Upon Ruins
Legacy of Desolation

Founder and owner of now-defunct Canadian record label Blasthead records, Paul Shaw, always had an ear for good music, even if his own tech death band Hate Division was merely average. But it appears he and his Hate Division pals have a better knack for melodic death metal.

With nods to Amon Amarth, Arghoslent, Helcaraxe, House of Atreus,and even some good old Iron Maiden, Upon Ruins has released a solid debut of melodic death metal, but not the twiddly airy Gothenburg kind, a more loose, rough and ready rambunctious kind that fits the warring themes of the songs (each song is about a particular battle in history).

With a relaxed production and delivery, the songs canter and trot with amicable pacing and catchy but burly riffs and solos. The musicianship isn’t perfect, but it suits the style better than the tightness required from punchy tech death metal of Hate Division.

There are some really strong melo-death riffs and songs here like “The Endless Sands” or more furious “In Flames and Decay” and closer “A Cold Empty Throne”. Then there’s a strong mid-paced thrashy number in “Of Distant Shores” and the killer, moody slower title track with a nice little interlude “Forlorn Hope” sandwiched in between.

Aforementioned closer “A Cold Empty Throne” ends the album with some somber riffage and solo and surprisingly well done clean vocals resulting in a perfect album end note. I actually would have liked to hear more of the clean vocal, and I don’t say that very often. Solid stuff.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
December 21st, 2018

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