Thursday, March 23, 2017 06:12

Posts Tagged ‘The Ruins Of Beverast’

THE RUINS OF BEVERAST – TAKITUM TOOTEM! EP (Ván Records)

Monday, March 6th, 2017

The Ruins Of Beverast - Takitum Tootem!At shy of 21 minutes, ‘Takitum Tootem!’ lasts about as long as a good shit but it’s still a very nice release. It’s ultra-accessible (I can imagine my uncles who are all sixty-something farmers with big red cheeks dancing along to it at a wedding) and it’s certainly another worrying departure from TROB’s blackened roots – especially with the new full-length imminent – but by fuck it’s splendid.

The cover of ‘Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun’ is neither here nor there but better to have it on the flipside, rather than an etching or something, after splashing out the price of an album for an EP. I’d like to have got more bang for my buck and also to have been offered more than nine minutes of original material but this one still gets a big thumbs up (even if it’s clearly not Black Metal).

Evilometer: 666/666

ORATION MMXVII – HÚRRA, REYKJAVÍK, ICELAND (February 16-18, 2017)

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Rebirth Of Nefast - Oration MMXVIIEighteen bands took to the stage at Húrra in Reykjavík over the course of three dark nights in February, 2017 and my journey to the most-northerly capital in the world was one that I will never forget. It’s difficult to know where to begin with a review of such a momentous event so I’ll start in the middle, just to be awkward…

Night Two: Friday presented me with the welcome opportunity to witness both Slidhr and Sinmara for the third time inside a lucky six-month period. Slidhr were the fourth band of the night and they delivered an incredible set, one that is so tight, concise and honed at this juncture that it beggars belief.

Mastermind Joseph Deegan utilises the services of Sinmara duo Bjarni Einarsson and Garðar S. Jónsson in the live setting as well as ex-Sinmara bassist Wann (aka Stephen Lockhart of Rebirth of Nefast, Studio Emissary and, of course Oration). Watching the quartet go through their paces on stage, it’s mad to think they don’t live in the same town and practice together every day.

Joe and Stephen are also members of Haud Mundus, who were the third band on stage tonight. I think this was their first and only gig and it was a belter. Rookies Nexion opened the second day’s festivities and they can be proud of their performance. Abominor took to the stage third and they were excellent; looking forward to a full-length from them. Sinmara did what Sinmara invariably does – an immense display of harsh black savagery.

The headline act on Day Two was The Ruins of Beverast – one of my all-time favourites. It was a real privilege to witness Alexander Von Meilenwald in such an intimate setting, although I’m not sure how well the complex and majestic music of TROB lends itself to the live environment. For it to fully work, I guess you’d need five Alexes on stage. It was still pretty damn great, though.

Friday’s Band Of The Night: Slidhr

Night One: After parting with a week’s wages in return for a small meal, I sauntered into the womb of Húrra in downtown Reykjavík on the Thursday evening not knowing what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the venue was essentially a large bar with a slightly-elevated stage, which of course meant that the bands would be very close as they played.

The young guys of Draugsól had the daunting task of opening proceedings and they did well, delivering a short, solid set. Mannveira upped the ante and Naðra pushed things up a notch further, knocking out a painfully heavy show. ZHRINE looked a bit stupid because they weren’t wearing corpse paint (instead opting for the nerd look) but they duly cantered through a powerful and inventive Death Metal set.

Misþyrming were quite simply sensational. Considering that it was more or less the same crew that had played just two hours earlier with Naðra, the energy they brought to the stage was frightening and it was no surprise when the first mosh pit of the weekend broke out. Spitting out their tunes with uncanny precision and ridiculous ease, D.G. and co were arguably the band of the weekend.

Mgla were headliners. It had been a long, long day and for a while their presence just passed me by. Then, without warning, I was back in the land of the living and utterly thrilled to be in Iceland to take in the hooded Poles in all their glory at such close quarters. They really got the crowd going and it was an amazing experience.

Thursday’s Band Of The Night: Misþyrming

Night Three: Refreshed by steeping my balls in the Blue Lagoon for a couple of hours, I returned to the venue for the third and last time.  It really was a case of saving the best wine ‘til last as five of the six bands on Saturday night were staggeringly good. I’m not sure what pigeonhole we can fit NYIÞ into but their Black Mass routine at the start of the night was stunning. The audience was entranced and remained respectfully silent throughout as they put on a performance that was out of this world.

Almyrkvi is the brilliant Garðar S. Jónsson’s one-man band. He handled vocal duties live and true to form the show was superb. Rebirth of Nefast had only played live once before – at the inaugural Oration – and his debut full-length is imminent. Cloaked in robes, RoN looked great and sounded even better. A special word of mention has to go to creative force Stephen Lockhart, the man who not alone pulled all the moving parts together to make this festival happen but also the mind behind Rebirth of Nefast. He has assembled a terrific live band … all the songs sounded great, as did his vocals. After seeing this show, ‘Tabernaculum’ is my most-anticipated release at the moment.

Unbelievably, there were still three more bands to go…

Aosoth surprised me. Not sure why I expected them to suck but they were quite brilliant. Outre seemed great (insanely crushing) for a while … until the singing parts kicked in and fucked everything up.

Having cruelly missed out on seeing Svartidauði in Glasgow when they were pulled from Caledonian Darkness II at the eleventh hour, I couldn’t wait to see them churn out a headlining set in their home town. At close to midnight on the Saturday night, they took to the stage and duly laid the place to waste. I was tired and had been subjected to more great Black Metal over three days than anyone deserves, and my concentration wasn’t what it should have been, but still Svartidauði made me so, so happy.

