Valdur – Archdruid – IV
Reviewed: January 2019
Released: 2018, Self Released
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Every now and then I find a random album submission in my inbox that genuinely piques my curiosity. Such is the case with Archdruid, a Cantebury-based instrumental duo that operates solely with percussion and a bass guitar. The band has recently released their debut album, IV, which is comprised of a single-53 minute (split seamlessly into 2 tracks for digital versions).
Utilizing what’s traditionally a rhythm section to entirely front a band may first seem like a wonky proposition, but let’s consider the evidence, shall we? Going all the way back to Geezer Butler and Bill Ward to the likes of Sleep, Electric Wizard, Church of Misery, etc., etc. the bass/drum combo has long been the anchor to all things doom metal. It’s the groove you sync your head bang with, it keeps machine that keeps the song moving when Tony Iommi drifts into a 15-minute guitar solo… that low end is where allll of the good stuff happens.
As you might expect, this is the kind of tune that’s best experienced in single, uninterrupted setting – preferably with some dark lighting and an inebriant of your choice. The first half of IV meanders with a jazzy haze, staggering like your step dad on a bender, trying to find his way out of the bar. It’s a cool vibe that occasionally roars through a wave of distorted pickups. The second half of IV is opens with a veil of experimental noise before eventually sinking into some melodic runs, eventual repose, and eventually finding its way into the sunlight.
The fact that IV was improvised and recorded live in a single setting is pretty damned respectable, even if this particular style of doom isn’t your cup of tea. But if you’re into heavy atmospheric music, any of the bands I called out above, or just appreciate a sweet four string groove, IV at least deserves an exploration. Check out Archdruid’s Bandcamp page for a listen.