That Ruins’ guitarist/bassist/vocalist/chief songwriter, Alex Pope used to be a member of Sea Scouts, Tasmania’s greatest 90s post-punk/noise rock export, becomes not only obvious from Undercurrent’s off, but also beneficial to the band’s brand of death-infused blackness.
There’s a sense of climb and clang to the way the guitars offer bits of melodic – and anti-melodic – discord and dissonance in opener Shadow Of A Former Self. Spidery chords and trills complement the Norse-frosted riffs throughout The Fires Of The Battlefields To Survive and the title track.
Warm counterpoint bass walking makes Symbols From Intent a stomping treat as drummer Dave Haley (Psycroptic) provides stable two-beats and blasts that elevate Certainty The Adversary above the realm of speed picking and abrupt changes. Purists will likely balk when Pope references his musical past, especially the sawblade shoegaze curl of the title track’s delirious mid-section. But it’s moments like these that give Ruins’ fifth album healthy amounts of pizzazz and panache: two qualities black metal desperately needs more of.