Wednesday 25 May 2022

DRUIDS - Shadow Work (Album Review)

Release Date: June 03rd 2022. Record Label: Pelagic Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Shadow Work - Tracklisting


Path To R

Ide's Koan


Dance Of Skulls

Othenian Blood


Cloak-Nior Bloom


Psych Doom/Stoner Metallers Druids return with their fourth new album Shadow Work and it's perhaps the famed band's strongest material to date. Shadow Work sees Druids bring a huge "world building" level of creative storytelling to their music. The music is supremely progressive that fans of Baroness and Mastodon will love with the deeply rooted WEEDIAN influence of sounds of the mighty SLEEP but still allowing Druids to write highly original music of their own.

The album is way more progressive compared to the last few Druids releases. The album has a sonic feel with the music allowing the band to explore their Psychedelic and Space Rock musical identity to a grander scale. With a flowing Ambient Post-Rock narrative being heard from the excellent opening song Aether which blends Drone Vocal textures and gloomy musical passages building up to a heavier style of Psych Doom/Stoner Metal.

Second song Path To R is where Druids bring their new creative vision to the masses with distorted Ambient sounds and swirling Psych Space Rock riffs slowly building upto a mass of different noises. The thumping bass being played in the background is the main driving force in this song with the song moving into other areas of warped Psychedelia grooves. The clean vocals have a "Crack The Skye" feel to them with even similar lyrics as well. However, everything still feels mightily original. When the heavier sludgy grooves appear then Druids feel one of the most wildly inventive bands I've heard in quite some time. The Prog Rock/Metal guitar solos move between the classic heyday of "Relapse Records Metal '' but with a modern flow allowing the band to play/write some of the best music to date.

Third song Ide's Koan is an epic track running past the eight minutes mark with Druids once again playing a masterclass of Psych Doom/Stoner Metal that moves between the areas of Ambient based Psych/Cosmic Rock. The song has a wonderfully understated Space Rock score that allows the song to grow naturally. The song has a true "storyteller" vibe that's mainly down to the wonderfully emotive lyrics that accompany the song. The vocals have some epic "head-banging" moments of their own towards the later stages of the song. The music has that diverse "Black Sabbath" amplifier riff worship sound but merged with that Psych/Prog Metal goodness that Druids have been excelling at since their debut release. 

Druids keep moving along with the Psychedelic themes of the music for the rest of the album but still allowing themselves to play different styles of music that we haven't heard from them before. Shadow Work is most definitely Druids most "complete" album to date. The lyrics can be quite bleak in places but it allows Shadow Work to have a more humane and organic sound compared to their previous releases.

Standout songs include: Hide, Dance Of Skulls, Othenian Blood and Cloak-Nior Bloom

You will be surprised at how many times you will be singing aloud or shouting out LOUD with Druids on this release which I did regularly especially on songs such as Hide, Dance Of Skulls and Othenian Blood. Though if you want to lose yourself in the great progressive riffs the album has, then that's fine too. Druids have you fully covered on that score as well.

The album allows Druids to cement their reputation as one of the most essential bands within the Sludge/Stoner Metal underground scene and maybe allow them the opportunity to move that little bit closer into the mainstream.

Shadow Work is a masterclass of modern day Psych Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Chris at Pelagic Records for the promo.

Shadow Work will be available to buy on CD/DD/VInyl via Pelagic Records from the links below on June 03rd 2022.

Pelagic Records (Europe)

Pelagic Records (USA)


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