The Ruins Of Beverast – “Exuvia” (Ván Records)
Legendary for being one of the most darkly atmospheric projects ever, last year’s EP from Alexander von Meilenwald caused some (including myself) to cast dispersions on whether his genius had lost its way. Fear not! Any experimentation in the past has come to fruition on this new full length release that is nothing short of the masterpiece that I’d expect. I’m not really sure how to explain these massive soundscapes or really concertos to the uninitiated but if you want to be awed by the power of music and its stunning ability to evoke the spirit, then the 6 intense tracks here – or experiences – would be a good place to start. The blend of sounds and orchestration to arrange them to affect is astonishing and like I said, the powerful atmospheres conjured up are both breathtaking and disturbing. From the expected black metal of blast beats, screaming and ghoulish drawls are injected avant-garde femme soprano wailings, demonic bells, creepy electronics, shamanic trance, tribal drumming, imperious samples, dark choirs, native American chanting. There’s even room for some bagpipes! While the cynical might point to a degree in ProTools, von Meilenwald’s proven time in Nagelfar attest that he’s no studio jockey, but rather doesn’t want his music to be confined to the mortality of this Earth, but in fact, going far beyond….Clearly unsympathetic to the innocent, he opens with the title track, a 15 minute leviathan that is both haunting and sinister in its darkness, yet also laced with pagan melody, catchy electronics and cool echoing choral vocals across a variety of tempos and passages to make for a mesmerizing piece of epic proportions – and that’s just the beginning! With the fetid darkness of ‘Surtur Barbaar Maritime’ enveloping through it’s harsh, evil vocals and dark clanging melodies, ‘The Pythia’s Pale Wolves’ offers some respite through its initial trippy trance groove before taking on black gothic tones mixing femme wails with trance electronics and of course, bestial roars and unearthly wolf howling. ‘Towards Malakia’ almost takes us into funeral doom territory, especially on the guitar melodies, but add in the heavy tribal chanting, demonic screaming and ghostly vocals and you almost feel you are at some pagan animal spirit ritual – and you are as the Native American chants get you to primal state as the closing blast beats finish you off. A very unique release indeed and of course, totally possessed!