Green Druid - At The Maw Of Ruin review


22 users:
Band: Green Druid
Album: At The Maw Of Ruin
Release date: December 2020

01. The Forest Dark
02. End Of Men
03. Haunted Memories
04. A Throne Abandoned
05. Desert Of Fury / Ocean Of Despair
06. Threads

I can usually expect to discover at least one great stoner metal band each year; I had to wait longer than usual in 2020, but finally Green Druid have filled this year's quota.

The likes of Spaceslug in 2017, Sunnata in 2018 and Bees Made Honey In The Vein Tree have been great discoveries in a genre that I became increasingly interested in during the latter half of last decade. All three of those bands were discovered via the Stoned Meadow Of Doom YouTube channel; however, even before the revelations surrounding the person running that channel tanked its popularity, I had found myself getting fatigue from the 9 near-identical bands I heard for every gem that I discovered, and checked out new uploads less and less. As such, I've relied more on recommendations on here and other non-specialized metal sites for new albums in the genre this year, and none of them particularly clicked. However, the band name and artwork for At The Maw Of Ruin caught my eye when I was recently browsing upcoming releases, and when the record dropped last Friday, my curiosity was repaid with a killer stoner doom record.

Stoner doom is the sound here, and it's nothing particularly original; there's plenty of slow, trudging quagmires of riffs to wade through across At The Maw Of Ruin. There's more swagger to the riffs than on, for example, a Sleep or Electric Wizard record; the album is notably influenced by sludge, which is reflected in the harsh roared vocal style that's used consistently throughout the album as contrast to the more traditionally hazy stoner metal-style clean vocals. It's also a bit of a draining listen, clocking in at comfortably over a hour; however, it's draining in a good way, as each new aural bludgeoning from the heavier riffs is a new delight. These riffs don't always have a groove to them; "Desert Of Fury/Ocean Of Despair" opens with a swing to it, but it descends into properly trudging, bruising territory later on. Either approach does the job well, and the variety between the two avoids either approach growing stale.

Beyond the consistent walls of sounds that are erected throughout At The Maw Of Ruin, there are detours to softer territory. Sometimes, the songs progress from one to the other; "A Throne Abandoned" and "Threads" both start off lighter, with clean vocals and more muted riffs, before intensifying as the songs head towards their conclusions. The best songs find a balance between both; my favourite track here, the brilliant "Haunted Memories", has a Dvne-esque tone to some of the lighter atmospheres here, and it fluctuates between the lighter and dark, slower portions effortlessly. Sometimes, they even combine the extremity and the levity; there's a section towards the end that takes the chords that feature in the softer moments but play them as tremolo whilst accompanied with blast beats: arguably the most intense portion of the album, but one that has a more uplifting tone to it.

The opening song, "The Forest Dark", is also a good example of how expanding their range works in Green Druid's favour. The first half of the song is reliably dense and grim, but the closing few moments see things mellow out and layer up in an almost post-metal manner; as the lead guitar melodies and vocal harmonies eventually give way for another harsher riff, it gives an extra potency to those cymbal crashes and bilious rasps.

Stoner doom really benefits from a good production, and there's a nastiness and weight to the low-end parts of the songs that really enables them to land their punches effectively, whilst the cleaner sections are given the clarity they require to shine. It's not a particularly innovative release, but Green Druid pull off a really solid rendition of the stoner doom sound on At The Maw Of Ruin; if you've been feeling a tad underwhelmed by stoner metal releases so far this year, make sure not to miss this one.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 5
Production: 9


Written on 08.12.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 4   Visited by: 74 users
08.12.2020 - 16:47
And to think they used to call me a reviewing machine

That cover art really doesn't look like a stoner one, but their band name does seem like it was generated by placing together whatever two stoner words weren't already taken. I'll give this a listen later today.
Jusqu'ici, tout va bien...

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08.12.2020 - 17:06
Written by RaduP on 08.12.2020 at 16:47

And to think they used to call me a reviewing machine

That cover art really doesn't look like a stoner one, but their band name does seem like it was generated by placing together whatever two stoner words weren't already taken. I'll give this a listen later today.

I've been on holiday yesterday and today; not like there's much else to do in lockdown

It's definitely leaning towards sludge more than a lot of stoner doom, I reckon you'll dig it
09.12.2020 - 14:51
The exaggerated swagger of a Green Druid riff
09.12.2020 - 15:17
Written by musclassia on 08.12.2020 at 17:06

I reckon you'll dig it

I dig
Jusqu'ici, tout va bien...

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