The Ruins of Beverast
The Thule Grimoires

It can be so easy to fall into a rut when it comes to discovering new music. You get comfortable in a certain lane, start seeking out a particular style of music, and next thing you know it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy where everything new you check out just ends up sounding really familiar, like you’re caught in some kind of sonic loop. Don’t get me wrong! We all like what we like and obviously we’re all drawn to our own preferences and proclivities, but sometimes you just need to break the mold and start all over again with something new and fresh – and Germany’s The Ruins of Beverast have delivered just what I needed.

If you’re like me and this is my first time around with these guys, quick backstory – The Ruins… is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist and former Nagelfar drummer Alexander von Meilenwald. I am extremely late to this party, this being the project’s 6th full-length studio album, but uh… better late than never, right? Right.

The total package of this album, put simply, is just not something I think I’ve quite ever heard before. Breaking it down, I’ve heard the individual elements before – but the sum of its parts is wholly a different experience than I can ever recall having with any other band or album. This in and of itself doesn’t mean it’s any good, of course, but I’m happy to say that this is REAL good. And real dark! It’s an oppressive, melodramatic lovechild of Rotting Christ, Emperor, Mortiis, Therion, Tiamat, Type-O-Negative, Godflesh, Today is the Day, Forgotten Tomb… honestly I could just keep naming bands for like 3 paragraphs, but the point is, there’s a lot of gloomy malcontent going into this soup, and the end result is as overwhelming as it is a joy to listen. The album kicks off with some eerie, repetitive feedback that sets an appropriate, if unsettling stage, before “Ropes into Eden” launches into some breakneck blasting layered with dreary, moth-ridden guitars and the occasional hit of war drums that, all put together, create an all-consuming torrent of sound and fury that is somehow extremely invigorating and totally draining at the same time. The song very suddenly takes an atmospheric break from the action that really shocks the senses and leaves you with a sense of anxiety-riddled unease. “What’s next?” you’ll ask yourself. “What’s creeping just around the corner ready to pounce?!” The songs draws things out for a few minutes, hitting you with a mix of Type-O/Summoning blackened doom, before bringing back the churning double bass and blackened blasts and ending the track in chaotic, senses-fraying fashion. It’s both a dreary and exhilarating ride!

The bleak overtones put into place on the opening track carry throughout the album, though with varying degrees of impending doom and despair. Even more driving moments like on “Polar Hiss Hysteria” or the back-half of “Mammothpolis” are hardly what you’d call “upbeat,” instead playing more like a crushing assault on your sensibilities – like the moment H.P. Lovecraft gets to the “oh fuck I’m losing my shit” part of the story. Indeed, much of the album brings the much-maligned godfather of cosmic horror to mind, with no shortage of moments of monastic-like chanting on tracks like “Kromlec’h Knell” and “Anchoress in Furs” that can be found with the likes of Lovecraft-superfans Sulphur Aeon or The Great Old Ones. Though the band’s name and central themes are actually rooted in Germanic mythology, it’s hard to deny that Lovecraftian feeling of existential crisis here (he obviously took his influences from mythos such as the ones presented here).

The Thule Grimoires is an all-consuming, unnerving listening experience that should bring a smile to anyone who prefers the darker, more macabre things in life. It is, admittedly, not the sort of thing I’d probably always be drawn to, and yet I’m very glad I did all the same. The dark days of winter are upon us – settle in and embrace the doom and gloom with The Ruins of Beverast.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
February 3rd, 2021

Comments

  1. Commented by: F.Rini

    Outstanding review. Sounds like a lot of what I’d enjoy; like you never heard them before. I’m gonna Ck out the album. \m/


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