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Ruins - Place Of No Pity

Place Of No Pity
by Drago at 04 February 2013, 4:23 PM

The influence of CELTIC FROST on modern day Black Metal cannot be understated. Their early landmark releases “Morbid Tales” and “To Mega Therion” has impacted the Black Metal scene like no other. Australia’s RUINS has taken their influence and expanded it and brought it to the 21st Century. Released through France’s Listenable Records, Ruins fourth full length “Place of No Pity” finds the band embracing the CELTIC FROST sound more than ever while still retaining many black metal influences.

Released independently over the summer “Place Of No Pity” is finally seeing the distribution it rightfully deserves. This is a whirlwind of a record. Intricate song writing, cold raw riffs and gruff vocals dominate. Featuring in its ranks only two members, both Alex Pope and Dave Haley have recorded all four of RUINS releases. The cohesion of nine years of playing together has paid off. The band has never sounded tighter. Drummer Dave Haley is also drumming in the bands PESTILENCE, PSYCROPTIC and BLOOD DUSTER and after hearing his latest performance there isn’t any wonder why he is in such high demand. The drumming is amazing as it isn’t too over the top but flashy enough to stand out. The double kicks are jaw dropping.

Vocally Alex Pope’s voice is made to fit the music he creates. It is the perfect combination. Pope has the best type of Metal vocals, as it is extreme, raspy but intelligible. The riffs he creates are chunky, groovy and memorable. Most of the songs here are lengthy. Not one song is under the five-minute mark and two are over eight minutes. Most bands cannot pull off song lengths like that but it enhances RUINS material. The songs never get boring and they create such an atmosphere that the songs are seamless.

The band hit their stride on the CELTIC FROST inspired track “A Lesson in Ruthlessness”. Starting with a larger than life riff and a classic Tom Warrior grunt you are immediately taken back. About 20 seconds in a simple groovy riff kicks in and it is my favourite part of the record. One minute into the song and we already have four changes and they are all textbook classic Metal riffs. Another highlight is the over nine minute title track “Place of No Pity”. Starting out in a more traditional Black Metal style with blast beats and a driving rhythm guitar the song hits its zenith with a “Dethroned Emperor” influenced vocal melody.  The last four and half minutes are all instrumental as the listener is treated to riff after riff. Jumping back and forth between majestic airy guitar lines and pummelling riffs backed with blast beat drumming.

Sometimes a band can sound too much like their influences, as is the case here. They do incorporate plenty of aggressive components to stand apart though. If RUINS can continue to expand more of their own unique identity it can only help them stand out in the cesspool of CELTIC FROST worshippers.

This release was a nice surprise as it is a great combination of classic CELTIC FROST and Black Metal. So many bands copy this style today but not nearly to the effect and level as RUINS. I am not overtly familiar with their earlier material but after hearing the stunning “Place of No Pity” I will be hunting their entire catalogue down as fast as Tom Warrior disowned “Cold Lake”.

4 Star Rating

1. Inhabit the Twilight
2. A Lesson in Ruthlessness
3. Death Lends the Ultimate Touch
4. Winters Will
5. Place of No Pity
6. Desolation
7. Let Them Perish
8. Oath
9. Merciless
Alex Pope – Guitar, Bass, Vocals
Dave Haley - Drums
Record Label: Listenable Records


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