with pouring another beer and reaching over to press ‘play’ once again.

(9/10 Andy Pountney)