Ruins (Aus) - Cauldron

8 de dez de 2009


Ruins (Aus) - Cauldron

This is the new Ruins album, nominally a Black Metal unit from Hobart Tasmania, who have paved a path for themselves that strays past the majority of the local BM underground. For this as well as the general uneasiness with which the Black and Death Metal scenes eye each other, I think their work has been panned by the Black Metallers, myself including. And whilst previous efforts had some moments of a questionable quality, which may have justified a dismissal, I must admit that listening to them now, I cannot wholeheartedly do so as that would be an unfair manner in which to treat on this artist’s, as a whole, compelling work.
Firstly, the Black Metal generalization is inaccurate. Undeniably, BM is the basis, but there are too many elements here that originate in jazz or rock to label this band purely a BM one and so misrepresent what they are trying to do here. Secondly the album sounds much more solid due to Ruins having finally located a formula for reconciling the showy drums and the weird guitars, with neither struggling for attention at the forefront and instead taking their own place in the mix.

There is an odd strumming/picking technique that is used in conjunction with some of the drifting song structuring on Cauldron, and I cannot say I have heard it elsewhere. It was present on previous works and whilst it immediately distinguished the band from contemporaries, I think at times it was overdone. This album employs just enough of it to make the songs sound strangely atmospheric with obscure structures propelling the pieces through climax to completion. There is also very pleasing use of downstroke guitar and linear (as opposed to syncopated) rhythmic patterns that remind me of Darkthrone and in conjunction with the groaned vocals – new Celtic Frost. In parts this is a very rocky album and will provide you with some headbanging pleasure when done live.

The lyrics still annoy me a bit. The style is sparse and allegorical, but this usually results in their meaning being too close to meaninglessness, although there is some interesting correlation of Egyptian and Sumerian mythology to the Bible as well as just stark poetic passages that contribute to the overall detached and gloomy atmosphere on this album.

I think that in terms of purism, this works shines not, but having forgotten about that and Celtic Frost, one can find a lot to enjoy here. I recommend it to fans of modern Black Metal.

Originally published in Procession of Black Doom zine #2

Black Metal, Australia
Full-length, Debemur Morti Productions
March 1st, 2008

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