Germany’s The Ruins of Beverast returns with their 5th studio album, a haunting display of blackened doom. Vastly large with great walls of instrumentation and howling vocal remedies, just like Blood Vaults, Exuvia takes it a step further with a mythological theme here. Chanting, tribal, mysterious and bleak: Exuvia gives off massive Native American vibes with it’s war chants and hymns. Moving from one enchanting lore to another yet not straying too far from it’s dark writings, this release is giving us everything it has within only 6 songs. Six. Massive. Songs.
Exuvia opens up with a gigantic 15:27 long title track, which is pretty ballsy to go with such a long song right from the beginning but it definitely sets the tone for what you will be hearing for the remainder of the album. Massive power chords, powerful growling vocals, wonderful sung/chanting vocals, odd musical workings and neck snapping moments really drives in what The Ruins of Beverast is trying to portray and they do a fine job doing it.
This musical direction bleeds onto the rest of the album and it’s rather soothing as it is terrifying. “Surtur Barbaar Maritime” brings in more of the blackened doom aspect of things here on Exuvia, while also touching base with it’s inner black metal demons with furious riffing and some blasting before returning to a chant/march rhythm. The rear of the song blends both chanting and blasts, making it a unique experience.
“Maere (On A Stillbirth’s Tomb)”, is a fucked up song. First off, a Maere is a goblin or evil spirit in old German/Slavic/Norse lore that would sit on the chest of someone sleeping and bring them nightmares. The fact that this little bastard is sitting on a tomb of a stillbirth is beyond shitty and the music reflects this nightmare well. A slow song that dives further and further into madness as it goes on. Evolving into a wretched beauty of a song.
“The Pythia’s Pale Wolves” dives into Ancient Greek mythology and also brings forth a new instrument into the mix: bagpipes. They are mixed well within the doom, keeping things subtle and evil. Then the music transitions into something even weirder as more chanting and singing begins. The music evolves with feminine vocals entering the fray before ending the song in a fierce black metal manner. Exquisite.
“Towards Malakia” brings us more great blistering atmosphere. Slow churning doom with great amounts of rhythms bringing forth a good headbang. It’s hard to tell what this song is about but Wikipedia pulls up this bit of info: “The ancient Greeks, for example, described whole societies as effeminate (malakia) if they were characterized by a slavish, deferential, or autocratic political culture. Here, it was the form of sexual relationships, but not the fact of homosexual relations (which were not uncommon among Greek citizens who were men) that was critical to the sexual dimension of the term. And among early modern partisans of the republican tradition, the term might be applied to those who were preoccupied with “womanly” concerns, such as the accouterments of appearance, which were often associated with trappings of nobility or aristocratic aspirations, such as ostentatious dress, decadence in consumption habits, and rigid adherence to the proprieties or manners of social hierarchy. The reach of this “civic” understanding may be best illustrated in the work of early feminist and republican thinkers such as Mary Wollstonecraft, who described as “effeminate” the behavior of women who refused to embrace a more active presence in public life.” So…yeah.
“Takitum Tootem! (Trance)” is actually a track that was featured on The Ruins of Beverast EP last year, which has this song on it and a Pink Floyd cover on it. I never got around to listening to that but it’s also the finale here on Exuvia. This song is basically a war dance with a ton of percussion, dark waves of sound and growls. The middle section of the music gets quiet, giving us a nice intermission of chanting and synth mixed in before pushing us back into the heavy music.
Exuvia is rather….brilliant. It’s impressive on many levels. From the research and themes to the vastness of the music. The writing is on another level here from a doom aspect and sprinkling some blackened moments in there as well really gave this album some darkness to it. It’s as dark as a funeral doom album without all of the depression. There is a beauty to this album. Production is amazing. The mix is perfect. The writing is stellar. The vocals are profound. Everything about this is just absolutely amazing. The Ruins of Beverast have done it again. This is a grand album to listen to and just a truly wonderful audio experience.
Note: I didn’t get a hold of the lyrics until well after listening to this album several times and writing this review. The lyrics are on another level and makes this album even better.
Release Date: May 5th, 2017
Label: Van Records
Favorite Songs: All of them.
For Fans of: Bolzer, Wardruna & Blut Aus Nord