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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