Of Ruin

The UK is notorious for killer crusty sludge/doom and 9 out of 10 times what you’re going to hear is top-notch.  Let’s face it, having the ultimate doom n’ gloom band Black Sabbath in the country’s history gives them an edge on the competition.  Ghold is following in those footsteps without guitar; a drum n’ bass duo of tonally gigantic proportions.  If The Melvins at their heaviest is your thing, along with the first two Big Business records, Harvey Milk, The Body, Indian and underrated German loons Beehoover, you’ll be in good company with Of Ruin’s sextet of black hole blasters.  As much as I’m a doom fan that digs of all the bands I’ve just name-dropped (okay, not so much The Body, sorry I’m an asshole) and want to love this to death, I’m pretty ambivalent about it.  Don’t get me wrong…it’s alright, there’s nothing particularly bad happening but as heavy as the record is it’s just a rather inoffensive, faceless doom album without a strand of DNA sticking to the aural genes.

Opener “Saw the Falling” does the quiet, clean chord thing interspersed by loud riffs that are tough enough that they could have crushed the Roman Empire like a garden variety squash.  The bellowing, burly vocals are very similar to Buzzo filtered through a sewer drainage system hooked up to a clogged gas station toilet.  There are a lot of pounding, flickering flame bass grooves which quickly deconstruct and the whole thing stays pretty damn still without much movement.  It’s not until the end where they interject a crippled, punk-rock hobble and an assault n’ battery groove misdemeanor do I really go, “Okay, that was fuckin’ cool as shit.”  I’m all for long build-ups, riffs with minimal notes and everything sludge; I just don’t think anything that happens here has that sense of POWER I’m looking for.  Loud?  Yes.  Interesting?  Questionable…

“Partaken Incarnate” kicks off by placing a racing, percussive climax right at the beginning of the song.  Then it sinks down into a quagmire of stew-y, sinewy churns with no real discernible groove or idea of note and alternatingly grumbled/yodeled vocals.  It descends down a maw of vaguely tangible riffs and twisting, simplified Chancellor-isms (Tool, though I probably don’t have to tell ya that) bass wraparounds.  Everything reminds me of Beehoover’s mighty Heavy Zoo with none of the finesse.  The quiet drops are pretty cool and the midsection break is fuckin’ bludgeoning akin to having your head ripped off in a logjam, but it feels like there are a lot of conjectures and no conclusions.  They even throw in some Yob-ish falsetto too.  Though it’s tough to be wholly innovative or perhaps original in the genre at this point, I can’t help but think these guys made a list of their favorites and just checked ‘em off while they were putting the song together.

Beginning strong and ending with the subtlety of populace annihilation, “All Eyes Broke’s” only fault is the entirety of its midsection.  When these guys want to they can strike with the abandon of the best of the best; unfortunately brilliant outbursts of riffage and progressive inclinations are few and far amongst the drone rubble.  “Pursed” is hands down the album’s finest hour.  It’s a gutter orgy of Am-Rep noise rock, punk, tasteful feedback usage, HUGE doom groove debauchery and plentiful time changes that keep shit exciting.  I doubt any doom fan can argue that we listen to the genre for high-speed thrills, yet just enough variance is needed to differentiate an excellent band from an average one.  On this momentous track Ghold are truly excellent.  Besides a jarring speed flux in “Odic Force,” the ending duo of tracks are rather unremarkable…heavy as fuck for sure with little emotion or interest to enforce memory retention.

Oh no, the dreaded “negative” review.  I’ve seen lukewarm reviews of this album met with harsh criticisms of the reviewers being out of touch, the reasons modern music journalism sucks or just a labelled as a plain ol’ fashioned idiots.  I’m no fuckin’ pariah, but this is about 20% great and 80% really boring.  Your mileage may vary and I honestly hope you disagree with the review as finding a new band that rocks your ears is why we’re all in this in the first place!  As always, whether stated or not in each of my write-ups, I encourage you to check into Ghold no matter what I fuckin’ think!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
June 23rd, 2015


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