Black Metal Trance part IV: The Ruins of Beverast

When listening to introvert and contemplative music I can’t really escape the thought that it feels odd when it’s made by a band rather than a single person. Weakling (see below) sort of get away with it since they have more of a desolate, post-war and somehow “open” sound, but Burzum clones that are multi-member bands will just never feel legit. With The Ruins Of Beverast we’re on the safe side though, since it’s just one guy playing guitars, bass, drums, synths, samplers and singing. I think he even mixed and mastered the whole thing himself, actually.

And speaking of mastering, again this epic/longform type of black metal seems to gravitate towards unorthodox sound ideals. The album pictured above, his second one called “Rain Upon the Impure” (link goes to the fantastic ultra-limited vinyl edition, check it out) is mixed and mastered lower in volume than any other metal record I’ve heard. I’m not sure how much of that is caused by studio ineptitude/fuckup and how much is intentional, but either way it works surprisingly well. Since pretty much the entire album has gone through a cavernous reverb and there is an enormous headroom in the mix, it is unusually lush for black metal. The high frequencies are gently rolled off too, so you can play this album very very loud. I could wish for a bit more hi-fi, but maybe I’m being picky.

Musically “Rain Upon the Impure” is sort of a less mathy and more mysterious Weakling. Even though Alexander (the man behind this) is a drummer, the beats are almost sloppy and often raw and simple, as well as hidden pretty deep down in the mix. But it all feels intentional and this album is a real masterpiece. Google for some reviews and you’ll find plenty of people who agree – those that don’t seem to complain that it isn’t loud enough (well crank it up then, stupid) or they just don’t appreciate this style of black metal.

There’s good use of samples throughout this album, both spoken phrases (I really must find out where the womans voice is from!) and more far-out stuff like opera vocals. This is opressive, bleak and subterranean, yet vast, bombastic and with an ominous momentum.

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