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The chant of glory for all the impure!!!! - 99%

AgeOfTheWiccans, May 10th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2009, CD, Ván Records (Reissue)

After the mediocre Blood Vaults, I was not inspired to listen to Alexander Von Meilenwald anymore. It was a huge deception after 4 years of waiting. To rebalance things, I went digging into the first offering of The Ruins Of Beverast named ''Unlock the Shrine' and to this day, it is still a masterpiece even though it was released back in 2003. Then, ''Rain Upon The Impure'' came out in 2006 and the rain fell on us; the impure. Alexander von Meilenwald's second opus can not be summarized. It is a roller coster with unimaginable turns and twists, an overflow of cool ideas (chants, riffs, atmosphere) melted into one album containig one of the most inspiring theme heard in recent years. It will disturb the unclean spirits and awaken the demon that lurks in the dark because Alexander sure did conjure the black forces on this album.

''Rain Upon The Impure'' spares no one and from the opening of "50 Forts Along The Rhine", a flood of violence is unleashed and a primitive black orchestra, that is very abrasive, transport you into an immense desolate place like the many forts standing next to you. It does not take a long moment to start things off because his fury will give place to a demented melody which he borrowed from mysticism; the enchanting choruses that make you think that Alexander is in a choir chanting the hymns of gloried gods and the acute guitars sounding like a rallying call are all found in this song. The unspeakable terrors created by this man engulfs us in a heavy and unhealthy atmosphere, but also the serious and inhuman voice of Alexander von Meilenwald is sending a hellish message throughout this song. All of these are the other jewels found on this single track. Indeed, in spite of a more distinct sound of slower and heady riffs coupled with a less disturbing atmosphere, it is like sending a strong odor of sulfur through the air that will hang around you. It is like the pit before you enter hell, it stinks of greatness. Unlike the latest album, the influences invoked the blaspheming and black universe of The Ruins Of Beverast, giving it a more mysterious aura.

There is a statement that is all the more striking when listening to the next track "Soliloquy Of The Stigmatised Shepherd". It is of a very low tempo which makes the doom/black metal sounds like a symphony. With a sumptuous energy, the clear vocals are filled with emotions as well as more catchy riffs are propulsing us into a kind of light trance. It is like letting you touch the light with your fingertips, but a harsh and disturbing climate plunges you into an even more profound uneasiness. The song is like the spectre of Thergothon, not far from this old shadow that they produced back in the days. A familiar feeling is felt by the interlude noise of "Rapture", which brings to life your deepest fears and summon what it seems like sombre designs.

The mastermind behind TROB is Alexander von Meilenwald and he has the ability to rise the impious crowd through these last two pieces whose are parallel with ''Blood Vault''. This is just striking because he still kept the essence, the blackness of The Ruins Of Beverats into a whole being, but much more defined. Throughout the next tracks, the tension always rises one notch with a sizzling and always perceptible reminder that the religious and omnipresent occult side of Alexander is present throughout this entire masterpiece. You follow the movement like watching the tail of a strange beast, which guides you to an unknown destination. The more you follow and the more you feel like you are crossing a city full of dark streets. The choruses and the choirs are again more and more obvious and compelling like the sound of a church's bell before Sunday mass. The drumming is constantly pounding and the decadence of this long process finally arrive like echoes while a hideous voice exhorts the crowds on "Blood Vaults (I ˗ Thy Virginal Malodour)". The macabre ceremony can finally begin with surprisingly melodious riffs, but also you find words spoken from time to time by a woman. The music is full of devotion, very engaging with each alternating passage of extremely violent melodies. You might experiment this with "Soil Of The Incestuous", a song that will reveal the truth for many who live on this earth.

The rain is finally pouring and the soil is incapable of absorbing our sins, this is where we stand now as the message is finally giving us a clear vision of what is like to stand in the rain. The culminated orgasm is finally reached with the title track. With its devastating effects, you suffocate in this ever more tainted air. You search in vain for the horizon, but you are swallowed up by the opaque clouds until the ancient gods finally emerge from their repose shedding blood and destruction. This could be his final vision because the apocalyptic "Rain Upon The Impure" is the end of all things and the beginning of a new era made of unfathomable suffering. It is a glorious ritual that's unfold and is filled with mesmerizing riffs. You cannot have a more spectacular ending than this.

