THE RUINS OF BEVERAST
Black Metal • Germany

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The Ruins of Beverast is a German black metal project from Aachen, Germany created by ex-Nagelfar drummer Alexander von Meilenwald in 2003.

The musical style showcases a unique approach to creating complex, atmospheric black metal by combining traditional sounds with more unconventional elements. Lengthy compositions featuring an array of atmospheric and hypnotic components and the use of a variety of extreme vocals and choral singing define the style of this project.
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THE RUINS OF BEVERAST Discography

THE RUINS OF BEVERAST albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Unlock the Shrine - Reliquary of the White Abyss
Black Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 4.95 | 2 ratings
Rain Upon the Impure
Black Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite
Black Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 3.98 | 3 ratings
Blood Vaults - The Blazing Gospels of Heinrich Kramer
Black Metal 2013

THE RUINS OF BEVERAST EPs & splits

THE RUINS OF BEVERAST live albums

THE RUINS OF BEVERAST demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Furious Waves of Damnation
Black Metal 2003

THE RUINS OF BEVERAST boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Enchanted by Gravemould
Black Metal 2011

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THE RUINS OF BEVERAST Reviews

THE RUINS OF BEVERAST Blood Vaults - The Blazing Gospels of Heinrich Kramer

Album · 2013 · Black Metal
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Wilytank
This is the album I've been the most hyped about in 2013. After scouring The Ruins of Beverast's first three full-lengths and basically playing Rain Upon the Impure to death, I was ready for more. Finally Alexander von Meilenwald, one of the best black metal musicians in Germany, released Blood Vaults. There's always been album each year that's made me hyped up to the max, and in 2013 it was Blood Vaults.

That sums up my thoughts as I was about to listen to this album for the first time. I'm going to say now though that I'm disappointed in the outcome. Even on the first listen, I was underwhelmed. I wasn't expecting Alex to top Rain Upon the Impure, but I was hoping for something that sounded like a step up from Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite; I didn't even get that. In the months leading up to the release, "Malefica" and "Daemon" were released as teasers and I listened to them almost every day because both those songs are awesome. Unfortunately, they're the best songs on they album, a fact made worse by the fact that they're also right at the beginning of the album; there's still 60 minutes of music left that can't compare to these two tracks.

One of the things Alex got right...again...was the atmosphere though; I'm sure now he can't get it wrong no matter what. It's dark and brooding once again. If you've been following the band you're going to be used to that by now. This time however I listen to this album and think of some radical Ordo Malleus Inquisitor from Warhammer 40k, a daemon hunter scouring forbidden texts for a way to fight the otherworldly monsters. Given the lyrical content and overall theme of the album, I find this setting extremely appropriate. The keyboards and choral effects really bring out this feeling as they do sound really church-like especially with the pipe organ. Alex's harsh vocals also add to this atmosphere. Though his tone hasn't changed much from Foulest..., the delivery on this album makes him sound more narrative like he is indeed reading from the Inquisitor's journal or directly from the forbidden text.

The music as a whole is most clean sounding Ruins album yet, which is fine by me. All the better to hear that menacing guitar tone that I love hearing from the band. There are some really great riff passages here that benefit from the cleaner production, especially in "Daemon" and "Malefica". However, the production doesn't save some of the more lackluster moments of the the album where the fault is indeed songwriting. Following the first two songs, most of the material on the album is doom metal and it isn't interesting doom metal either for the most part, it's the kind that just turns into a drag to listen to. I know Alex has done doom metal on Ruins in the past and some of his best songs are in this style such as "Soliloquy of a Stigmatized Shepard", "I Raise this Stone as a Ghastly Memorial", and "Arcane Pharmakon Messiah". "Ornaments on Malice", "Spires", and "A Failed Exorcism" aren't bad but they aren't nearly as interesting as those past songs. I feel that some of these songs go on longer than they should, especially "Monument" which is easily the weakest link here which is a pity because it's the closing song and I get disappointed by weak closing tracks.

