Exuviae: shedding the skin. The leftover exoskeleton. Alexander von Meilenwald of The Ruins of Beverast has stripped the project bare, exposed it to new musical vistas, and transformed it into a frenetic shamanistic beast. But the exoskeleton is attached by a thread in Exuvia: faint traces of the stifling extremity of Rains Upon the Impure stain the canvas; the extreme grandeur of Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite weaves its splendour; and the doom-laden vastness of the haunting Blood Vaults is buried at its core. However, these are merely essences now that float and drift through Exuvia like ghosts. Though still inherently important to the music that Alexander von Meilenwald painstakingly creates, blinding new features emerge from the gloom to enhance the scope and power that The Ruins of Beverast possess in excess. Psychedelia, tribal rhythms, and electronic industrial: a trinity of peculiarity that merely extends the experimental canvas that The Ruins of Beverast work upon. How much is too much, though?

The drawling lurch of Blood Vaults has been replaced by a frenzied over-stimulation of sounds that constantly fluctuates and transforms. Exuvia is consistently unpredictable; its manic and unhinged diversity means that 67-minutes feels more like 42. For example, the three distinct stages make the 15-minute opener “Exuvia” fly by. In its ‘final’ stage – following thundering atmospheric black-metal and ominous ritualism – reprieve comes in the form a nuclear sunset: a melancholic doom vista emerges and, as if time itself has slowed down, clean vocals weep and echo as drums crawl, melodic soloing streaks above, and riffs lurch beneath. Similarly, “The Pythia’s Pale Wolves” opens conventionally doomy riff-wise, although bag-pipes, abrasive industrial screeching, and echoing Peter Steele-esque cleans merge wonderfully. As if “The Great Gig in the Sky” was swallowed up and spat out by a psychoabyssal space beast, the song warps into a female-led passage that stretches ritualistic rhythms before exploding into a closing stanza of vitriolic black-death.

Riff-wise Exuvia excels. Winding, snaking, and pulverizing riffs sear and tear through the atmospheric mulch of “Exuvia.” Continually, “Maere (On A Stillbirth’s Tomb)” is crammed with flavorsome variety. Above monstrous vocals and a huge bass tone, the rhythm guitar section surges and stings before descending into an ambient segment laced with off-kilter arpeggios and gruff growls. This in turn leads to crunching mid-paced doom that makes way for intense spurts of tremolo. Progressing further, melodic riff-patterns and solos – a common feature throughout – search through the mix and attach themselves to spectral clean-vocals and whirring electronic ambiance. “Towards Malakia,” – the most conventionally structured song on the album – possesses a more consistent crunch, although generally melodic riff patterns carry tinges of dissonance. Similarly, in “Sutur Barbaar Maritime” the guitars have a slight off-key, out-of-sync feel that enhances the song’s unsettling depth. Like Jute Gyte, TRoB experiment with key changes and odd tuning to satisfyingly discomforting effect. Rarely the guitars suffocate under the layer of sound, losing their bite,  but only rarely.

A sense of the shamanistic runs throughout the album. The incantation of primal spirits, hollow drum thumping war-dances, and ethereal rituals submerge the album in a toxic swell of over-stimulating terror. Exuvia is more experimental than anything TRoB have done before. Silences and interludes are filled with typical TRoB elements – ethereal choral reverberations, keyboard ominousness, and general ambient dread – although surreal and indecipherable electronics murmur and bubble beneath the surface. Rich layers of sounds, carefully processed and sublimated, are a core feature of Exuvia, used as central elements to songs rather than decorative flourishes. Strange screeches accompany much of “Exuvia”; abrasive power-electronics add a peculiar element to the end of “Maere”; and warped noise elements, alongside the lonesome howling of wolves, infiltrates the ending of “The Pythia’s Pale Wolves.” Closer “Takitum Tootem” (Trance)” loops tribal mantras, Burzum-esque electronic touches, modulated, space-age cleans, rabid black-metal snarls, deep death-metal growls, and crowd chants. It’s a subdued but mesmeric closer signifying the fading away of the corporeal into the ether. These experimental touches, connected by this shamanistic conceptual framework, add an immersive diversity that was missing from Blood Vaults.

The more I listen to Exuvia the more it works. Its content warrants its length; it needs the time and space to root its unique tendrils into the brain. This is exactly the album I wanted The Ruins of Beverast to release: diverse, experimental, and unsettling. An album that inhales, exhales and moves with fluency and togetherness. But most importantly its sound is anchored by rage-filled black-death-doom that hearkens back to the wonders of The Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite. 