If perfection does not exist, it is clear that this album is approaching fairly close to it since its delivering an occult and disturbing atmospheric black / doom sound. It is also synthesizing alone the purest evil that exists, stirring your deepest anxieties and fears. A soundtrack that is both nightmarish, but also paradoxically haunting the likes of the "Necronomicon" or "The King in Yellow". This nightmare will not stop haunting you and tormenting you until you listen to it again.

In a word: Sprawling. - 86%

ConorFynes, April 6th, 2016

What is undeniably Alexander von Meilenwald's most ambitious work ever is also conspicuously the album I've listened to the least from The Ruins of Beverast. I don't use the term "genius" lightly, but in this man's case it virtually goes without saying. Who else, short of a genius, could uplift black metal to a truly Wagnerian scope? The Ruins of Beverast's first album, Unlock the Shrine, was one of the most inventive metal albums I've ever heard, with an atmosphere that waxed psychosis. Had I the chance of catching that debut when it came out, I would have been at a loss to predict where he'd take his sound from there. If Unlock the Shrine offered a practically unbeatable level to top, von Meilenwald did the only thing he could: He changed the rules entirely.

Rain Upon the Impure is a fucking mammoth. Even if you've heard other black metal albums that match it for length, I'm hard-pressed to think of another that draws a par in terms of sheer scope. If any measure of genius behind The Ruins of Beverast was left in doubt, think about how one guy manages to conjure the impression of a symphony with his guitar, drums and voice. Unlike the vast majority of would-be solo artists in black metal, I can't imagine a full band having executed it any better. Although von Meilenwald's drum speciality rings true (on this moreso than any other TROB album) the guitars are appropriately biting, the vocals maniacal as ever. Rain Upon the Impure tends to beg for hyperbole in any description.

Each of The Ruins of Beverast's albums are different from one another. I somewhat regret the fact that Rain Upon the Impure was the first one I listened to. Where Unlock the Shrine was intuitive and manic, and the third LP Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite was controlled and emotional, Rain Upon the Impure is sprawling. Riffs and musical segments that would have occupied small spaces on Unlock the Shrine are stretched out over wide distances. This isn't done for the sake of atmosphere (see:Burzum) so much as furthering the sheer sense of scope. Although certainly less dynamic than the schizoid shifts on Unlock the Shrine, I don't think Alex ever pushes his compositions too far here. Sparse, funeral-doomy sections (of which there are plenty here) might lack the same emotional drive I've heard on The Ruins of Beverast's other two masterpieces, but there's a unique experience in hearing such intense, harrowing music with such a patient pace.

Each of the five pieces (excluding the two interludes) are vast and memorable. The most memorable parts of Rain Upon the Impure are when the sprawling assault coalesces into something melodic or otherwise standout-ish. Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite strikes me as one of the greatest albums I've ever heard precisely because von Meilenwald emphasized this element of his composition. The clean-picked intro to "Soil of the Incestuous" beneath tortured howls struck me with awe since my first listen. "Soliloquy of the Stigmatised Shepherd" is the most consistently interesting piece here, ranging from gloomy doom stretches to one of the best uses of "chanted" vocals I've ever heard in a black metal album: "Father, make of me the seed for a silent meadow..." With regards to the lyrics here, I've always been amazed how chilling Alex can be with his choice of words. Even reading them by themselves is enough to elicit an eerie feeling. Unlock the Shrine lyrically revolved around tension and psychosis. On RUTI, the lyrics reflect a sense of emptiness. I think that's a perfect way to match the music here.

