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Fell Ruin - To the Concrete Drifts Award winner

Fell Ruin
To the Concrete Drifts
by Lauren Fonto at 14 July 2017, 6:07 AM

FELL RUIN originate from Michigan, USA, and have cooked up a potent brew of black metal, doom metal, and progressive metal. Through their music, the band chronicles a strange, dark journey “in the pursuit of transcendence” (as the Bandcamp review puts it). “Epic” is a word which tends to get overused when talking about metal, but the music on this album deserves it completely. Teeth-rattling bass guitar wends its way between riffs heavy enough to crush a bottom-dwelling ocean creature. The delicate classical acoustic riffs of “Respire” make way for the ominous bass drum intro of “The Lucid Shell (Rite of Fertile Sand Coasts)”, and the aforementioned sea-creature-crushing riffs. The album delivers some of the heaviest doom metal I’ve heard so far this year. Vocalist Brian Sheehan is a titan throughout; his vocals reminded me of the sea wearing down rock.

Jeff McMullen’s bass performance is one of the high points of the album; it’s unusual for the bass parts to make such an impression on me, since they’re usually used as a foundation and not necessarily decoration. The bass adds an interesting counter melody on “The Lucid Shell…”, and the solo is one of the high points of “…and Choke on Nocturnal Breath”. Each song is the musical equivalence of adverse events which might take a toll on the spirit as it struggles to transcend the miseries of Earth. “…and Choke on Nocturnal Breath” was the blow which obliterated me, metaphorically speaking. The fast parts are especially fast, as if the relief of death can’t be resisted, and the melancholy-drenched bass adds to a feeling of inevitability. The songwriting on this track is superb, and shares a notable characteristic with the songwriting on the rest of the album: the ability to present an “avant-garde” feel without sounding the least bit pretentious or overworked.

“To the Concrete Drifts” has turned out to be a hidden gem. I’d never heard of the band before reviewing this album, and now I’m very glad that somehow this thundering opus of a release managed to find me.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Respire
2. The Lucid Shell (Rite of Fertile Sand Coasts)
3. Spy Fiction Folds in Ready Streets
4. To Wither the Golden Rose in Bloom
5. …and Choke on Nocturnal Breath
Lineup:
Jeff McMullen – Bass
August Krueger – Drums
Rob Radtke – Guitars
Brian Sheehan – Vocals
Record Label: I, Voidhanger Records
     


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Edited 28 October 2020
 

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