Rating: 4.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Ván Records
Websites: theruinsofbeverast.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/the-ruins-Of-beverast
Releases Worldwide: May 5th, 2017

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  • Paul VH

    Giggity giggity!

  • foreverAlfon

    I consider Rain Upon The Impure one of the best black metal albums ever and I really really hope this album kicks ass. The embeded song sounds gorgeous.

    • Eli Valcik

      That one is good. My top 3 are Strom of the lights bane, hammerhead and 1184.

      • IBlackened

        Did you mean: 1984?

        • Eli Valcik

          No, windir’s 1184

          • IBlackened

            I know man. It’s just that you misspelled the other 2 albums, but I thought you did it on purpose and just forgot to also change 1184 and then I suggested a “correction” with a pun to Orwell’s novel. By the way, I love that album, but I think I still prefer Likferd.

          • Eli Valcik

            Ha! I actually couldn’t decide if you were joking or not. Yeah man likferd was another 5 on 5 for me, but nothing could beat those synths in journey to the end for me.

          • IBlackened

            I’m glad Mistur exists. It’s the band that comes closer to Windir’s music IMO.

          • Eli Valcik

            I hear ya, Mistur is my shit.

      • Thraeg

        What’s Hammerhead? Doesn’t ring a bell, and a cursory search didn’t turn up any likely candidates.

        • Eli Valcik

          I corrected it, I can’t type for shit

    • Zach Ward

      I’d prob say A diadem of 12 stars is My favorite bm album. Bout ta try these guys as I’ve never heard em before. Starting with Rain upon the Impure.

    • Reese Burns

      ‘Rain, Autumn Aurora, Deathcrush, Blaze in the Northern Sky, Autumn Eternal and Devoid of Light make up my most played black metal albums, not all of them are necessarily my favourites, but definitely my most listened to records.

  • ashcindersmoke

    This sounds tasty

  • Very interesting stuff.

  • ssorg

    Apologies for sending people to another site, but if you’re interested, Bardo methodology has a full-album stream and an interview

    • Akerblogger

      Saw that the other day. Really good in-depth review.

  • This is a lot like the last EP…

    • Akerblogger

      Takitum Tootum (wardance) from the EP is different to Takitum Tootum (trance) from the new album.

      • ugh I only have so much money

        • You wot m8?

          One could also say you only need so much food…

  • Eli Valcik

    You can’t drop a 4.5 on me while I’m at work. I’ll have to wait until I get home to listen to this!

    • Treble Yell

      Ditto.

    • drug_genosh

      i’m grateful for my desk job that requires headphones & staring at a computer for 9 hours!

  • Norfair Legend

    Love TRoB, such atmosphere. Great review!

  • rumour_control

    “It’s a subdued but mesmeric closer signifying the fading away of the corporeal into the ether.” — Excellent colour here.

  • Dethjesta

    Nice write up. I didn’t have this on my list of new releases for this weekend but I think that needs to change. I’ll definitely be listening to this tomorrow. Cheers.

  • Ta2dlam

    This line alone would cause me to set aside the proper time for this since I count that particular piece of music as an all-time favorite: “As if ““The Great Gig in the Sky”’ was swallowed up and spat out by a psychoabyssal space beast…”

    • basenjibrian

      That would be a great band name! Pychoabyssal Space Beast.
      They would have to play heavy stoner doom, though. Not this wild and crazy stuff!

  • CongregationofFoxes

    So much good black metal this year! Wish I could get into it and enjoy it :(

    • Reese Burns

      Try Uada’s Devoid of Light. It’s a 2016 release, but a damn good one. It’s also melodic black metal, so it’s a good way to get into the genre.

      • Dr. Wvrm

        /nods in approval

  • Sean Sky

    I had never heard of these guys until earlier this year and when I tried to listen to “Rain Upon the Impure” I just couldn’t get into it. I know people call it a masterpiece but… ehhhh? I think the production made it especially difficult in 2017.

    • ssorg

      There’s a vinyl rip floating around on YouTube that is a bit easier to listen to. Also, Foulest Semen has a much richer sound. Probably a better intro to the band

      • Sean Sky

        Doesn’t YouTube compress and normalize the hell out of audio? Weirdly there’s only 1 album on Spotify and it’s RUTI. Just found Foulest on bandcamp so I’ll give that a shot and then give this new one a shot once it releases.

