The Ruins of Beverast - Exuvia
Van Records
Black Metal, Doom
6 songs (1:07:38)
Release year: 2017
The Ruins of Beverast, Van Records
Reviewed by Goat
Album of the month

The second Germanic black metal album that I’ve reviewed lately but by no means the inferior, Alexander von Meilenwald will need no introduction to regular readers. His Ruins of Beverast project has made some of the best post-millennial black metal there is, keeping the Germanic custom of remaining within the genre boundaries while pushing them ever outwards. Always interesting, always worth your time; The Ruins of Beverast are a vital name for anyone interested in the darkest, most atmospheric shadows of the already dark and atmospheric genre. I personally was looking forward to Exuvia with lowered expectations after finding previous album Blood Vaults patchy, and 2016 EP Takitum Tootem! took the band’s sound a little too far towards experimental realms… Yet I needn’t have worried as this is a return to the blackened doom sound of before, with a twist; a Native American shamanistic element to the already hypnotic music that makes for an intense yet sometimes strangely relaxing listen. It’s in some ways a refinement of Blood Vaults, but distilled and perfected, every component bettered. Keeping the heavy funeral doom influence, keeping the occasional clean-sung vocals, improving upon the invocation experimented momentarily there with A Failed Exorcism – this album is an advancement in every way. Each of the lengthy tracks present simply works in a way that’s both immediately rewarding and that retains its impact after many listens.

There’s not a great deal of difference between tracks, on the surface; sure, The Pythia’s Pale Wolves has bagpipes and Towards Malakia spends longer with the Native American chanting than elsewhere, for instance. The fifteen minute title track that opens the album throws everything from female vocals to Burzum-esque keyboard trills to funeral doom to ambience together, all working extremely smoothly and making for a gripping whole. It builds in intensity and doesn’t let up, the atmospheric impact as instantaneous as stepping through a portal into von Meilenwald’s world. And even the switch to clean vocals in the second half of the track doesn’t diminish the impact. Yet the album works far better as a whole, a near-religious ceremony divided into sections of music, equally atmospheric whether swirling psychedelically, trudging grimly through doom territory or exploding into black metal gallops. There are hints of multiple experimental pathways that could have lessened the album’s impact if explored, the gothic draping of Maere (on a Stillbirth’s Tomb) that is soon overrode but not forgotten by feedback-heavy Celtic Frost-esque blackened thrash gallops and reverberating doom just one example. This focus of von Meilenwald’s is as much as anything what makes Exuvia such a success, but the songwriting is also fantastic – the repeated throaty gasps that act as a motif in The Pythia’s Pale Wolves, for example, a brief grounding before the later psychedelic madness, ending in blasting black metal. And finale Takitum Tootem (Trance) brings it all together with more Burzumic trance and chanting, a perfect outro and a hint to re-explore the namesake EP that I was possibly a little harsh on prior. Consider all forgiven after Blood Vaults, anyway, and be sure to check this album out (at Bandcamp here) – it’s possibly the best The Ruins of Beverast release to date.

Killing Songs :
All, especially Exuvia, Maere (on a Stillbirth’s Tomb), The Pythia’s Pale Wolves
Goat quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by The Ruins of Beverast that we have reviewed:
The Ruins of Beverast - Takitum Tootem! (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
The Ruins of Beverast - Blood Vaults – The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
The Ruins of Beverast - Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite reviewed by Charles and quoted 85 / 100
The Ruins of Beverast - Rain Upon the Impure reviewed by Alex and quoted 78 / 100
The Ruins of Beverast - Unlock the Shrine reviewed by Alex and quoted 74 / 100
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