I can't even listen to this album from beginning to end anymore. I go up through "Malefica" and then stop. Sometimes I'll go into "Ornaments on Malice" as well but rarely further. I could listen to the other tracks if I just picked them out and just listened to just the track, but I really don't want to. What's the point? I feel that if Blood Vaults threw more fast moments into these songs, they'd be better. "A Failed Exorcism" does have a fast section, but the riff is so weak and it exists so briefly that it's not even worth it. As much as I hate to say so, I have to say that Blood Vaults is the weakest Ruins of Beverast album yet. I hope Alex continues to evolve as a musician though. He's come a long way and I can see him going even further.

It's been almost a year since its release now. If you're a fan of the band and haven't listened to this yet, don't go with high expectations. If you're totally new, I suggest you check out Alex's earlier material first.

(75/100)

THE RUINS OF BEVERAST Blood Vaults - The Blazing Gospels of Heinrich Kramer

Album · 2013 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Conor Fynes
'Blood Vaults - The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer' - The Ruins of Beverast (9/10)

Only in regards to a band of monumental calibre like The Ruins of Beverast could I call its latest album arguably the weakest of the four so far, and simultaneously laud it as one of the year’s strongest musical contenders. The Ruins of Beverast have long been black metal’s best kept secret, and since the gloriously psychotic “Unlock the Shrine”, the one-man act- a longtime creative outlet of former Nagelfar drummer Alexander von Von Meilenwald- he’s been releasing music that’s consistently blown me away for its ambitious scope and atmosphere. Of the three albums The Ruins of Beverast have already released, I have, upon different occasions, thought of each one as potentially being the greatest black metal album ever made. I’ll try to keep background introductions brief, but if you haven’t yet heard “Unlock the Shrine”, “Rain Upon the Impure”, or “Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite”, you have yet to hear some of the most impressive and atmospheric metal ever pressed to vinyl. Now completing a transition towards doom metal that began with the last album, “Blood Vaults” is another expectedly excellent achievement, an hour-plus of music that’s as haunting and crushing as anything I’ve heard in the metal sphere this year. Incredibly high expectations aside, The Ruins of Beverast have delivered another masterpiece of atmosphere and intensity, with enough stylistic innovation to distinguish it from past work. This is blackened doom metal of ferocious quality.

The sound of The Ruins of Beverast has evolved beautifully over the course of four albums. Although Von Meilenwald was performing something more along the lines of psychotic black metal in 2004 with “Unlock the Shrine”, each album has reinvented the project as something new. “Rain Upon the Impure” took the black metal to arrogant extremes of atmosphere and composition, verging on a degree of ambition rivalled by Western classical tradition. 2009’s “Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite” was another necessary reinvention; now that one summit had been topped, Von Meilenwald began infusing his brand of black metal with doom metal and psychedelia. To summarize, it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that The Ruins of Beverast have drifted this far away from black metal conventions; even if TROB retains the same malefic atmosphere in the music, the means to getting there have certainly changed.

The Ruins of Beverast’s familiar blend of choral sampling, chaotic production and cinematic vigour are made anew with a crushing heaviness and funereal pacing. Disregarding the fury and aggression inherent in the music’s execution, Von Meilenwald has taken a relatively reserved approach in writing the music this time around. Especially when compared to the sporadic rapture of “Rain Upon the Impure”, the pacing is kept fairly conservative, offering more vested concentration and fewer surprise turns. Although part of me misses the pleasantly mild shock of hearing something unpredictable, the songwriting enjoys a new maturity through its focus. A stunning example of this can be found in the pristine “Malefica”, a dirge-like piece that meticulously erupts with equal parts dread and melancholy. Latin choirs and pipe organ are used brilliantly as a sonic contrast with the thundering metal instrumentation. Orthodox instrumentation is a painfully common trope in black metal, but it’s rare that it ever functions so well as this.