        • ssorg

          No idea, but (perceived) fidelity is a many-sided die… tonal balance, distortion, compression artifacts, dynamics, etc etc etc. YMMV.

    • Get a good audio system and pair of headphones. Turn it up. close your eyes and imagine you’re walking along the Rhine in the middle of the night in the middle ages. Repeat this 10 times. Then you will love Rain.

      • Sean Sky

        I own ATH m50x’s and MEE Pinnacle P1’s. I forget how I listened to it, though.

        • well if you can handle the bandcamp stream it’s free for a few runs and certainly better than youtube. I’d say give it a few more tries.

          • Sean Sky

            I’m listening to it now. I’m enjoying it more than I did last time but I’ll have to sit with it a bit more before any conclusions. Either way I’m excited to check out the other stuff.

      • Westpaceagle

        This. Exactly. You will never be the same, I tell ya’!

  • Paul VH

    This has me thinking of Tombs – All Empires Fall. With the gothic/industrial /black metal touches. And the bald dude too.

  • Mike Wolfe

    I am currently listening to the new album right now. It is definitely like nothing that Von Meilenwald has ever written before. This album is a melting pot of influences for sure. The black, death, and doom are all there, but the addition of the ambient electronica really adds something ethereal to the mix.

    Von Meilenwald has stated numerous times that he is a fan of Dead Can Dance, and I cannot help but be reminded of Spleen and Ideal when listening to this album. The influence is subtle, but it’s definitely there.

    I’ve read about a half dozen reviews of this album, and I think it is important to ignore them all. Listen to this music for yourself, and draw your own conclusions. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a top Black Metal album, because the Black Metal milieu is too limiting for this work of art.

    The spirit and essence of Black Metal is definitely there though.

    • basenjibrian

      Fuarrrk. Spleen and Ideal is a major name drop for me. I was sad as DCD steadily became more ‘world beat” over their career and lost the epic doomyness of the first three albums.

      • Mike Wolfe

        I couldn’t agree more. DCD’s first 3 albums were great. Even Aion had some great moments. Black Sun is one of my favorite DCD songs, but as a whole, the first 3 albums were much better.

        I’d probably rate Spleen and Ideal as my favorite DCD album, but Within The Realm of a Dying Sun is very close behind. Both albums have an ethereal quality to them. The self titled album is also very good, but I felt that they were still transitioning into their own sound at that point.

    • Akerblogger

      That’s really interesting. Didn’t know he was such a fan of Dead Can Dance. Will certainly listen again with those in mind.

      I agree with your third paragraph. This album will likely cause quite a bit of debate and it’s worth just delving into it blind and letting it unravel before your very eyes (or ears in this case). For those looking to argue with my high score, my hypothetical response to you is: “No, I’m objectively right.”

      • Mike Wolfe

        Exactly.. I’ve seen quite a few reviewers give this album a lower rating that I would have expected. As with any work of art, the beauty of it is in the eye of the beholder. To be honest, I was expecting a mediocre album. Most of the reviews I read only gave it 3 of 5 stars. To me, an album rated at 60% is not worth listening to.

        This album far surpassed my expectations. I’ve waited almost 4 years for this release, and am not at all disappointed.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Well said. I’m loving what I’m hearing. Monumental and otherwordly.

  • herrschobel

    What a Review ! As good as the record it was inspired by. Excellent Release.

  • Paul Stella II

    I will always read this band’s name as “The Ruins of Beaver Ass” and now, you will, too.

    • You wot m8?

      Damn you!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      As a Canadian, I find that particularly beguiling.

      • Julien Robitaille

        As a fellow Canadian, I agree wholeheartedly !

    • Sean Sky

      Son of a…

    • sir_c

      the ruins of beverage… the aftermath of a good party

    • [not a Dr]

      the bandcamp url had me thinking it was “the urin …”

  • Westpaceagle

    Cannot. Fucking. Wait. How do we get our hands on the full length? Alexander von Meilenwald is a genius.

    Excellent review, BTW!

  • You wot m8?

    While I can appreciate what I’ve heard so far, I’m not hearing 4.5 material. Nevertheless, I will give it further listens as soon as the rest becomes available…

  • Francesco Bordoni

    New Ruins of Beverast?? 4.5??? I’ve haven’t even read or listen to anything and I’m already buying the shit out of it!

