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Review: The Ruins Of Beverast - Blood Vaults - The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer
The Ruins Of Beverast
Blood Vaults - The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer

Label: Van Records
Year released: 2013
Duration: 78:25
Tracks: 9
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: September 12, 2013
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Blood Vaults - The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer

Rated 3.87/5 (77.37%) (38 Votes)

This is the much-anticipated fourth full-length from Alex von Meilenwald as the enigmatic studio act The Ruins of Beverast. Each release from this band has been a masterwork building upon the previous one - the debut was an apotheosis of third-wave Black Metal, the follow-up was the dark and murky Rain Upon the Impure, experimenting with sounds and influences beyond the genre while still staying within it, and the last album was the iconoclastic Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite, which forged into a new sound that borrowed from Doom and Black in almost equal measures to produce a signature and individual style.

This is not nearly the kind of developmental leap made between previous albums, and is very much a refinement of the sound on Foulest..., with long songs, moody arrangements, and a slower overall approach. Meilenwald retains his knack for gripping, emotional melodies, but I have to say the album seems to drag a bit in places. There are some slower sequences that sound almost ambient and don't carry the tension that his past ambient interludes did. Some of the drumming here is really amazing (not surprising, as Alex is a percussionist foremost), and very cunningly integrated with the overall compositions. Opener "Daemon" is a really killer song in the vein of the last album, while both "Malefica" and "Ornaments on Malice" drag on far too slowly without enough interest to sustain them. Even a monolith like "Spires, the Wailing City" has a lot of slooooow parts padding out the awesome.

In case you were wondering, Heinrich Kramer was the asshole who wrote that screed of medieval misogyny known as the Malleus Maleficarum. The lyrics of this album are crammed with a lot of Latin that seems to be cribbed right from the work itself along with a lot of muddled stuff about torture and religion. I'm not really sure what Meilenwald was trying to say about Kramer aside from that he was all about torturing women. Past albums have had highly oblique lyrics that were evocative by their very murkiness, knowing what the album is about kind of spoils that.

So overall a good album, but a definite step down from the masterworks of the past. Meilenwald retains a mastery over sound and the uses of it to sustain mood, but it seems like that moodiness has begun to take over the music more than is maybe good for it. Blood Vaults has some very strong elements, but the consistent slowness and moodiness of the songs detracts from the impact and makes this an album that is a bit too experimental for its own good.

Other related information on the site
Review: Blood Vaults - The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Exuvia (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Rain Upon The Impure (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Thule Grimoires (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Review: The Thule Grimoires (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Unlock The Shrine (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with Meilenwald on June 18, 2007 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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