The Ruins of Beverast - Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite
Van Records
Black Metal
10 songs (1:19:52)
Release year: 2009
The Ruins of Beverast, Van Records
Reviewed by Charles
The Ruins of Beverast may currently be one of black metal’s most interesting projects. This, the wonderfully named Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite is one-man-band von Meilenwald’s third production, and whilst it sounds virtually nothing like its predecessors it continues their established theme of creative, individualistic, and challenging music. 2006’s Rain Upon the Impure was an arcane, spectral enigma; it’s clever and emotive ideas were just discernable behind a deathly, faded, sub-Xasthur production job. But this sounds completely different, and the radical difference in cover art between the two records gives you an idea of how. The sound is now big and powerful; whilst before riffs and melodies were only distinguishable shimmering beneath the surface of rusty water, here they are painted vivdly- blood red- across a blackened canvas.

In fact, that cover is almost cartoonish. It looks like a painting of the cabin from The Evil Dead- make that the second film, and you may have found its cinematic equivalent. Within a bar of I Raised this Stone as a Ghastly Memorial clattering in, with its mid tempo brooding chug, clean, almost falsetto choral voices begin injecting a rich and extravagant tunefulness. The song tries to cram everything in, and pulls it off with charm: there are big, plaintive guitar melodies that you’d perhaps expect to hear more from a melancholic sludge band like The Atlas Moth than a one-man black metal project. In its quieter sections there is more than a little nod to Filosofem, with the synth-y “poing” sound effects intensely evoking Dunkelheit. The effect, overall, is a cinematic epic, packed with grandeur, and manic showmanship, in a way you’d never have expected from the band.

So more accessible, definitely. This is about emotions and spectacle rather than depressive black metal introspection. Many elements remain unchanged, though. It makes heavy use of spoken or sampled sections, giving it a strong sense of narrative. There are plenty of lengthy tracks here- Mount Sinai Moloch echoes the obtuse and oppressive compositions of the last record, but the tone is different. It can’t be as unremittingly negative as its predecessor, but this is not to say that the curious melodies that snake sinuously around it don’t have their charm.

Of course, it can still harness that horror. Kain’s Countenance Fell is as bleak a procession as you could wish for. It’s slow, scuzzy riffs are harrowing and compelling, and it flicks between a despondent doom-metal trudge and and blurry, ethereal blasting. Odd, spacey sound effects give it a hallucinogenic quality that is definitely in keeping with the spirit of previous works. But here come those choral melodies again, reminding us of this record’s unique selling points.

This is a unique black metal album; surprisingly quirky but also packing a hell of a frosty punch. It has a definite will to be avant-garde, which is welcome, but it doesn’t do it by the usual route of incorporating prog or jazz influences, but instead by playing with bizarre tones and the juxtaposition of oppressive ambiance and vivid melody. Excellent!

Killing Songs :
I Raised this Stone as a Ghastly Memorial, Kain's Countenance Fell
Charles quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by The Ruins of Beverast that we have reviewed:
The Ruins of Beverast - Exuvia reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
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 - 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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