Welcome to the Annual Cynicism Roundtable, where we bring the world’s prominent cynics together to share why we think the world is total bullshit. As always, I’m hosting several well-known guests, such as my first, Neill Jameson of Krieg. I’d ask how you are, but I think we all know the answer. On that note, let’s instead discuss your long-awaited new album, Ruiner.

Firstly, I’m glad to see you back. Secondly, considering your articles and lists I’ve read regarding dungeon synth, I’m glad this is not an album in that genre. You make that very clear with the opening track, “Bulvark,” which has some black-and-roll elements in the present basslines. Or not. Are you opposed to calling this melodic? The highs here sound visceral and tortured. So, what I’m saying is; “Good job!” I would not even fathom calling such a song or album mainstream because it is the opposite of that, but somehow catchy.

I know you’ll not be happy because, well you never are, but even less so when I call “Red Rooms” post-black metal. Yes, there are certainly furious parts, and some may say the vocals before 2 minutes are DSBM, but it’s not as if you haven’t dipped your whole damned body in those waters before. That pervasive rhythm, though. It also has a little more of that black-and-roll feel around 3 minutes, which is indicative of the many moods and movements on display. It’s mostly sorrow, but not entirely. This is not a slight, as I enjoy post-black metal.

To give the dear readers something on which they can chew (besides their own chafed asses), “Solitarily, A Future Renounced,” is a true, mean black metal number. Blasts, growls, and vocals frequently in the background, yet somehow still audible and out front. The album is mixed and mastered quite well.

On perhaps the best track, “The Lantern and the Key,” you emit a throat-shredding, visceral scream lasting around 20 seconds. This is a second-wave black metal track all the way through. The tempo changes, tremolo-picked sections, and the vocal variances make it intriguing. For the most part, I can’t understand you, but that’s okay because I can feel the emotions in your voice. I hope you’re talking about farting in someone’s ice cream because I would likely never know. It’s the last track as well. The perfect closer has been written here. Atmospherics at the end of a closing track typically make me roll my eyes, but on this one, they don’t drone on forever, so no harm done.

To sum it up, I’m proud of you, Neill. My expectations of this were way off, but in this case, that’s excellent. I’m certainly far from the staff’s black metal expert, but I enjoy the genre in heavy doses. I love all sub-genres of metal and go on extended periods when I only listen to one, then an excellent album comes along from another, and it throws me back into it head-first. That’s what Ruiner has done. Welcome back, sir. I mean, if you even fucking care. I know, I know. The world is indeed still total bullshit. That’s not changing so I hope we can all enjoy the new album together. Or alone. Probably alone.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
November 23rd, 2023


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