Lie in Ruins – Floating in Timeless Streams Review

By now, you’ve heard this story more than enough times. A band is around in the formative years of some metal scene or another, releases some demos or perhaps just rehearsal tapes, and promptly fades into obscurity…only to resurface again a decade or more later to be a part of that scene once more, but this time not as kids. While there is a case to be made that bands who do this are putting their fingers to the wind and seeing that the winds of trendiness blow favorably, I’m more inclined to think that, more often than not, the guys in these bands just missed playing music together and want to do so again before they can’t. Dissected, with whom we’re concerned today, do not strike me as trend chasers. Disbanding sometime in the mid-90s after releasing a rehearsal tape or two, they returned as Lie in Ruins and released two records, one in 2009 and one in 2014.

It was the 2014 release – Towards Divine Death – that put Lie in Ruins on my radar. While it was an oppressive, bleak, and well-performed record, it was way too long (seventy-one minutes) and did not whatsoever justify that length. Don’t take it from me though – the promo materials say Lie in Ruins has “trimmed some of the excess” on Floating in Timeless Streams, making their third full-length nearly a half-hour shorter than their sophomore. Stylistically, Lie in Ruins plays what someone who likes dumb music puns1 could call “Finncantation” – basically that weighty, doomed style of death metal made famous by Incantation played with the strange but characteristic melodicism of Lie in Ruin’s home country of Finland. While not as melodious as Amorphis was on The Karelian Isthmus, perhaps Abhorrence or early Convulse may serve as better barometers. There’s also an aftertaste of Swe-death melodicism that I can’t shake, but instead of referring to this or that band it just seems to reference the general ethos.

I was happy that “Earth Shall Mourn” opens this record up with quick snare count-in and was pleasantly reminded of Dead Congregation’s Promulgation of the Fall in terms of immediacy. Lie in Ruins is more outwardly melodious than Dead Congregation though, liberally peppering Floating in Timeless Streams with guitar-driven harmonies that are less focused on dissonance but still weighty, and are structured notably well – “Spectral Realms of Fornication” contains one of these. Another impressive, subtle device there was the lead section giving way to pure riffing for a few measures before the chorus – where the hook lies in the lead guitar – kicks in, as to not overload the listener on leads and make them blend together. “The Path” does a good job exploiting that creeping, crawling sound of Finnish death metal (Desecresy are the contemporary standard-bearers here), and it succeeds at creating a foreboding atmosphere that “cavern-core” bands would kill for, but never lets atmosphere get in the way of riffs.

While there’s plenty to like here, you probably won’t be reaching for Floating in Timeless Streams over modern Finn-death beasts like Corpsessed’s2 Abysmal Thresholds, KryptsUnending Degradation, or Desecresy’s The Doom Skeptron. Try as I may, it’s difficult to remember much of what Lie in Ruins did here beyond that it’s competent Finnish death metal. In one sense this is fortunate, as if you want a quality Finn-death record which doesn’t “challenge” you in stupid ways (overlength, ill-advised experimentation, unusual but poor compositional choices, etc.), but instead plays roughly what you’re looking for rather well. Individual moments stick out more than individual tracks (“The Path” excepted); the lack of more than one true standout track affixes a “ceiling” on what I can reasonably score this, but that doesn’t mean I’m not impressed with what Lie in Ruins achieved here. It’s not on the level of their labelmates and countrymen Lantern, whose Dimensions was both a great full-length listening experience and contained numerous standout tracks, nor is it the oppressive full-length riff-fueled miasma of their countrymen and labelmates in Krypts – it’s somewhere in the fine, fertile ground between.

Lie in Ruins sounds big and mean, with powerful guitars, beefy drums, and vocals that have the right amount of echo to make them work in context. The sound is immediate, violent, and upfront but not lacking in dynamics, suiting the music well. Little subtleties – normally interplay between bass and guitars – can also be heard, rewarding repeated listens. A substantial improvement over its predecessor, Floating in Timeless Streams is a clear success.

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Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Dark Descent Records
Website: facebook.com/lieinruins
Releases Worldwide: November 20th, 2020

Show 2 footnotes

  1. That person is me. See my byline.
  2.  Lie in Ruins shares members with them.
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