In addition to “Malefica”, “Daemon”, “A Failed Exorcism”, and the unsettling interlude “Trial” all stand out as highlights of the album, and some of the most memorable pieces Von Meilenwald has ever composed. Unfortunately (and this is a first for my experience with a TROB album) I don’t find myself as consistently amazed by each of the tracks. I’m not immune to the fact that a doomier approach entails with it a slower pace and behests a different kind of listening attitude than that of Beverast albums past, but a few of the ideas on “Blood Vaults” feel less profound and engaging than I’d expect from the band. For instance, “Spires, The Wailing City” and “Monument” are both crafted with excellent ingredients, but feel somewhat overdrawn past their due; the ideas themselves are almost homogeneously superb, but even the strongest structures wither given time. While Von Meilenwald is no stranger to long compositions- “Rain Upon the Impure” had even longer average track times than this- the sometimes plodding pace of the compositions can make some of the musical ideas feel less awe-inspiring than they actually are. I felt that Von Meilenwald struck a sublime balance between black metal and doom with the last album, a middle ground between crushing heaviness and exciting dynamics. “Blood Vaults” only sees The Ruins of Beverast tread deeper into doom territory, and while the devastating atmosphere and progressive scope are still here in full, I don’t find myself quite as blown away by this stylistic shift as I have been with his past work. Then again, comparing a pristine mortal vintage to the ambrosia of the gods has never been a fair deal, has it?

Although “Blood Vaults” represents a markedly more reserved take on composition for Von Meilenwald, his execution sounds heavier than ever. I strain myself to think of another guitar tone that has sounded this heavy and crushing. Even though most one-man acts feel fittingly one-sided in their delivery, “Blood Vaults” feels remarkably well-rounded. The orthodox instrumentation is integrated to a haunting effect, and the drums- Von Meilenwald’s flagship instrument- are as intensely performed as ever. As it is made clear from the opening incantation “Apologia”, Von Meilenwald’s vocals take a hideous life of their own. Laden with echoes and a viciously malevolent tone, his growls are plenty evocative and fit the album’s sinister atmosphere and malefic interpretation of Christian theology. His clean vocals- when used- are deep and ominous, and mirror the Latin choirs nicely. Compared to past albums however, it feels like his vocal delivery offers a little less range however, focusing on the low, echoed growls and dismissing much of his higher shrieks. It’s an understandable transformation however; Von Meilenwald understands the implications of this stylistic shift, and The Ruins of Beverast reflects that.

As difficult as it is for me, I feel the only fair way to approach this album is to do one’s best to dissociate it from TROB albums past. Clearly, it’s much harder said than done, but to compare “Blood Vaults” against its predecessors would reveal this as the least vital of the four. With that in mind, I do not mean or hope to say that The Ruins of Beverast has broken its streak of relative perfection; this is a marvelous work, and I have no doubt that Von Meilenwald will continue to release masterful work in his own time. To put it simply, the album is devastating.

THE RUINS OF BEVERAST Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite

Album · 2009 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Wilytank
(Originally posted by me to Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives; http://www.metal-archives.com/)

Those of you continuing to follow The Ruins of Beverest's discography chronologically will run into Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite next; and if you were wowed by Rain Upon the Impure, there are some things you might be wondering. Will this sound at all similar to Rain Upon the Impure? What can Alex do to match the creative dark mastery of that album without making the damn album again? You'll be pleased to know that as one of Germany's best black metal composers, Alexander von Meilenwald has a lot of tricks up his sleeve and many ways to make two albums different yet both be incredible listens.

The production on this album is the cleanest sounding yet; and while the menacing tone of Rain Upon the Impure has been almost entirely removed here, an equally thick yet more mournful atmosphere takes its place and is just as awesome to be immersed in. It still feels like an external type of atmosphere like Rain Upon the Impure had, but now on Foulest... the image is that of wandering a vast expanse of ancient ruins along a mountain range (at night of course).

