Saturday, January 26, 2013
Ruins - Place Of No Pity 
As much as rustic, olden atmospheric black metal seems to be treated as an antique delicacy today, with the upsurge of bands such as Moon, Crowned, Erebus Enthroned, etc, they are more modernized pundits of aural evil that tend to drive these archaic influences into a more airy monument, where they enhance their atmospheric aspects with booming amplification, a fairly polished production quality, and additional elements from Celtic Frost and the like, as if the giants' impact on the metal world did not suffice. Ruins is an Aussie group born from the desire to play such oblique music; black metal that constantly fluctuates between influences of old and new. Only, Ruins have plenty of history behind them, with a belt laden with three album which were sporadically released through the 2000's, and you'll be even more surprised to hear that drummer Dave Haley has been ripping snares with the almighty Pestilence since 2012, and with the tech-death entrepreneurs Psycroptic since the dawn of their time, not to mention guitarist/vocalist/bassist Alex Pope's previous work with a number of Australian hostilities.
That said, ''Place Of No Pity'' certainly has an abundant professionalism that boasts its overall quality. I like to think of the whole affair as a mechanized brand of atmospheric black metal, with the chords and breakdowns taken into far tauter swerves rather than the rustic miasma you'd expect to spawn from the album. However, despite the general spaciousness of the record, the duo manages to cover up chock loads of variation, jumping from expunging black/thrash belligerence to straight-up verse riffs to grim drudges that sink down and start to slowly stir the listener up in momentous discordance. Yes, Ruins doesn't sink as low enough to uncover a cthtonic, dystopian underworld, but they'll use weapons of sublime dissonance often enough to perturb the listener; a wealthy section of downtrodden, neglected and distorted arpeggios which often remind of Deathspell Omega when the Frenchman were completely giving into disharmonious mourn. The Australians are brazen and adventurous here, no doubt, and while much of the material doesn't particularly stick to ear, you can't deny that the they pace themselves excellently, and there's simply prehensile music to be captivated by aplenty.
Tunes like ''Let Them Parish'' somewhat enlighten the band's punk-like manifestations, especially when Pope's Tom G. Warrior timbre reaches its climax in belligerence, but overall, ''Place Of No Pity'' is a tight focus on mid 90's black metal from various Scandinavian acts, principally Satyricon and Gorgoroth at more modern heights, and I even felt the presence of Belgium Emptiness - even though it's not such a huge influence to cite - partly due to the usage of dissonance in aggressive sequences. I'll need to dive into the band's backlog in order to make some comparisons, but on its own, ''Place Of No Pity'' is an entertaining blast, not wholly original a piece perhaps, but robust dissemination of the aforementioned influences, making it one of the better albums to come out of Australia. There's little redundancy, long minutes of bristling semi-modern black metal - what else could you ask for?
Inhabit The Twilight
Place Of No Pity