The longwinded approach on RUTI would have fallen to pieces in lesser hands. Alexander von Meilenwald's extent of skill as a musician comes through on this album however. Considering the amount of sleepy, "empty" parts here, it's a small miracle that he keeps it engaging through his performance. The guitarwork is minimal but ultimately effective; it's the drums where he really shines. Every hit of the snare feels like it was written down via composer's notation before getting committed to the recorded medium-- I don't think there's any other metal album where I've gotten an impression like that. The most interesting instrument at von Meilenwald's disposal, surprisingly, is the production itself. For a lo-fi production, I am shocked it can sound so vast. RUTI is somehow made to sound like it was performed by a full orchestra in the most opulent concert hall ever arranged. It'll sound murky and weak to some, and heartstoppingly awe-inducing to others. Whatever the case, it's all to this album's benefit that it's graced with such a distinctive recording style.

Though I'd never be able to call Rain Upon the Impure less than a masterpiece album in polite conversation, I do find it interesting that I've never been able to enjoy it as much as the other albums. Even 2013's Blood Vaults, which easily counts as the project's weakest to date, offered more for me to appreciate on my own terms. But with that in mind, I understand fully why RUTI would be considered his magnum opus. All elements of his musical character are drawn out here to their maximum extent. Would there be shame in saying The Ruins of Beverast sounded infinitely better when he condensed the sound a bit with his next album? It matters little in the end. Rain Upon the Impure creates an experience like no other, and it's ultimately difficult to compare it to much else heard in the black metal spectrum.

A Journey Into The Cavernous - 98%

Polynometal, October 10th, 2015

I'm not entirely sure what the album cover to this masterpiece of an album is, but for the longest time I assumed it was staring down into a cave, with long, winding stalactites hanging down and meeting the floor of the abyss. The colors are dull, muted, and it seems to be intentional that it's near impossible to make out what's happening on this album cover. This is worth a mention due to the fact that there is no better way to describe this album, from the noisy, muted guitars, howled and echoed vocals, and abysmal, faded out nature of the production. There's a very concept and theme driven nature to the album and it's the reason for the success of the album "Rain Upon The Impure".

I'm going to admit to not have given any other album by Ruins of Beverast a chance, because this album is completely draining in itself. The best place to start, and the hardest thing to get around, is the production and mixing. Bass? Fat chance. Intelligible chords during fast sections? As if. Comprehensible lyrics or vocals? Not found here. With the popularity of bands like Portal and Ævangelist, this isn't an uncommon gimmick to an extreme metal album, but the catch here is, funny enough, how catchy this album is. Spare the abysmal atmosphere, there's moments to find enjoyable in this music. Instead of being made for just mood or strange songwriting, there's a clear sense of both the instruments and rhythms, and this very much comes out in the doom-y, choir filled, haunted parts of tracks like "Soliloquy of the Stigmatized Shepherd". Even through the production, you can comprehend the music with ease. A choral section not out of place for even a church emerges from the black, taking the lead of the mix. It's a refreshing blend of the muddied atmosphere of modern black/death giants, and the very unique beauty you can get from black metal. This, however, does not stop it from being draining as mentioned before. Eighty minutes of the bleak nature of the album really wears down on you, but this hindrance is a true blessing once one is conditioned to the album.

Vocals are, surprisingly enough, varied. Not just in the choral sections, but there is not a single song where the same vocal technique is used for more than a few minutes. Kept at a prime minimal, vocals are used more for background noise to break up monotony within each track, not for sing along or something to actively pay attention to. This can't be taken as a bad thing, as it's fully intentional, and does it's job as well as any other element of the album. Drums suffer the only flaw of the album, with the production mixing them far in the back, which wouldn't normally be a problem. This problem arises in the faster, more black metal driven sections, when the bass drum is shown to be as loud as the guitars, and more distracting than anything else. Thankfully, what would be detrimental for a black metal album is saved by the fact that this is not a particularly fast record, and drums are kept at a slow pace for a good portion of time.

