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Draugnim - Vulturine (2016) - Review

Band: Draugnim
Album title: Vulturine
Release date: 11 March 2016
Label: Debemur Morti Productions

01. That Name Is Hate
02. As In Hunger, So In Demise
03. A Passage In Fire
04. Grief Unsung
05. Drums Of Black Death
06. Serpent Stone

When the news of Draugnim's newest creation came to be, I was absolutely thrilled. Not only because I craved a good atmospheric black metal album and knew that Draugnim can flawlessly deliver it, but also because after many years of silence, I simply thought they called it quits. What started as a one man-project by Morior in 1999, Draugnim came to life when Chimedra joined shortly after and soon a release of their first demo Paynim Crusade followed. After three more demo recordings, Northwind's Ire, the band's startling debut finally came in 2008 and in two years its successor, Horizon's Low followed and so Draugnim made a name for themselves in the pagan/atmospheric black metal scene. But then everything went quiet and as you may assume, purely bureaucratic issues followed, up until this year, when Vulturine came to life - without any pompous or false promises. And it was clear to me by just one listen Draugnim still have it, as they have again delivered an album filled with dense, harrowing and excruciating atmosphere, painted in various shades of black and veiled in mists of northern folklore.

A six track album can be described in one word as nothing less than grandiose. Lengthy compositions flow from one to another so seemingly effortless, so as you enter the dark realm of Vulturine you witness one epic tale, being told by the songs. The solid foundation of melodic black metal peculiarly intertwines with features of pagan metal and the result is a powerful album, filled with savage dynamics and ghastly ambient. The opening track "That Name Is Hate" starts with a solemn sound of falling rain and then swiftly changes its charge to a full blasting melody. The use of steady guitar riffs and blasting rhythm section is enhanced by the melodic use of keyboards and haunting vocals, which it strangely reminded me of early Moonspell from their Goat On Fire/Wolves From The Fog and Under The Moonspell EPs or even their sisterly project Daemonarch, which came quite as a surprise to me, as I haven't heard anything like it since… well, never actually. Not to sound like Draugnim is a copycat though, as the song magnificently develops further until it reaches that very intense and majestic ambient I was bringing out earlier. The tales of northern folklore, battles, nature and disasters are rooted strongly in Draugnim's sound, so even if you are not familiar with the lyrics, you will fill the soundscapes bring out the story solely by itself. The pagan side of Draugnim is even more enhanced in the following "As in Hunger, So in Demise", especially when it shifts in the second half of the track, where it hits will all its charge. "A Passage In Fire" in contrast is build around the foundation of sharp, genuine black metal, with fast drumming, uncompromising guitar riffs and passion-filled, tenebrous growls. As the title already suggests, "Grief Unsung" then sinks the album in the more slow, doom-ish and morbid direction and in a similar manner follows the closing "Serpent Stone".

So you see, what makes Vulturine so distinctive are many aspects, which impact the kinetic energy of distinguishable soundscapes delivered on this album – it's like all pieces of puzzle fit together in one big, massive and dismal picture. The play of contrast, brought by peculiar use of instruments is strongly emphasized by Chimedra's astonishing vocal performance, as his versatile use of death growls strike as a scream of profound agony, as well as depict a more deathly and warlike ambient and together it flows with an emotional charge of each and every track with absolute brilliancy. Draugnim have again released an album with a power to put a nightmarish spell on you, from the first to the last second. Its fiery passion, flamboyant, yet not too pushy or over the head theatrical sensation is truly one of a kind. Vulturine is not only a must for Draugnim fans, as it follows the signature sound of their first two albums, but an album, which should stay in good graces of anyone who is seeking for a strong and versatile atmospheric black metal release.

Review written by: Ines
Rating: 9/10