The Ruins of Beverast

Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite

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This doomy black metal album is the product of one man: German multi-instrumentalist Alexander von Meilenwald, who also plays in several other underground groups like Nagelfar, Truppensturm, Abusus, and Verdunkein. This is the third Ruins of Beverast full-length, and it's a long, agonizing slog. His vocals (often not unlike a very large dog barking in Hell, but sometimes he croons in a manner reminiscent of Type O Negative frontman Pete Steele) and the clanging, bass-heavy, muddily mixed riffs that support them both recall the early work of the U.K. psychedelic doom outfit Esoteric on albums like Epistemological Despondency and The Pernicious Enigma. This album's biggest problem is its overwhelming length and sameness. It's one eight- to 15-minute dirge/death march after the next, and getting through the entire album requires a degree of intestinal fortitude, because its pleasures are not obvious ones. These songs don't have hooks or even choruses, really; they just float along on a river of drums, gray guitar chords ringing out like bells in a tower on an endlessly rainy day. Even when things get fast, they don't feel like they've sped up. The heaviness is such that even the blastbeats seem plodding. This may be the longest 79 minutes in the history of music.

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