During the drafting of this review, I realized why this album is hard to review well. The individual components of this work can be heard in other albums, but sound more cheesy than anything else. When all the parts of this album are together, there's a distinct atmosphere it creates, and does unlike any other work of black metal I've ever heard. This is an excellent starting point for the more dark, chaotic, and cavernous black/death/doom metal in the world. This is not an album for everyone, but instead, an album that must be listened to, it's fear be felt, it's echo be heard, and then for the listener to decide if they want to experience it again.

Father, make of me the seed for a silent meadow - 99%

Wilytank, January 30th, 2013

Alex von Meilenwald's solo project The Ruins of Beverast might have just faded from my memory had he only recorded and released Unlock the Shrine. While a decent album, it lacked a lot of elements that could of made it spectacular. That was 2004 though. In 2006, Alex returned with a new album named Rain Upon the Impure, and it's this album that introduced me to The Ruins of Beverast in the first place and ultimately solidified my respect for the project.

Those of you exploring Beverast's discography chronologically will probably expect Alex's dark atmosphere conjured up on Unlock the Shrine to be present again on the sophomore album. What you probably won't expect is that the darkness is taken to a whole new magnitude here on Rain Upon the Impure. While Unlock the Shrine had a claustrophobic atmosphere like exploring a dark cellar at night, Rain Upon the Impure's atmosphere invokes thoughts of large amounts of space instead of limited amounts like wandering through a massive expanse of plains at night while in the distance you can see a man-made ruin the size of mount Kilimanjaro. I prefer this more external atmosphere, and Alex does an exceptional job of conjuring it up on Rain Upon the Impure. The guitars are a lot clearer than on the previous album and are the key force driving this album to greatness. They're played at various speeds within each song and the production makes them sound downright menacing.

Besides the metal instruments, there are these choir sections that help the album sound really dark. Their presence is limited, but they're in just the right places to count. Unlike Unlock the Shrine's sparse choir sections which sounded more like an unnecessary add-on than anything, the choirs on Rain Upon the Impure actually feel like they belong in the music. They're used as atmospheric background enhancers and perform extremely well in this role especially on "50 Forts Along the Rhine" in an extremely epic riffing rainstorm that begins at 2:25 as well as in "Rain Upon the Impure" to toll the album's end. The choirs also sound great when used to recite lyrics in the refrain sections of "Soliloquy of the Stigmatized Shepard" and "Blood Vaults", at such times they're brought up to the front of the mix.

While the playing styles and tempos of Unlocked the Shrine varied between the songs, the styles on Rain Upon the Impure is more consistent between songs, but more mixed within one song. Each song has its own fast and slow parts, but none of them are arranged in the same way, and there are those that contain more fast parts than slow parts. "Soliloquy of the Stigmatized Shepard" for instance contains more slow parts while "Rain Upon the Impure" contains more fast parts. One thing to note is that the really slow parts border on funeral doom metal, but the atmosphere and heaviness in these parts an give even the best funeral doom bands a run for their money; "Soliloquy..." is really great at this.

This album is longer than its predecessor, clocking in at almost eighty minutes compared to seventy, but this time is used in a much more productive way than on Unlock the Shrine. The interludes that littered Unlock the Shrine are all but gone; there's only two short ones on Rain Upon the Impure. The rest of the album consists of five actual songs, none of them shorter than thirteen minutes. Each of these songs are given a fair share of variation in them to keep the listener interested, so Rain Upon the Impure is overall a much more fulfilling listening experience.

Rain Upon the Impure is a grand and unique album. A few minor changes to the mix and production would have made this album worthy of a perfect 100/100 from me. As it is though, this is an awesome album that is proof of Alex's musical writing talent along with his instrumental skill and proof that Germany can hold its own in the black metal department. This is an extremely high recommendation for fans of atmospheric black metal. Gold star, Alex!

Primal Dance. - 90%

Perplexed_Sjel, December 6th, 2007

'Rain Upon The Impure' is Alexander von Meilenwald's first attempt at repeating the glory of the debut full-length album, 'Unlock The Shrine'. The great thing, well, one of the great things about the first album was it's daring nature. It wasn't afraid to tackle area's of music that black metal had rarely, if ever, ventured to. Alexander von Meilenwald experimented with sound to create perhaps the best black metal creation in years. 'Rain Upon The Impure' to me, signifies The Ruins Of Beverast intent is to remain highly experimental. I think when the second record came out, people judged it far too quickly. Stating they hated the change in production, it didn't suit the band, there is a distinct lack of creativity, but as time as gone on, people have come to realise that drastically changing the style of this German band is experimentation.

