Just Another Face in the Crowd
Feeling as seasoned as ever, The Ruins of Beverast push ahead with their fourth full-length, Blood Vaults (The Blazing Gospel Of Heinrich Kramer) / Cryptae Sanguinum – (Evangelium Flagrans Henrici Institoris) , and continues to make use of choral arrangements, a trait all too familiar for long-time listeners. With a fresh release comes a change in sound, however, and each song relies heavily on ambience as the one-man project virtually omits distorted guitars for a more tranquil aesthetic. The music isn’t gentle, of course, but when placed next to the back catalog, the latest record appears mundane and overly atmospheric in comparison.
Nevertheless, the puzzle’s pieces don’t always properly fit together. Much of the music is set in a formula that allows little creativity outside of the newfound sound and hampers the record’s flow. Still, a handful of tracks hit the nail on the head, but they’re few, and far between and offer no replay value past initial spins.
Taking a quick look at Blood Vault’s track roster admittedly inspires enthusiasm, though only for the opening songs. The leading cut, “Apologia,” a positively creepy combination of gruff chanting and droning synthesizer, sets the mood for the remainder of the release and transitions nicely into “Daemon,” the first choral-intro piece. Alexander von Meilenwald’s vocals are at their grittiest and roughest here, and without them the music would feel relatively generic and dull.
Blood Vault’s most interesting aspect is its partiality to clean guitars, coupled with an eerie church organ that spans the majority of the record. As nicely as the two ethereal sounds work together, they tend to grow old by the time the album lets up and characterize Blood Vault as a rather dreary effort. Perhaps Meinlenwald purposely wrote the music like this, but the final product, as a whole, doesn’t stand up as a consistent collection of music worth revisiting more than a few times.
Ultimately, Blood Vault is attractive for ambient music lovers. Otherwise, it’s just another face in the crowd, forgotten among countless black metal bands that blend dynamics and guitars.