By Dr. Abner Mality

Massive…overwhelming…engulfing…those are just a few of the adjectives that come to mind when trying to describe The Ruins of Beverast. I’ve been a devotee of this awesome but intimidating band for years now and they seem to be on a quest to be more epic with each new release. “Exuvia” is the most densely layered TROB effort yet and that’s really saying something.

Alexander Meilenwald, the architect of the band, has really outdone himself this time. “Exuvia” has six lengthy tracks and each one is packed with layer upon layer of sound. Immense tribal drumming…thunderous doom riffs…droning synth tones…clean guitar parts…an interlocking web of samples of all kinds…vocals ranging from guttural to harsh to something out of a church choir….those elements all combine here. The last TROB album “Blood Vaults: The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer” was very much doom metal oriented. “Exuvia” is more ethereal in spots and also brings back some of the harsh black metal of the band’s early days. The title track is 15 minutes plus of overwhelming sonic density that reaches an almost unendurable crescendo. There is something very shamanic about this tune in particular, but that aspect can be found throughout.

“Surtur Barbaar Maritime” has a very Viking-like feel while “Maere” (On A Stillbirth’s Tomb) is the most majestic and grandiose song. It comes close to approaching the power of Beverast’s greatest song, “The Clockhand’s Groaning Circles” from “Unlock the Shrine”. I don’t think that particular track will ever be surpassed but this is not far off. “The Pythia’s Pale Wolves” has a Middle Eastern sheen and features a lot of melody while “Towards Malakia” seems kind of ancient Greek to me. The album ends with the haunting and relatively brief (by Beverast standards) “Takitum Tootem Trance”, which indeed seems to be trance inducing.

I could write a book about what Meilenwald has created here. It will really put you to the test, but the effort is worth the investment. The Ruins of Beverast remain the masters of epic metal and they are in a world all their own.