PICK OF THE WEEK: Darkness lurks as Ruins of Beverast bring forth destruction on ‘Thule Grimoires’

Humanity is under siege by a virus out of control, potentially a fitting fate for us all considering the way we’ve treated the planet and the way so many people have downplayed an illness that has killed way too many people. That might be out comeuppance, and anyone watching from worlds and planes away might nod their head in approval as the knives are turned on us.

German artist Alexander von Meilenwald, sole creator and force behind The Ruins of Beverast, tackles that concept, though not exactly specifically, on the project’s great new record “The Thule Grimoires,” the sixth album under this banner and first since 2017’s “Exuvia.” It’s always been hard to pinpoint the Beverast sound, though much of it swam violently in black metal and doom waters, but things have expanded even further here. On this seven-track, 69-minute beast, von Meilenwald imagines inhuman forces teaming up with nature to take on humanity run amok, those answering to no one for their transgressions until this battle that could be the final of our kind. So, it’s not exactly documenting a ravaging virus per se, but the idea is similar, so if you’re already feeling uncomfortable, the music might hammer home those points even further. We’re not the heroes here. We’re under attack, and the forces fighting against us are aiming to cleanse the world of a force that has become too destructive.

“Ropes Into Eden” begins strangely as the guitars echo and the drums mash. Harsh growls from von Meilenwald blister as weird basslines wrap around the track like a snake, noise pockets envelope, and a strange sci-fi bend ruptures with a robotic sounding voice seemingly issuing a warning about bringing fire, which spills into goth fog. Things get murkier as von Meilenwald delivers warbled signing before growls wrench and pull the track into a blazing end. “The Tundra Shines” opens as noises aching before the song pumps majestically as chants enrapture, and the growls crush. Strange singing slips in, feeling detached and weird, while the playing continues to pound away and warp your mind. Leads cut through as the playing gets more immersive, the growls scrape, and the track buzzes to its conclusion. “Kromlec’h Knell” begins in a murky haze as the growls spread and the noise prods. Chant-like calls work into a moody guitar glaze with clean singing and glimmering leads teaming up to mesmerize. The playing creeps through mystery as things heat up, creaky singing dissolves into chanting, and the final moments take on a cult-like trance.

“Mammothpolis” enters with weird whispering and heavy murk as a warbling voice keeps clawing away. Morbid winds and disarming guitars tread and punch open as clean singing haunts, and the track melts into dreamy darkness. “Anchoress in Furs” has a female voice calling over top, drawing you onto the shore and into the rocks before the growls scrape away, and gothy heaviness increases its presence. Heavy grime begins to reign as the growls punish, the moodiness increases, and a strange mist makes vision tough as things come to a chilling, surreal end. “Polar Hiss Hysteria” leans in with the bass trudging, riffs taking aim, and muddy wailing leaving your flesh raw and chapped. Weird singing plays games with your psyche, which should be no surprise, and then savagery and atmospherics meet and tear a hole in time and space. Wild shrieks rain down, the music liquifies, and the track bleeds out into strange sounds. “Deserts to Bind and Defeat” is the 14:07 closer that has an unsettling start that makes it feel like restless spirits are in the room, as von Meilenwald calls, “Isolate me from my kind.” Then the track tears open its guts, getting fierce and heavy, punishing until the sounds are swallowed into a space pocket, as drilling guitars cut through. Murky energy begins to spread as the shrieks chew away, and then creaky narration then takes over, with the character feeling like a doomsday preacher. The track has a bizarre, wrenching close that leaves you gasping, wondering if your psyche is damaged for good.

The Ruins of Beverast, a band I once watched in broad daylight outside, continue to get stranger and more expansive, with “The Thule Grimoires,” one of the most inventive and weird records in this project’s history. The spiritual forces at war with humanity on these songs sound like they are being exorcised by von Meilenwald, even as he seems to admit their power and mental savagery. This record is an imaginative serving of darkness, one that keeps the Ruins of Beverast sound evolving and growing more infectious as von Meilenwald’s vision shapes and shifts.  

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/The-Ruins-Of-Beverast-116265971848680

To buy the album, go here: https://van-records.com/Preorder_1

For more on the label, go here: https://www.van-records.com/