Their musicianship is like nothing else I’ve ever seen and it was with a heavy heart that I watched the second—or-third-or-fourth-hardest-working man in Icelandic Black Metal, Þórir Garðarsson, vacate the stage for the last time. What an end to an incredible weekend!

Saturday’s Band Of The Night: Rebirth of Nefast

(Thanks to Woda i Pustka for the Rebirth of Nefast photo.)

THE RUINS OF BEVERAST – BLOOD VAULTS – THE BLAZING GOSPEL OF HEINRICH KRAMER 2LP (Ván Records)

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

The Ruins Of Beverast - Blood VaultsBlood Vaults – The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer’ isn’t so much a new album as a seismic event. I fear that I’m not a conscientious or wordy enough writer to do justice to Alexander von Meilenwald’s latest incredible opus –a sprawling, 78-minute concept album that beguiles and soothes from start to finish and is a worthy addition to one of the truly outstanding musical canons.

Like all great artists, The Ruins Of Beverast has managed to hone its own distinct sound without becoming tedious; a sound that is instantly recognisable and always thoroughly enjoyable. I’m not sure how he does it, what the magical formula is (sheer genius, perhaps?), but I never think ‘oh, the same shit again – I’ve heard it all before’. Instead, I revel in each new full-length offering from a man who deserves all the kudos and respect he gets.

I listen to all of The Ruins Of Beverast’s albums over and over again (not many bands I can say that about!) and I honestly cannot imagine how anybody could fail to appreciate this amazing art form. Thus, though it does seem to peter out a little towards the end, this is probably one of the safest purchases you are ever likely to make.

As ever, the song-writing is top notch, the lyrics fascinating, the execution of the songs uncannily perfect and the value for money – ‘Blood Vaults’ is twice as long as most albums! – beyond question. The records are housed in a fabulous gatefold jacket with two lovely inlays included. Okay, there’s arguably more doom than black on here – and that would normally bother me greatly – but in the case of The Ruins of Beverast, when the music is so exceptional, there should be no quibbling.

Like its three pristine predecessors, ‘Blood Vaults – The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer’ is utterly monumental in every way. As they say in the drumlins and watering holes of Monaghan: “he’s some man for one man”.

Evilometer: 666/666

THE RUINS OF BEVERAST – ENCHANTED BY GRAVEMOULD MLP (Ván Records)

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Enchanted By Gravemould’ assembles some odds and ends from assorted periods in TROB’s extraordinary career to form a mini-album that could be equally construed as either a stop-gap release of little true merit or an essential piece of work for completists, dedicated followers and the uninitiated alike. It all depends on your circumstances, your perspective, your degree of exposure to this ‘band’ and, of course, your level of cynicism…

So, is this a cash-grab from the label? Perhaps. You’d have to ask them. But there is merit in the argument that they are genuinely putting these tunes out there to allow listeners an opportunity to enjoy them together, preferably in the vinyl format (it’s also available on CD). Personally, I’m sitting somewhere in between: I rate The Ruins Of Beverast as probably the finest Black Metal artist in existence today, so this is already ten times better than most releases. At the same time, I’m not sure how mandatory it is.

The unbelievably brilliant ‘The Desert Lair’ – culled from the greatest split LP ever released – kicks things off and the bottom line is that if you don’t already possess a copy of ‘Gott In Uns’ on record then straight away you have to purchase ‘Enchanted By Gravemould’. Next up is ‘The Moselle Enigma’, taken from the infamous split with Urfaust, which unfortunately I don’t own. I don’t think the split was ever officially released. You had to ask the label for a copy; I didn’t. A decent song, but nothing overly-special.

Side A is completed by the eight-minute ‘Hours Of The Aequinox’, which originally appeared on the bonus 7” that accompanied the earliest vinyl edition of sophomore full-length ‘Rain Upon The Impure’. Again, I missed that. It’s a familiar-sounding song (could be called ‘The Desert Lair II’), sort of fizzing and raw and lo-fi, almost depressive but also grande. Worth having for sure, so once more here’s a tune that’s worthy of the price of admission.

The second side is more disappointing, comprising three covers of bands who must have influenced Alexander von Meilenwald in some way during his life, though thankfully this isn’t evident in the music he composes himself! ‘Enigma Of The Absolute’ is from Dead Can Dance (good for them); ‘To Have And To Hold’ was conceived by those masters of darkness Depeche Mode; and ‘Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium’ is of course a classic My Dying Bride epic from the 1992 EP of the same name.

The latter is a frighteningly faithfully rendition (all 16 minutes of it) and pays worthy homage to the masters of doom. I realise doom is an integral component of TROB’s unique sound but for me this side of the wax is sounding too much like Type O Negative for comfort. Not particularly what I enjoy but I knew this would be the case before purchase and still went ahead and parted with my cash.

All in all, ‘Enchanted By Gravemould’ is an interesting release that should bring great joy to many. It contains one side that’s close to perfect and one that’s far from perfect. I’m loathe to say anything negative about this incredible artist so I’ll conclude by recommending this to a degree but not nearly as wholeheartedly as I would endorse ‘Unlock The Shrine’, ‘Rain Upon The Impure’, and ‘Foulest Semen Of A Sheltered Elite’ – which together constitute an unmissable triptych of true Black Metal majesty.

Evilometer: 444/666