'Rain Upon The Impure' is by far a more typical black metal album in many ways. The production is exactly what you'd expect. You couldn't say it's poor because everything is still clear enough to hear properly. However, it is vastly different. For starters, it's not entirely clear either. The huge amount of distortion that has gone into the guitars especially has changed the face of this German band. The production was clear and that's how people liked it because it was a bit different. Now we're faced with a production that commands the attention of it's audience, which in many ways is a good thing. Instead of judging this record purely on past efforts, we're forced to listen to 'Rain Upon The Impure' carefully and judge it for what it is. In my opinion, it's not as good as the debut, but it's still a great album, but in it's own distinctive ways. Such an occurrence is probably a major bonus for fans. Hearing the same material, but slightly recycled isn't interesting. Getting a taste of something completely different to what we were expecting is and that is how 'Rain Upon The Impure' has panned out. It's different and thank fuck for that. If it tried to imitate the style of the last album, it might fail spectacularly, so why bother?

There was a dark feeling on the previous album, but here is where it really takes off. 'Rain Upon The Impure' is a malicious metalfest. It's not as fast flowing, it's much slower and takes time to develop. In this instance, we probably end up with far better soundscapes than before. On 'Unlock The Shrine', there were a number of shorter songs. They didn't detract from the atmosphere or harm the record in any way, but with 'Rain Upon The Impure' we're faced with assault after assault. This is a diverse approach, despite what many may think. The bass and guitars are based more towards repetition than before. This keeps that darkened atmosphere I spoke of earlier at the surface. The percussion is also an element that has become more repetitive too. Blast beats are occurring more often and more freely. Ambient acoustics offer strange periods of relaxation before the wave of darkness covers us all again.

'Rain Upon The Impure' is well on it's way to becoming a masterpiece just over a year after it's release. Long may the success continue.

A journey in the uttermost depths of man - 95%

beletty, August 10th, 2007

"Rain Upon the Impure" is the second album released by Alexander von Meilenwald, the drummer of legendary "Nagelfar", under the monicker "The Ruins of Beverast". Here he handles all the instruments and vocals by himself.
Esentially it offers a deeper and darker experience than most black metal albums. On the way we find a hard wall of guitars made out of a buzzy but controlled sound with barely distinguishable melodic fluctuations. The drumming is very tight and intense. Von Meilenwald definitely improved since "Unlock the Shrine" released 2 years before. The ocasional bass notes reverb offers a necesary dose of fluidity. Vocally, the album is most impressive. Von Meilenwald's growl is similar to that of Akerfeldt from Opeth on "Orchid". However the former is deeper and stronger. Ecclesiastic choirs and movie fragments are scattered along the album, which bring the listener to a contemplative state and imbue the atmosphere with obscurity. Vincent Price quotes Edgar Allan Poe with his ethereal voice in the interlude from 'Blood Vaults': 'And travellers now within that valley/ Through the red-litten windows, see/ Vast forms that move fantastically/ To a discordant melody'. The fragment is from 'The Haunted Palace', a horror movie from the 60s, made after Poe's telling with the same name. The production gets most credit for the atmosphere though, distant and resonant, you can still hear the instruments without any major intricacy.
Overall a very long album (one hour and 20 minutes), atmospheric, contemplative, dark in the true meaning.

Magnificent - 100%

Sargon_The_Terrible, August 9th, 2007

How can I possibly convey in mere words the utter mastery of Black Metal wielded by the superlative Alexander von Meilenwald? I was completely blown away by his 2004 debut as The Ruins Of Beverast Unlock The Shrine, and I bestowed upon it the only '5+' I have ever given to a BM album. So I was sweating this new one: how could the first album be matched, let alone surpassed? Surely such a monstrous beast of sound and fury had to be a one-off fit of brilliance by a genius who would vanish or kill himself before he could even try.