  • Julien Robitaille

    Discovered Ruins of Beverast through mindless clicking on YT, was utterly fascinated by “Foulest semen…” ‘s atmosphere. It’s one of my go-to albums for cold and dark winter nights, along with Opeth’s “MAYH”

    Listened to the embedded song, wasn’t dissapointed in the slightest. Wow…

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    I’ve been away for a month and I come back to this review… damn!
    I’ve only just discovered him via Blood Vaults which is currently my most played album this year. I literally can’t get enough of it, and I literally can’t wait to hear this!

    • Westpaceagle

      Carlos, Rain upon the Impure bro. With a good set of head phones, in a quiet room. Epic and mind altering!

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        It’s gonna happen!

  • Thatguy

    Hmm, excellent review. Is this a 4.5 for me? Not on the basis of the embedded track but the review has served its purpose. I will look into this.

    • El_Cuervo

      I’m feeling the same. Considering this eulogy I’ll reserve judgment until I can hear more.

      • Reese Burns

        I’d recommend giving the album a start-to-finish listen. I definitely feel as though it works much better as a whole than it does in individual pieces.

  • savafreak

    Can’t they be a little more depressing, nihilistic, bleak, hateful, misery-laden and negative?

    • Eli Valcik

      I mean, probably.

  • Levly

    I checked the embedded track due to the high praises of the review and nope, not my thing. At all.

  • Alexandros

    Listening to the embeded track I got some Batushka vibes from it while the shamanistic themes immediately made me think of Tomahawk (but that’s probably just me).

  • Chris

    Embedded track reminds me of a heavier Goatpsalm. Which is a good thing.

    I’m in.

  • Gage

    THIS gets a 4.5???

    I smell lowered standards

    • Julien Robitaille

      Or, you know, reviewers’ tastes and all…

  • sjforr

    Don’t get it I’m afraid. I appreciate what he’s trying to do – it sounds good on paper – but I find the execution more soporific than unsettling. This is a bit of a yawn to be honest. No idea how you get 4.5 out of this – I guess I’m just not hearing what you’re hearing.

  • Sophocles

    This is towards avant garde but I will respect the artist’s wish and just call it μαλακία

  • Norwegian viking

    Is it possible to get this album digital? Ca t find the new album on their bandcamp.

  • GardensTale

    6 minutes into the embedded track, this does nothing for me. Can’t win em all…

    • Jeffrey Dean

      I kept waiting for something good to happen, and then it ended. No idea what all the fuss is about.

    • AndreiM

      The track slays at 6:50 in. The way the riff alternates towards the end of the vocal section is killer.

  • Bas

    I dig this (love most of the stuff from Van records, great label).
    Have to listen more to it.

  • I’m adding the album to my spotify list if it’s in there, but the embedded track only strikes me as mildly interesting at best.
    Anyone can see that this sort of thing isn’t the most immediate style of music, so I’m giving it a more in depth listen later.

  • Reese Burns

    Ruins of Berevast have long been one of my favourite bands, and you just made me jump up and pump my fist in the air with this review.

  • Thomas Wilkens

    A little too abstract for my taste. There’s a certain atmospheric quality to the music for sure, but the vocals seem out of place. It lacks a certain continuity between instrumentation and vocals – just my humble opinion, of course.

  • TheCurlyMetalhead

    So many sounds at the same time yet it feels so easy to listen to. Definitely not easy to pull something like this off, digging the tribal aspect as well, gonna listen to this for sure, rarely do we see a 4.5 on AMG :D

  • Norwegian viking

    This album is just huge! I agree that it can sound a bit too abstract and hard to dig the first listen,but give the album time to grow and you may have one of the best and interesting metal album in recent memory imo.

  • IndignantN00b

    Pythia’s Pale Wolves earfucked my addled brained six ways from Sunday last night. Not really a “black metal” project anymore yet paradoxically this is “blacker” and less “doom” than the last two. I have no idea what he’s on about anymore but it all sounds tremendous. Here, here

  • Paul VH

    Man the opening few minutes of this album are terrifying.
    The creepy tribal chant and the Immolation style chords…..not to mention the full band fading into the mix.
    Eeeeeeeek!

    But cool.

  • Good review – I feel the same.

  • Apple Tree

    Holy FUCK, its so GOOD!!!!

  • ekuah

    Well, if there isn’t a way better record coming out this year, I already found my album of the year!

  • junkyhead

    Ruins can truly generate some powerful sounds. Horrific stuff, love it!

  • Bob Lunger

    This album is amazing. This guy made me buy his whole discography after this. A true musical genius.