The guitars are just as heavy here as the previous album, but again they're closer to mournful sounding that totally evil. And again, they drive the music forward more than any other element. The riffs are for the most part well written and fun to listen to be they fast passages on "God's Ensanguined Bestiaries", tremoloing to slower tempo songs such as "Mount Sinai Moloch", or the echoing soft guitar work all over the album. The choirs also return and again provide a nice addition to the atmosphere. The more up front instances are more numerous in this album with most of it singing in Latin to add a nice eerie churchish effect. Their background presence also sounds nice throughout the album with my favorite example being a trance-like passage in "I Raised This Stone As a Ghastly Memorial" starting at the 6:15 mark.

Overall though, Foulest... is a noticeably weaker album than Rain Upon the Impure. Though there are plenty of strong tracks here, most don't quite have the power of Rain Upon the Impure's songs. Two songs in particular have some awkward moments in them that draw them down in quality. First is "Kain's Countenance Fell" and its lackluster doom riff that contains no atmospheric qualities whatsoever before it transitions a little too quickly into a faster chorus riff. The other is a really choppy riff in "Blood Vaults II" that starts after the laughing sample near the beginning of the song. It makes the song sound like it's skipping as if you had a bad CD player or mp3 rip of the album and could have ruined the song completely if it didn't transition away a couple of times and finally go away for good by the 4:35 mark, but thankfully it does go away allowing the song to end strong.

There aren't enough shortcomings to bring Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite as a whole though. Even the two weaker songs have their share of desolate atmosphere and awesome riffs; and the stronger songs are well worth listening to with my favorites being "I Raised this Stone as a Ghastly Memorial", "God's Ensanguined Bestiaries", and the epic closer "Arcane Farmakon Messiah". Alexander von Meilenwald hasn't run out of musical magic yet and has made another excellent album.

(92/100)

THE RUINS OF BEVERAST Rain Upon the Impure

Album · 2006 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Wilytank
(Originally posted by me to Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives; http://www.metal-archives.com/)

Alex von Meilenwald's solo project The Ruins of Beverast might have just faded from my memory had he only recorded and released Unlock the Shrine. While a decent album, it lacked a lot of elements that could of made it spectacular. That was 2004 though. In 2006, Alex returned with a new album named Rain Upon the Impure, and it's this album that introduced me to The Ruins of Beverast in the first place and ultimately solidified my respect for the project.

Those of you exploring Beverast's discography chronologically will probably expect Alex's dark atmosphere conjured up on Unlock the Shrine to be present again on the sophomore album. What you probably won't expect is that the darkness is taken to a whole new magnitude here on Rain Upon the Impure. While Unlock the Shrine had a claustrophobic atmosphere like exploring a dark cellar at night, Rain Upon the Impure's atmosphere invokes thoughts of large amounts of space instead of limited amounts like wandering through a massive expanse of plains at night while in the distance you can see a man-made ruin the size of mount Kilimanjaro. I prefer this more external atmosphere, and Alex does an exceptional job of conjuring it up on Rain Upon the Impure. The guitars are a lot clearer than on the previous album and are the key force driving this album to greatness. They're played at various speeds within each song and the production makes them sound downright menacing.

Besides the metal instruments, there are these choir sections that help the album sound really dark. Their presence is limited, but they're in just the right places to count. Unlike Unlock the Shrine's sparse choir sections which sounded more like an unnecessary add-on than anything, the choirs on Rain Upon the Impure actually feel like they belong in the music. They're used as atmospheric background enhancers and perform extremely well in this role especially on "50 Forts Along the Rhine" in an extremely epic riffing rainstorm that begins at 2:25 as well as in "Rain Upon the Impure" to toll the album's end. The choirs also sound great when used to recite lyrics in the refrain sections of "Soliloquy of the Stigmatized Shepard" and "Blood Vaults", at such times they're brought up to the front of the mix.

While the playing styles and tempos of Unlocked the Shrine varied between the songs, the styles on Rain Upon the Impure is more consistent between songs, but more mixed within one song. Each song has its own fast and slow parts, but none of them are arranged in the same way, and there are those that contain more fast parts than slow parts. "Soliloquy of the Stigmatized Shepard" for instance contains more slow parts while "Rain Upon the Impure" contains more fast parts. One thing to note is that the really slow parts border on funeral doom metal, but the atmosphere and heaviness in these parts an give even the best funeral doom bands a run for their money; "Soliloquy..." is really great at this.