Amazingly, Rain Upon The Impure is more than a worthy successor to Unlock The Shrine, and manages to be equally brilliant in a completely different direction. While Unlock The Shrine was a display of despair and crushing misanthropy at the hands of a master of sound and aural space, it was an album made up of parts. You could easily see the parts fitted together – brilliantly so – but it was a distinct album with a lot of room to breathe. The music was focused on distinct riffs and melodies, all set apart by ambient interludes that built the atmosphere and gave the album a more sprawling feel than this one, despite that Rain Upon The Impure is almost ten minutes longer.

Rain Upon The Impure is an exercise in fusion of sounds into a single, onrushing wave. The instruments are much less distinct this time, all of them mixed together and pressed into a crush of sound that initially bewilders with its density and richness. On first spin I had no idea what to make of this, and it sounded like an impenetrable miasma that I could hardly make out. The whole is mixed very together and a bit low, so you have to turn it up about twice as loud as more slickly produced metal. But again, Meilenwald knows exactly what he is doing, as once this is cranked up, it wraps around you like a tidal wave and carries you away, and it will never let you go. There are seven tracks here, and five of them are full songs all clocking in around fifteen minutes each. This is a nearly eighty-minute album that seems too short, and when the last magnificent tone of the title track is over, I always think "Fuck, is that all?" and I hit 'play' again.

There is so much going on in each song that it seems pointless to even try describing it. These are densely-packed, massive oceans of fury and emotion, cut apart here and there by enigmatic voice-samples and amazingly delicate melodies. Witness the unearthly Gregorian chant that is built throughout "Blood Vaults", and the simple yet haunting acoustic melody that fills and fulfills the album strongpoint "Soil Of The Incestuous". There is not a single track here I would make shorter by a single note, and this album could be twice as long and I would still want it to be longer.

Some people would compare Meilenwald's genius to other legendary musicians which have haunted the metal landscape. I myself will maintain than no talent to equal his has ever yet been seen within the Black Metal circle, and may not ever again. The man is single-handedly redefining what Black Metal is about and what it is capable of with his seemingly inexhaustible abilities. I am amazed to be struck speechless yet again by this visionary artist, and I can only imagine what waits in store for the future. If you care about Black Metal at all as a vital, growing genre then you must have this album. Unbelievable.

Originally written for

Rain upon the Impure - 100%

CoF, February 22nd, 2007

Glorious. „Rain Upon the Impure“ – the kind of album while listening to it someone has to ask himself why there hasn’t existed something similar before. Thereby the fundamentals are quite obvious: A production so unutterable black and reachable still escaping the clutching limbs in its franticness, a vocal performance which convulses marrow, bone and the Norwegian scene in their foundations and in the end the essence: Atmosphere in wasteful abundance.

Too short? Well, let’s try again.

Apocalypse – A term not alien to the world of music considering the clear bandwidth of styles commiting themselves (partially at least) to the fascinating musical version of this phenomenon. Mr von Meilenwald isn’t new to this profession either: With “Unlock the shrine” he raised the bar for apocalyptic sound experiences to a pretty high level. But that it would be necessary to secure oneself a new measure together with your copy of “Rain Upon the Impure” – not many could have considered that.

I’m not on giving too much away right now, as the album has been properly praised already by numerous Webzines and such, but what this man has constructed with comparative simple elements is indeed more than just remarkable: eighty minutes in time the listener is welcomed by ecstatic flushes, enters even (funeal-)doomlike fields and will rub his eyes beholding the sometimes just fantastically composed melodies. Not to mention the bag full of surprises.

Would Beethoven be still alive and in possession of working sences he’d touch his chest: Such a preconceived flow including complex dynamics and a tragic, no, addictive depth – my everlasting thankfulness (to throw away every bit of objectivity).

Thanks for your attention. Oh yes, buy it.

Originally written for: