This one took me by surprise. I have to admit that I did not know Drouth before checking out their latest record Excerpts From A Dread Liturgy. They have been around for almost a decade now (starting under the name Concempt in 2012) but have only released an EP in 2015 (Vast, Loathsome) and one full length record in 2017 (Knives, Labyrinths, Mirrors). Well it seems they have used their time well in honing their skills. Let’s dive in.
The four piece band around founder Matt Stikker play black metal of the extreme variety. “Extreme” in this case refers to a lot of the records qualities: technical prowess, speed, heaviness, brutality, emotional impact, songwriting quality… I could go on. The five tracks that take 40 minutes to unfold seem to draw from a lot of inspirations yet manage to stay utterly unique. At times, I am reminded of MGLA, or a more violent version of them. Then there are moments that evoke a memory of Agalloch, and suddenly a dip into brutal death metal riffing occurs or a beautiful guitar solo sweeps in. All this is blended together extremely well, not for a moment does something feel tacked on or forced.
Note that this is not necessarily an easy listen. Each song is between six and 10 minutes long and takes you on a musical and emotional journey. It is worth it though, as there are so many things to discover. I could spend an entire playthrough of the record trying to follow the absolut monster that is Patrick Fiorentino on drums and decipher what he is doing there. Not that the guitars by Matt Stikker and John Edwards or the bass by Tyler Wolfe are any less brilliant. Most of all though, it is the exceptional songwriting that ties it all together that will keep me coming back to this masterpiece of a record. Drouth paint moments of darkness and sorrow yet break them up with glimpses of hope in a beautiful way.
There seems to be a strong artistic vision behind all of this, which continues on to the beautiful black and white album artwork, which was also created by Matt Stikker. I can’t wait for the release of Excerpts From A Dread Liturgy and hope it will gain the band lots of well deserved attention. If my gushing praise throughout this review was not clear enough, I can highly recommend this to any extreme metal fan.