This album is longer than its predecessor, clocking in at almost eighty minutes compared to seventy, but this time is used in a much more productive way than on Unlock the Shrine. The interludes that littered Unlock the Shrine are all but gone; there's only two short ones on Rain Upon the Impure. The rest of the album consists of five actual songs, none of them shorter than thirteen minutes. Each of these songs are given a fair share of variation in them to keep the listener interested, so Rain Upon the Impure is overall a much more fulfilling listening experience.

Rain Upon the Impure is a grand and unique album. A few minor changes to the mix and production would have made this album worthy of a perfect 100/100 from me. As it is though, this is an awesome album that is proof of Alex's musical writing talent along with his instrumental skill and proof that Germany can hold its own in the black metal department. This is an extremely high recommendation for fans of atmospheric black metal. Gold star, Alex!

(99/100)

THE RUINS OF BEVERAST Unlock the Shrine - Reliquary of the White Abyss

Album · 2004 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Wilytank
(Originally posted by me to Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives; http://www.metal-archives.com/)

Alexander von Meilenwald is an awesome musician, and the German black metal scene was definitely crippled when he and Zorn split Nagelfar. However, Alex thankfully continued his musical career with his own solo project The Ruins of Beverast. This new project is a far cry from Nagelfar's heathenism themes though. He seems to be more interested in darker themed music this time around as evidenced in this project's debut release 'Unlock the Shrine'. The good news is that Alex can still make his music shine on his own. The bad news is that this debut as a whole has a real hard time shining and that the music really isn't as strong as it could have been.

The music played here actually jumps around several styles while maintaining a dark tone. There's characteristics of depressive black metal here, especially in "Between Bronze Walls" and "The Clockhand's Groaning Circles". There's also a sort of really fast and raw approach on "Euphoria When Bombs Fell" and "Summer Decapitation Ritual"; these songs are really chaotic and remind me of Gnaw Their Tongues' material that leans more toward black metal with even more black metal influence thrown in. The album produced from this mix is an intriguing one that really shines in some places, but is also rather dim in others.

My biggest gripe with this album is the excess of interludes. There's one after every song on this album; and while some of them sound interesting like the creepy "Skeleton Coast" and the outro piece "White Abyss", their overall presence does very little for this album. If they weren't there, the album would be a good 14 and a half minutes shorter (and that's even if "White Abyss" was kept as an outro). With them in there, this album is a daunting 70 minutes, so taking away the interludes would actually be beneficial. None of the interludes actually sound bad, they're just really unnecessary.

As for the actual songs, the quality varies. "Between Bronze Walls" is a slower paced piece, but it's varied enough with its riffs during its eight minute course to keep things interesting. The other slower piece is "The Clockhand's Groaning Circles" which is much weaker with less interesting riffs included. Same deal with the two songs following the faster more chaotic pattern, "Euphoria When Bombs Fell" and "Summer Decapitation Ritual". "Euphoria..." is a rather average piece with not a lot of standout moments; on the other hand, "Summer Decapitation Ritual" is really, REALLY impressive with the whirlwind of riffs more memorable and the catchy break in the middle to keep things interesting. The remaining two pieces, the title track and "The Mine", are definitely good enough to place the album in the above average scoring range with "The Mine" being the ideal piece to end the album with its memorable chanting at the end fading into "White Abyss".

This album is good, but it's not great. It feels bloated with almost 15 minutes that could have been put to better use (and will be in The Ruins of Beverast's subsequent albums). There's a few winners among the songs, but the closest thing to a loser would be "The Clockhand's Groaning Circles" with its boring riffs that drag out for too long. 'Unlock the Shrine' is still worth checking out for the winner songs though, especially "Summer Decapitation Ritual". Alexander von Meilenwald will prove his musical genius to a much better degree in the next two albums though; that's where his essential material is.

(78/100)

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