Ruins - Front The Final Foes
Debemur Morti Productions
Black Metal
8 songs (44:43)
Release year: 2009
Ruins, Debemur Morti Productions
Reviewed by Goat

The third album from this Tasmanian duo follows closely in the steps of its impressive predecessor, 2008's Cauldron, with just a step taken towards the catchy groove of biggest influence Satyricon. Like the Norsemen Ruins is a duo, made up of Psycroptic/The Amenta's Dave Haley on drums and Alex Pope who takes care of vocals, guitars and bass, and the musical similarities between the two bands are very apparent - from second track The Sum Of Your Loss onwards especially Front The Final Foes takes a pounding path that doesn't sacrifice the dark atmosphere for groovy accessibility. The more you listen to Ruins, however, the more original they sound - Now, Diabolical haters can breathe a sigh of relief, as the bleakness of the speed-shifting Cult Rapture is certainly more Rebel Extravaganza than K.I.N.G. - there's a real, tangible psychedelia at play which should be more than enough for critics.

Those who enjoyed Cauldron will be disappointed with Front The Final Foes, however. There's a reduction in the prog, the interesting and out-there songwriting and drumming toned down in favour for more typical beats and blasts, although Haley is still an excellent sticksman and does his best to keep things diverse. It's interesting to note that although there are differences between songs, they are very subtle ones that contribute more to the overall mood than anything - the epic outro of With These Winged Words finishes off the album nicely, for example. Overall, however, the songwriting quality has definitely taken a beating. Pretty much every song on Cauldron was a twisted path to insanity - Front The Final Foes at times struggles to stay interesting. It doesn't help that they're three albums into their career - a shift in sound is sorely needed, otherwise accusations of repetitiousness will surely follow.

For the moment, however, Front The Final Foes is not a misstep for the duo. Opening track Breath Of Void is an atmospheric hammer that proclaims Ruins' superiority, drum rolls and epic riffs melding as one and setting up the following groove of The Sum Of Your Loss well. The track is an early highlight, speeding up towards the end to great effect, and although the subsequent likes of Annihilate don't drop the ball with their eerie samples it's clear that this is a more straightforward assault than the varied effort that was Cauldron. Front The Final Foes itself, at just under four minutes long the shortest track present, could very well have been dropped from the tracklisting without anyone noticing. Hallways Of The Always, conversely, may have a silly title but is excellent, atmospherically melodic with lashing of proggyness, and the following Keeping This Crown has groovy moments catchy enough to make it single-worthy. Ultimately, this is an album easy to enjoy but hard to love in the same way as its predecessor, and whilst fans will eat it up those new to the band are better advised to start earlier for the better Ruins material.

Killing Songs :
Breath Of Void, The Sum Of Your Loss, Hallways Of The Always, Keeping This Crown
Goat quoted 77 / 100
Other albums by Ruins that we have reviewed:
Ruins - Place of No Pity reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Ruins - Cauldron reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
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