Drudkh / Winterfylleth - Thousands of Years Ago / The Gates (split)
Season Of Mist
Black Metal
4 songs (25:15)
Release year: 2014
Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Zadok

Two bands, each with a heritage-based theme and playing a similar form of black metal, makes for a good idea for a split, right? Right? Well, up to a point. Limited to 666 copies on vinyl, because Satan (but also available digitally, because money) and featuring three tracks from Drudkh and one from Winterfylleth, each of the songs here is a cover version. Drudkh pay homage to Hefeystos, Unclean, and Sacrilegium (none of which I'd previously heard of but which hail from Poland, Czech Republic and Poland respectively and all play various forms of black metal, as if it needed to be said) and Winterfylleth cover Hate Forest, the forerunner to Drudkh and Blood of Kingu with several members from them including Roman Saenko (which seems unnecessarily arse-kissingly respectful to me...).

Starting with Drudkh, it's pleasant to hear that each track is a step out of the band's comfort zone and that each is distinct from the other. Beginning with W Krainie Drzew (Hefeystos), a classical black metal hymn with introductory keyboards leading into strong riffs, the Ukrainian's three-quarters of the split is definitely stronger. Each song is interesting and holds your attention well, showing off the musicianship of the talented foursome as they take the Drudkh sound further. Ten Ktery Se Vyhyba Svetlu (Unclean) is slower, but makes up for it with an intense performance from Thurios on vocals and little touches like kettle drums giving a warlike feel, and the furious Recidivus (Sacrilegium) is closest to the classic Drudkh sound, albeit much angrier. All in all, a good showing from Drudkh, suggesting their next full-length will be a little more interesting than the sadly pedestrian Eternal Turn of the Wheel...

I'm more hesitant to praise Winterfylleth, not least because there is a massive quality gap between the two bands in my opinion, but also because their contribution is that much less interesting. The Drudkh songs not only introduce us to three bands we probably haven't heard of, but gave us hints of a different Drudkh, saying something new each time just as a good cover should. Winterfylleth, meanwhile, have covered Hate Forest, a band that people reading about black metal splits are likely to have heard of, and done so with boring competence. The Gates is a good cover, bringing the raw (but bloody, bloody good) original out of the deep, black forest and bringing that central hidden melody into greater focus. But it's so passionless and dry compared to what Drudkh did, and to the original, that I feel that rather than listening to it I'd recommend Winterfylleth fans unaware of Hate Forest immediately get hold of a copy of Purity and discover for themselves why it's worthy of tribute cover versions...

Definitely a win for Drudkh, then, and those who miss out on the exclusivity (these 666 copies will fly out quickly) will be relieved to hear that the Drudkh songs will also appear on their forthcoming rarities collection Eastern Frontier in Flames, a review of which is also forthcoming!

Killing Songs :
W Krainie Drzew, Ten Ktery Se Vyhyba Svetlu, Recidivus
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