without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Australian Horde Ruins, ok, duo as the band consists (in the studio) of David Haley on drums (Psycroptic) and Alex Pope of Evil Dead doing everything else including the vocals are labeled as black metal. But rather than being tagged by this generic trademark, the band are not merely a Norwegian or Swedish wannabe band.
Not one bit, it is fair to say that they take a pinch of Norway and a lot of Celtic Frost (vocally especially) and mix it up with the death metal drumming teachings laid down by other projects they are involved in. Death metal drumming? Listen to the fills and double bass work, its much more complex in its craft than the majority of simple black metal rhythms out there that are however present on the ‘The Sum Of Your Loss’ and a blistering track called ‘Cult Rapture’. Mid-paced and effortless is the general consensus of this album; I would consider black/extreme metal equivalents being Old (Ger), Helheim, Immortal and a fair bit of latter day Satyricon (I really did not want to use this comparison as this band must be forlorn by this remark, apologies, but it’s the easiest way to put across my thoughts!). Each track is crafted well and is crisp in its sound, cold as frozen wastelands but enough quality to distinguish it from the Necro/Kvlt teachings of the black metal fraternity, whatever that may be or whatever trend it’s currently bestowing. ‘Annihilate’ is a ferocious track, taking the faster pace of pre-hibernation Immortal, that vocal rasp is still camped in Switzerland, but man, this is really good stuff.
All in all, this release makes it very high in my estimation, an outsider to the blacker side of metal would relish these sounds and it is a perfect access platform to the nastier stuff this genre produces. Ruins are great band, ‘Front the Final Foes’ is a great album, overall a controlled behemoth of grim, cold aggression and subtle pieces of magic within the darkness.
Written for www.brutalism.com
Of the collection of Debemur Morti releases I have reviewed recently this third album from Australians Ruins is the one by far most likely to make some waves in the metal world in the coming time. Again, starting from no prior experiences with the band I have come into this listen totally fresh to what Ruins can offer me, and by jove is it a lovely concoction of what I feel is best defined simply as 'extreme metal'. Just how long does one have to wait to find an album that possesses such strength, brutality and songwriting panache evident here, amidst a sea of releases that lack the sonic extremity surely necessary for 'extreme metal'? Much too long I say.
I hasten to define Ruins as plain old black metal as they are generally described in the metal press - repeated listens to "Front the Final Foes" have defined in my mind a template of strong Celtic Frost influences and a large squaring of Satyricon groove but the result mixture is a death/black mix not dissimilar to the excellent releases last year of Goatwhore and Destruktor. What made those albums so good, and it is again the same reason here, is the power that has been imbued in the band from the production and sound on offer: no cardboard drums and thin, fuzzy guitars here. Ruins bring us dominating power in the form of heavy thumping drums, a dirty, yet distinctly listenable guitar sound, bass we can hear and a vocal style mixing Satyr and Tom G. Warrior, audibly defining the words being spoken at virtually all times.
"The Sum Of Your Loss", "Annihilate" and the title track, all reeking massively of "Volcano"-era Satyricon, are brutal, and brilliant, made especially so by a drum performance that Frost (Satyricon) himself would be proud of. Ruins average a fast speed but they achieve this intermittently, varying it up with slower moments that crucially fit in with the dynamics of the song to create individual identities for each, rather than allowing the album to descend into a quagmire of identikit songs and minimal artistic passion. Think how many times you have heard albums where every song sounds the same, a problem especially prevalent in extreme metal, to realise that after one or two spins you never listen to it again for that very reason? Ruins haven't resorted to throwing in odd time signatures or freeform jazz; a simple knack of knowing how to write a song that sounds good on your headphones on the train, on the stereo at home, or, I imagine, on the stage, is all that’s happened here and the result is instantly apparent.
It had taken me a while to actually get round to spinning "Front the Final Foes", randomly choosing to assign myself its’ label mate albums before this one, but I have been hooked and involved from the instant opener "Breath Of Void" first crashed out with my stereo with a sense of purpose not found in most. How much recognition Ruins will get for this will depend on if they can make it to Europe to tour and of course that little bit of luck which everyone needs, but if I can help out by saying "buy this record!!" then I will do because through its self-awareness and knowledge of metal's past Ruins have released a damn fine album here.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net
Front the Final Foes is the third full-length from Australian Ruins, a band boasting several members of Psycroptic/The Amenta that performs a more blackish style of metal. Previous albums Spun Forth as Dark Nets and Cauldron were enjoyable, but I feel a sense of power and refinement with this new album that was lacking before.
Alex Pope's vocals on this release sound like a direct, Cro-Magnon ancestor of Thomas G. Warrior (Celtic Frost). Most of the tracks move at a mid pace, but create intense, mighty grooves not unlike those on the past few Satyricon albums. "Breath of Void" grinds over you like a tank, manned by demons, its armour nicked and rusted by the constant scouring of hellish winds, traversing the abyss towards its next inevitable battle. "The Sum of Your Loss" is slower, groovier. Better. That one bent note in the breakdown is perfectly placed. "Cult Rapture" creates a mystique that transforms into a punishing blast and back again. Ditto for "Annihilate". Another great track is the concrete peeling "Hallways of the Always", a blunt, daemonic, erosive force.
The album is not just punishing for its songs, but the sound is like a hammer to the back of the cranium. Loud and well-mixed, the vocals resound over the precise guitars, turbulent bass and the ballistic drumming. The riffs are simple but the songs crush consistently, and the entire album is swathed in a violent, inescapable atmosphere. This is a strong record and well worth the time if you enjoy Satyricon, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, and other slower black metal.