Eastern Frontier in Flames is a compilation of rare music by Ukrainian black metal group Drudkh, released in 2014 through French extreme metal label Season of Mist in anticipation of the band’s 2015 album A Furrow Cut Short. This album consists of two extended-plays originally available through limited-edition vinyl runs and one split with English black metal group Winterfylleth; they are presented in chronological order of release.
“Fallen into Oblivion” and “Ashes” are from Anti-Urban, which was released in 2007 on Supernal Music and was later included with the limited-edition box set version of 2009’s Microcosmos. They aren’t that good. “Fallen into Oblivion” is little more than a seven-minute instrumental dirge with no variation for its entire length, repeating the same three chords at languid pace ad infinitum. “Ashes” is a standard low-fidelity black metal track that (presumably)1 lashes against industry and commercial greed.
The next two tracks are from 2010’s Slavonic Chronicles, which consists entirely of covers. In contrast to Drudkh’s often spotty, treble-heavy production, these are quite lively – a nice contrast to the Anti-Urban songs. “Tam gdzie gaśnie dzień…” – by Polish group Sacrilegium – features a folk break at roughly the (3:40) mark, akin to the work of fellow Ukrainians Nokturnal Mortum, who utilize more overt folk breaks than Drudkh.2 “Indiánská píseň hrůzy” is a progressive black metal track by Czech group Master’s Hammer, and Drudkh are true to form of the original in its ominous, slightly meandering (but in a good way) electronic(!) intro and plodding guitar strums. Thurios’ vocals are at impressive, and there’s even a rare Drudkh guitar solo toward the end.
The final three tracks are off of 2014’s Thousands of Moons Ago / The Gate split with Winterfylleth. As with Slavonic Chronicles, all three tracks are covers of other European heavy metal bands; and like those tracks, these are all pretty good. “…W Krainie Drzew” by Polish group Hefeystos features Drudkh in strong form, with the rich synth backing that gives Autumn Aurora its impeccably warm sound. “Ten, který se vyhýbá světlu” is from Czech black metal group Unclean, featuring acoustic guitar leads and cavernous percussion that – like “Indiánská píseň hrůzy” – is quite faithful to the original track with trademark Drudkh ferocity. “Recidivus” is another Sacrilegium track, one of the most straightforward black metal songs in Drudkh’s catalogue.
Eastern Frontier in Flames is a decent compilation of hard-to-find Drudkh tracks, even if most of them are cover tracks of other black metal outfits. Skip the Anti-Urban songs, stick with the rest.
1. Fallen into Oblivion – (7:00) – 1
2. Ashes – (6:25) – 2
3. Tam gdzie gaśnie dzień…3 [Sacrilegium cover] – (10:24) – 3
4. Indiánská píseň hrůzy4 [Master’s Hammer cover] – (5:34) – 4
5. …W Krainie Drzew5 [Hefeystos cover] – (5:45) – 5
6. Ten, který se vyhýbá světlu6 [Unclean cover] – (5:13) – 4
7. Recidivus7 [Sacrilegium cover] – (4:58) – 4
1… since Drudkh does not publish their lyrics.
2Obviously excepting Пісні Скорботи і Самітності (Songs of Grief and Solitude).
3Polish translation: “Where goes the day…”
4Czech translation: “Indian Song Horrors”
5Polish translation: “… In the Land of Trees”
6Czech translation: “One that Avoids Light”
7Latin translation: “Recurring”