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Black metal band Acolyte’s Ruin was formed in 1999, and were based in Farnborough in the United Kingdom. Initially, the band incorporated a lot of electronic elements in their music, but developed a rawer guitar-based sound.

The band released their first demo ‘The Findings’ in 2000 as a two piece featuring members HerodiaN and Ewchymlaen. The band’s second demo ‘When We Were Broken’ was released later the same year, with the addition of bassist Xanathan. The band released two more demos in 2001, with the assistance of Alloces on synthesizers. Four more demos were released between 2002 and 2006. Guitarist Andras joined the band in 2003.

The band has since split up.

Andras and Ewchymlaen have both been members of Reign Of Erebus. Andras (Andy Galloway) previously played in Ligature, and has also played with NWOBHM legends Blitzkrieg.

Vim Fuego, August 2015
Thanks to Vim Fuego for the addition

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The Findings
Black Metal 2000
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When We Were Broken
Black Metal 2000
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The Alchemea Session
Black Metal 2001
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In Blood and In Death
Black Metal 2001
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Satanic Death Camp
Black Metal 2002
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Message To A Dying World
Black Metal 2003
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Flesh in the Age of Reason
Black Metal 2004
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Promo 2006
Black Metal 2006

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Acolyte's Ruin Volume I & II
Black Metal 2003

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ACOLYTE'S RUIN Acolyte's Ruin Volume I & II

Boxset / Compilation · 2003 · Black Metal
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Vim Fuego
Despite what Creationists might tell you, evolution is a fascinating process. On this free self-released CD-R collection of six demo recordings, you can trace Acolyte’s Ruin’s evolution from a promising but amateurish black metal band to, well, a promising and professional sounding black metal band.

So let’s get this straight right from the get-go. Acolyte’s Ruin are not a potential Mayhem, Burzum or Darkthrone, but neither are they Dimmu Borgir or Cradle Of Filth wannabes. Acolyte’s Ruin embrace synths and studio technology, combined with razor sharp guitars and vocal variety. Fortunately, the band also avoids the idiotic black metal cult of underproduction as well.

The demos come from 2000 to 2003, and some of the tracks appear more than once, in more than one form. The band comments that ‘Volume I’ was part of the band’s “…technological self-education, hence the quality can vary- the beauty of youthful naivety hindered only by inexperience.” Honest, but a bit self-deprecating. These guys weren’t as bad as they thought they were. Nine minute epics can drag if not executed correctly, but in a brave move, Acolyte’s Ruin included two on first demo ‘The Findings’.

From the start, it’s obvious the band knew all the right black metal noises to make, but didn’t quite know how to put them together. “In The Labyrinth” is a fine example of Casio-core at it’s embarrassing worst. The synths are just too synthetic. Best track from that demo is “The Accolade”, which seems like a long ambient track, but just as you expect the song to drone off into atmospheric bliss, a raw blast blitzkrieg hits, complete with red-lined vocals.

Second demo “When We Were Broken”, also recorded in 2000, shows the band had learned from the first demo, and had developed their craft a little more. The song structures are more focused, and use a lot of militaristic rhythms and mid-paced tempos. “Acolyte’s Ruin Parts I&II” has more melody in it than many black metal bands achieve in an entire career. “Now In The Wake Of Winds And Storms” is a bit of a miss though, sounding like something from the Final Fantasy VII soundtrack.

“The Alchemea Session”, recorded in 2001, is three straightforward studio outtakes, with emphasis on metal, not atmosphere.

On ‘Volume II’, “we subsequently returned to manipulating ourselves”, meaning the band went back to self-producing their demos. “In Blood And In Death” is fairly standard Marduk-style black metal, keeping things simple and vicious as all fuck. There is a militaristic leaning in the sound, further echoing Marduk and Impaled Nazarene, minus the truly psychotic greatness. Rather than distracting, the electronica actually merges reasonably smoothly with the metal.

“Satanic Death Camp” contains some of the best riffs of the entire compilation. First track “Storms Of Steel” has a couple of riffs Sodom would be proud of, bristling with combative fury, and sets the standard for the rest of the demo. The instrumental “Death Camp 666” is the feature track of this demo, combining varied dynamics with crushing riffs and shredded leads.

Final demo “Message To A Dying World”, recorded in 2003, is light years from the band’s first hesitant recordings in terms of quality, production and confidence. This band has found its niche. The sound is a little thinner than the previous demo, but it is still heavy and sharp. Much of the earlier electronic flourishes have vanished, but without detriment to the music. Who needs bloody synthesisers when guitars do the job better anyway? The cover of Gorgoroth’s “Bergtrollets Hevn” is a nice addition.

As a whole package, it’s a little daunting trying to listen to everything here in one sitting, but listening to one demo at a time over a period of days makes things more palatable. These guys might not have been the greatest band ever but they did this for themselves.

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