At one point, black metal was a brutal alternative to the nice, joyful music of the eighties and the entire scene constisted of constantly drunk satanists trying to sound as evil and chaotic as possible. Who would have thought that one day black metal artists were talented and experienced musicians turning the genre into a true and convincing piece of art?
Druzhina for example, a band that was formed in 2006 and hails from Switserland, belongs to the third wave of black metal bands. On one hand this band still honours the traditional approach. Mainly inspired by bands like Darkthrone or Emperor the music by Druzhina is loaded with screams, blastbeats and ripping guitars. Yet, they also incorporate a lot of folk elements, along with a bit of post-metal and vintage thrash metal. This combination is a guarantee for an interesting album, that's for sure.
'The Messenger' immediately kicks off with the sheer aggression and speed that makes this genre so impressive. From there on, we find ourselves on an hypnotic journey through immense desolate and dreamy landscapes. And what a journey it is. This is already a brilliant piece of blackened art and there's only more to come. 'Breath of Kronborg' seems to borrow from post-rock as well as atmospheric extreme metal.
It's this combination that I find extremely interesting because it enhances the atmosphere of an album to the point of transcending the human aspect of this music and turning it into something mythical and magical. Here of course the keyboards and folk elements help a lot. Songs like 'Three Headed Lion' or the chaotic 'Eclipse Of Mankind' truly take me back to the early days of Dimmu Borgir or one of my favorites at that time, Mörk Gryning.
There's two breathers on this album, 'Ascension I (Timeless Monument)' is a brilliant piece of instrumental post-rock/metal, mixed with downtempo black metal elements and I absolutely love it. 'Ascension II (Sabbath)' digs into the world of dark ambient, and could actually be the intro for the album. Now however, it's a great intro for the epic closer 'Psalm of the Void', a thirteen minutes lasting anthem of bleakness and musical craftsmanship (which even seems to come up with some Pink Floyd influences).
So yes, you guessed it. Once again we're dealing with a great black metal album, perfectly combining the elements from the entire genre, from the early days, thirty years ago, up until today's highly varied sound. If you're into this style of music, this album shouldn't lack in your collection.