Drudkh - Forgotten Legends
Supernal Music
Ambient Black Metal
4 songs (39:24)
Release year: 2003
Supernal Music
Reviewed by Tony
Archive review

The debut full length of Drudkh came to me in my great haul during my San Francisco vacation. Admittedly, I listened and reviewed some albums before others, until school rolled right around the corner. I was thoroughly pissed. The stupid girl that sent me my move in date said it was not only at 10AM (I would have to leave at 8:30) but it was also on Thursday the 18th. What is the problem with Thursday the 18th you ask??? Well, I took the day and not the date into account, reserved a table at a top flight restaurant in Miami (my father did pull a few strings, and it still wasn't easy) and ironed my finest outfit for my date with my fiancee on THURSDAY the 18th. The problem is, the 18th was a Wednesday. The anguish at not being able to see my fiancee until my rugby match on September 11th (a miserable day for all Americans) resulted in a sleepless night.

Running on infuriation and incendiary anger, coupled with some black coffee, I loaded my car and mounted up to prepare the journey alongside my father in his vehicle. About 75 of the 110 miles I needed to make for my trip was along Alligator Alley, a portion of I75 that spans Southeast and Southwest Florida. Even on the most picturesque, glorious, cloudless, and calm day, Alligator Alley is the most miserable road in the world. Endless trees and scrub brush line the sides, and with no lights at night and insane speeders, the road is deadly. But worst of all is the fact that for some reason all of your nightmarish thoughts that your conscience suppresses surface and mess with your tortured mind as you travel at 80 mph through consistent horrifying monotony.

I needed something calming, some sort of catharsis. With my Zune being dead, I looked no further than Drudkh, the only Ambient Black Metal band I can listen to no matter what mood I'm in. I had always heard great things about this early release from the masters of their craft for a while, even after being a huge fan of Drudkh for years, I was too cheap to drop the $15 to $25 bucks to snag this off the internet.

Drudkh means "wood" in Romanized Sanskrit, and Forgotten Legends has just what I'm looking for in an album such as this. I wish for an evocation of the natural splendor, an ode to the wild, a tribute to beauty. Needless to say, Forgotten Legends gave me exactly what I was looking for: a hypnotic, dreamy album that blends as one while whisking me away on an excursion through majestic forests. What I love so much about Ambient Black Metal is not only that it is so in touch with the natural world which I appreciate so greatly, but it is fantastic to listen to just to relax and calm down. It drives me into a purposeful, enlightened hypnosis, yet I'm still able to function and think independently. Forgotten Legends was magical in my traversing of the Hellish Alligator Alley, yet didn't interrupt my driving or slow down my decisions in my somewhat aggressive highway style.

While I do not in any way applaud Roman Saenko's NS roots, I don't mind it. Yet, Forgotten Legends is all about the rolling hills, the darkened lush forests, the rushing streams of pure, crisp, and cool water, the land teeming with wildlife. This is Drudkh in its purest form. This is perfection. I love the fact that on this album Roman Saenko doesn't have any songs pertaining to massacres of Polish Jews. Trust me when I say this, the Ukranians have a long history of doing such deeds of evil (research the Khmelnytsky Uprising).

The album opens up with the first and one of the best Drudkh songs of all time. This is of course the nearly 16 minute epic, False Dawn. The first couple of seconds scare me to death. It's sounds like some sort of harrowing shriek, echoing far through the valleys, bouncing from tree to tree before arriving in your headphones. It's alarming. This gives way to one of the finest riffs Saenko has ever crafted. It has a nice upbeat sound to it, and while layered over a nice drum rhythm surrounding double bass rolling with nice use of the high hat, it makes great progress before the deep growls of Roman Saenko steal the show. He has one of the deepest voices in Black Metal. One gander at the works of Hate Forest and you'll quickly find out just how demonic his vocals can be and what range he can achieve. The vocals don't exactly sound tortured like some vocalists. They sound effective, wholesome, and they're bolstered by some nice production on all instruments. False Dawn keeps you guessing until it trails out to the ending of this masterpiece. This may be the best song on the album and possibly the best Drudkh song ever, but it should never be taken as an early highlight which gives way to a lesser following as the next two tracks, followed by the final closer The Smell of Rain are as glorious and hallowed as any Black Metal album has ever been. Forests in Fire and Gold is up next, and it might as well be the title track, because that's exactly what the cover appears to be. This song once again exhibits the strengths that would make Drudkh the household name it is today. The song slowly fades out which is what I like to hear in Ambient Black Metal, much like the title track to Transylvanian Hunger arduously disappears back into the shadows. Of course Darkthrone are nothing like Drudkh but the level of comparison here is on the production to close the song, not the actual content itself. The final song Eternal Turn of the Wheel is another perfect composition by Saenko and company. This song punctuates a finale to an incredible and moving album, as the final track The Smell of Rain is a soothing and short couple of minutes of light, tranquil rainfall. The only detractor to an otherwise perfect album is that Drudkh have amazing guitar solos especially on some of the songs on Blood in Our Wells. I don't think guitar solos were a figment of the vision in the creation of Forgotten Legends but nevertheless they are missed dearly.

What an album!!! An Ambient Black Metal opus you can listen to time and time again and still be ensnared by its hooks. It never gets old, it never gets dull, and it's one of the few of its kind that I can delve into at any time of day, in any atmosphere, and in any mood. A surefire promotion to classic is deserved in the years to come, but for now this album is too young to warrant such a case.

Killing Songs :
Tony quoted 99 / 100
Goat quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Drudkh that we have reviewed:
Drudkh - They Often See Dreams About the Spring reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
Drudkh - A Furrow Cut Short reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Drudkh - Eastern Frontier in Flames reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Drudkh - Eternal Turn Of The Wheel reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Drudkh - Handful Of Stars reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
To see all 12 reviews click here
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