Death Metal Underground

The Ruins of Beverast – Blood Vaults

by Brett Stevens
August 15, 2013 –

the_ruins_of_beverast-burial_vaultsThe worst reviews are the ones that say a band is right in the middle: “They do a few things well, but there’s not really some unifying theme, so this album is great if you’re a huge fan of those things they do well.”

A better review reflects conflict. This is one of those reviews. Dear Ruins of Beverast: you have potential, but you need to edit your material. In a huge way. In such a huge way that I don’t think most people will finish listening to this album. And change the name. What’s wrong with “Beverast” instead of a sentence-band name?

Many of the ideas on this are great. However, they’re spaced out with filler that amounts to repetition of some very tired ideas. Further, this allows this one-man band to gimmick its way through, so instead of carefully composed songs we get extended interludes that do nothing but dilute the mood. When The Ruins of Beverast decide to shred, the result is bare-bones riffs that build up to a climax.

After that, confusion reigns, so this composer avoids that point. That in itself is a mistake. Building to a peak requires a snowballing of intensity, and that produces the type of dynamic change that made black metal so much fun. But after that, what must be done — as in any Tolkienesque journey — is to Romanticize the quest and then contrast the end result to the inception.

If songs don’t lead to a path that shows a clear growth process, they become circular. With circularity, the conclusions resemble the precepts. That means that we’re hearing sheer atmosphere pieces with no actual development, since any “development” that is created doesn’t uncover a mystery or lead to new heights, but plunges back into itself.

This composer is afraid of his own work. When he writes a good riff, it takes him to some point where he must go somewhere with it, and that freaks him out. What’s there? It might just be darkness. But in the darkness he does not see romance, only permanence. So he goes back to gimmicks with chanting, distorted voices, interludes, etc. It strips him of his own strengths.

If someone took the twenty minutes of promising material from Blood Vaults and arranged it with some verve, the result would be three to four very powerful songs. Instead we have an extended detour into pointlessness that sacrifices the best abilities of this songwriter to his worst fears.

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5 comments

  • EDS

    Being the Ruins of Beverast fan I am I did not know there was a new album on its way. The composer, Alexander von Meilenwald made great contributions to black metal while drumming in Nagelfar and when the band broke up he decided to go off on his own and start this project. Try the albums, Rain upon the Impure and the Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite instead of this. After hearing this song I can’t help but feel he is out of ideas. I feared this day would come. The song seemed dead and lifeless and cheap compared to earlier works. Like 99% of all other one man black metal projects he takes aesthetic riffs and pieces them together with ambience (mid song) to appeal to a fan base for modern epic black metal. They will once again eat this up since at first listen as this sounds like a continuation of the material on Foulest Semen. However giving it a few listens, one can see he took the easy street on at least this song, and created some inert music. Even the ambience he created on earlier albums is better the mid section of this song. Maybe the other songs will be better. Some bands put a more generic and lifeless song as an opener sometimes.

    1. Madhu

      But to varying degrees. Rain Upon the Impure was simultaneously his most ponderous and his most coherent and well-composed album. While there is quite a bit of repetition in it, the repetition seems like a natural part of the album’s structure. I find it easier to make my way through that album than Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite, which suffers from the uneven quality Brett is describing.

  • fenrir

    Awesome cover art and I think there are some really cool ideas in the music. But it’s as if he didn’t know how to put it all together into a strong and coherent piece.