Ruinous - Graves of Ceaseless DeathOne of the more challenging obstacles as a dedicated metalhead in these fast-moving modern times is trying to keep up with the ridiculous amount of bands dropping releases all over the place at regular intervals. With the relative ease in which bands are able to record and self-release, on top of the multitude of established artists and independent labels on the scene, I’m pretty much constantly playing catch up and trying to absorb as much quality metal as I can get my grubby hands on. All the while trying in vain to siphon out the bullshit that inevitably pops up in the endless flood of artists emerging. Band reference points are a handy indicator in these overwhelming circumstances, so when the debut album from Ruinous filtered through the promo portal and I discovered the experienced trio shared a past and current membership with Incantation, Goreaphobia, Disma, Funebrarum and Kalopsia I was naturally excited by what these gents were capable of concocting.

Boasting an old school death metal sound flecked with a few modern embellishments, Ruinous deliver no-frills, gimmick-free blasts of gnarled deathly goodness, light on innovation but heavy on grisly charm and flesh ripping hooks. Beyond the expected pungent stench of death wafting through the band’s sound, Ruinous apply plenty of pleasing variables, such as the menacing atmosphere and funereal slow burn of mid-album monster “Procession of Ceaseless Sorrows” or the blasting, thrash-driven death assault of the delightfully deranged “Ravenous Eternal.” Mixing shit up beyond the obvious and incorporating elements of doom, thrash and even a touch of grind helps separate Ruinous from falling into the indistinguishable and badly polluted gene pool of the old school death scene. The grind and thrash infected “Dragmarks” and frantic blasting and streetwise death grooves of ‘Plague Maiden” offer strong examples of old school worship coupled with modern inflections and a killer blending of styles.

Experience counts for a lot in metal and it shows throughout the tightly constructed, rollicking hellride that Ruinous embark on throughout Graves of Ceaseless Death. Loads of riff-driven beefiness are present on nearly every track, while the pure unbridled energy and a strong contingent of headbangable groove sections make for an extremely fun, addictive listen, forming a criss-cross of internal influences, while tipping their caps to Autopsy and old school Swedish death. Generally, the formula works a treat, both catchy and ripping, though never quite achieving outright greatness in the songwriting department. Tacking one or two exceptionally long songs on an album has become a familiar trait on a number of death metal albums I’ve heard recently and Ruinous continue this hit or miss trend with the bloated immensity of  “Through Stygian Catacombs” marching on for 11 and a half minutes. Featuring thick rancid melodies, hefty groove and an appealing mix of death and doom, the song doesn’t drag as much as I was expecting and is mostly successful in its ambition. Ironically, it’s the little editing snips that could have made a difference. By no means excessive in length (45 minutes), Graves of Ceaseless Death still feels a bit long in the tooth and some astute shavings to cut the length slightly would’ve sharpened the finished product.

Ruinous 2016

Recently departed Disma drummer Shawn Eldridge sounds as if he’s exorcising demons after his apparently unceremonious exit from the band, impressing with a powerhouse performance behind the kit, full of finesse, nifty rhythmic variations and pile-driving blasts and grooves. Matt Medeiros also produces a praiseworthy display, both with axe and mic. However, it’s his brutal dual vocal combo, switching between deep bellowing growls and shrieky, grind influenced screams, that sets him apart and lends a very effective vocal dynamic on songs like jacked-up closer “Torn Forever from the Light.” Aside from a typically crushed mastering job, the production actually packs plenty of punch, with each instrument easily discernible and providing ample bottom end grunt.

Emerging from the splintered line-up of Funebrarum, Graves of Ceaseless Death finds the members of Ruinous hitting the ground running with an accomplished debut that sounds both refreshing and familiar in the context of old school death. It may sound a little too safe considering the pedigree of the musicians involved, but overall it’s a well executed and enjoyable platter that’s well worth a listen.


Rating: Very Good!
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Dark Descent Records
Websites: ruinous.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/Ruinous
Releases Worldwide: November 11th, 2016

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  • Zach Ward

    Album cover reminds me of those hooded fuckers in the Lord of the Rings, only a lot more Death Metal.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Hooded Fuckers would make a great band name. Or at least a cool nickname for Portal.

      • Gaëtan Baratin

        Makes me think of Rayman 3 for some reason.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Maybe because it’s subtitled “Hoodlum Havoc”.

      • sir_c

        Aren’t those just gentlemen practicing safe sex?

  • Alex Calcan

    Hey AMG staff, would you consider reviewing a ’99 prog death album from Romania, that’s only available right now on Youtube? It’s an album I’m quite fond of and I’d love to see your opinion on it…

    • Kronos

      No but we’d consider listening to it.

      • Alex Calcan

        Well, that’s something, I guess. The album is called “Cealalta parte” (The Other Side) and is from a band called Taine.

        • Luke_22

          Cool, I’ll check it out. Always keen to discover some obscure gems.

        • Dan

          It was a great album for the Romanian metal scene back in the day, but it sounds more or less like Death.
          I would recommend Psycho Symphony – Silent Fall from that era. Back in ’97 nobody sounded like that in Romania

          • Alex Calcan

            I wasn’t alive when Cealalta parte came out, but since I first heard it I couldn’t let it out of my hand… never heard of Psycho Symphony, I will check them out

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Saunders, I like that phrase you coined: thick rancid melodies.

  • Thatguy

    I don’t like much today, but I like this.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Agreed. I bought this immediately.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Bass work is outstanding. Who handles the bass duties?

    • Luke_22

      None of the 3 members are listed on bass, so I assume one or both of the guitarists handled the duties.

  • herrschobel

    great tone ! .. .

  • Dead1

    Damn that’s a bass sound.
    Love the sleazy groovey vibe of this.

  • jersey devil

    From the review I thought I’d dig this a lot. The music is great but the voice kills it for me. Bummer.