(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!