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Rating:
9.5
The Ruins Of Beverast - Blood Vaults (The Blazing Gospel Of Heinrich Kramer)
6 September 2013


01. Apologia
02. Daemon
03. Malefica
04. Ornaments On Malice
05. Spires, The Wailing City
06. A Failed Exorcism
07. Trial
08. Ordeal
09. Monument


For devout fans of black metal, Alexander Von Meilenwald truly needs no introduction. The former drummer of Nagelfar has achieved underground prestige not only with his previous band, but is now well on the way to building up quite the worthy legacy with his one man project The Ruins Of Beverast as well. 2013 sees Meilenwald putting out the monstrous Blood Vaults - The Blazing Gospel Of Heinrich Kramer, a nearly 80-minute odyssey of black metal and melancholic doom fusion, that takes his creative vision to heights it has arguably never seen before.

The Heinrich Kramer of the album title was a German Inquisitor in the Middle Ages who wrote a treatise on how to identify, interrogate, and torture witches, and Meilenwald sketches a well thought out portrait of his life with his new album. Like any good concept album then, Blood Vaults contains many twists and turns in its music that reflect those set by the narrative of the lyrics. On the one hand, there's a ton of dark, mesmerizing doom ("Malefica," "Spires, The Wailing City," "A Failed Exorcism"), making the album seem like a natural continuation of Foulest Semen Of A Sheltered Elite. The occasional organ breaks, like in the middle of "Malefica" or "Ornaments On Malice" help to accentuate this mood, and in many ways even give the album a bit of an (dare I say it?) epic doom vibe.

But don't let that fool you, because although they may not be as prevalent as the doom side of the album, Blood Vaults also contains a good deal of black metal elements as well, sure to please some more of the kvlt pvrists out there. Tracks such as "Ordeal," "Spires, The Wailing City," and "Daemon," especially, see Meilenwald getting into some faster and more aggressive emotion, at times even reminiscent of some moments from Unlock the Shrine. And at other points, Meilenwald also returns to some of his former Nagelfar drumming glory with clever and well-delivered percussive patterns (check out the middle of "Spires, The Wailing City"). The trick to the composition, however, really lies in the brilliant approach to the production. Despite the fact that some tracks have these harsher, more black metal-ish parts, the music still retains that crunchy, bass-heavy guitar tone to it, which makes Blood Vaults feel a lot more like a full-fledged blackened doom album than Foulest did.

And lastly, Blood Vaults also maintains Meilenwald's trademark hauntingly classical signature. The album follows upon that melancholic sound Alex often employs akin to dark, medieval church hymns, and is shrouded almost entirely in this haunting cloak throughout, perhaps more than ever before. The spoken Latin at the beginning of "Malefica," the outro to "Monument," the entire "Trial" track and more help to really bring out the whole Heinrich Kramer/church theme, and are the proverbial icing on the cake.

Ladies and gentlemen, Alex Von Meilenwald has done it yet again, proving once more his sheer genius as both a composer and a lyricist. Reviewers should always maintain a sense of objectivity in the music they cover, but we also need to recognize raw talent when it smacks us in the face, and Blood Vaults is, quite simply, a wrecking ball. Whether nominated for black metal or extreme doom, this album will definitely be getting my vote in this year's awards. Crank it loud, my friends

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Band profile: The Ruins Of Beverast
Album: Blood Vaults (The Blazing Gospel Of Heinrich Kramer)


 



Written on 30.08.2013 by
Apothecary
Your friend the witch doctor.
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Apothecary - 28.04.2014 at 20:00  
Written by Schnabeltier 24 on 28.04.2014 at 00:43

Seriously, this album is great.

To be fair, the 9.5 was really me kinda fanboying, and in retrospect I probably should've given it more around an 8/8.5. It's the weakest ROB album so far, actually. The songwriting drops towards the end, and Monument doesn't have the ending power that "The Mine" and "Arcane Pharmakon Messiah" previously did. Having said that, the drop in quality is still pretty minimal, and this still kicks the shit out of probably a good 90% of blackened doom being put out these days.
Vombatus - 28.04.2014 at 22:54  
The initial feeling was great, but I agree, in retrospective the album is nothing incredible. Certainly the weakest TRoB, and by times I was even bored (the second half, the songwritting...). It does contain some wicked track like Daemon, Malefica and Ordeal but that's about it ! The balance more doom than black also wasn't favorable me thinks.... Will be interesting to see the direction Mr.Von Meilenwald takes next.
Schnabeltier 24 - 28.04.2014 at 23:23  
Quote:
To be fair, the 9.5 was really me kinda fanboying, and in retrospect I probably should've given it more around an 8/8.5. It's the weakest ROB album so far, actually. The songwriting drops towards the end, and Monument doesn't have the ending power that "The Mine" and "Arcane Pharmakon Messiah" previously did. Having said that, the drop in quality is still pretty minimal, and this still kicks the shit out of probably a good 90% of blackened doom being put out these days.


Yeah, I see what you mean, I would not rate it a 9.5 neither, but something between 8.5 and 9 (which is still great). Only Nagelfar albums deserve 9.5 imo (yeah, I'im a total fanboy of this band
I have to check the rest of ROB's discography : apart from this one, I've only listened to their debut, which is as great as this one imo.
!J.O.O.E.! - 28.04.2014 at 23:31  
Written by Schnabeltier 24 on 28.04.2014 at 23:23


I have to check the rest of ROB's discography : apart from this one, I've only listened to their debut, which is as great as this one imo.

You definitely should. The one before this one is very similar to this only with a bit more black metal in, and better production (in my opinion) and Rain Upon The Impure is a pure black metal album (well it certainly has a doom-like aesthetic) that has a very lo-fi production but is incredibly dense and difficult to absorb in one go. It's excellent though something that needs more work than other records of his to fully appreciate.
Apothecary - 29.04.2014 at 02:34  
Written by Schnabeltier 24 on 28.04.2014 at 23:23

I have to check the rest of ROB's discography

Foulest Semen Of A Sheltered Elite, the one before Blood Vaults, is easily his best in my opinion. Perfect fusion of BM and doom, with neither overpowering the other, I really think only Blood Geometry can touch it. Have a taste
Apothecary - 29.04.2014 at 02:39  
Written by Vombatus on 28.04.2014 at 22:54

The initial feeling was great, but I agree, in retrospective the album is nothing incredible. Certainly the weakest TRoB, and by times I was even bored (the second half, the songwritting...). It does contain some wicked track like Daemon, Malefica and Ordeal but that's about it ! The balance more doom than black also wasn't favorable me thinks.... Will be interesting to see the direction Mr.Von Meilenwald takes next.

Agreed, Foulest struck a better balance, it was a good 50/50 between the doom and black, this one the doom is about a good 80% of the album. It's still not bad at all, just not as good as his other outputs. And I'd add Ornaments On Malice to those tracks you just named, love the opening riff to that one.
Schnabeltier 24 - 29.04.2014 at 23:00  
Quote:
Foulest Semen Of A Sheltered Elite, the one before Blood Vaults, is easily his best in my opinion. Perfect fusion of BM and doom, with neither overpowering the other, I really think only Blood Geometry can touch it. Have a taste


Hey, thanks, I listened to the extract, very powerful song. Now it's on the top of my albums-to-check list

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