The Ruins Of Beverast are always in a forward-reaching state, pushing long-form extreme metal compositions into often previously unexplored realms through exciting genre-blurring. With each release, the German band’s master composer, Alexander von Meilenwald, appears to have reached a creative zenith. And yet, by the next album, this instinctive multi-instrumentalist ascends to another plane altogether and eclipses what he achieved prior.
The Thule Grimoires, the follow-up to 2017’s voodoo spiritual, Exuvia, continues that progressive pattern in spectacular fashion. Drawing heavily this time on goth, new wave, trance, industrial, post-punk and dark ambient, each monumental, tonally rich, cohesive yet utterly distinctive track offers the listener an enthralling escape from harsh modern realities.
Pulsing guitars cycle in dense waves as blastbeats and mechanically charged flares erupt on Ropes Into Eden; the doom-laden opus casting a Joy-Division-in-purgatory glow as it unfurls in dark shadows. The Tundra Shines and Anchoress In Furs both play out like Triptykon in a sinister seance with Massive Attack circa Mezzanine – hell, there’s even echoes of Underworld’s Born Slippy to the former song’s trippy, mantric vocals.
The deep gothic cleans amidst blackened snarls are used in perfectly fitting ways throughout this exquisite album, with Kromlec’h Knell offering perhaps the first ever TROB anthem. It’s a zero-light death/doom and post-punk amalgam that recalls a terminally depressed Torche, or Type O Negative pushed to sanity’s frayed fringes. In contrast, is the oblique industro-drone of Mammothpolis, while Polar Hiss Hysteria’s animalistic black metal roars right into the mouth of the epic body-and-soul crush finale, Deserts To Bind And Defeat.
Reductive comparisons aside, von Meilenwald has crafted a singular piece of work using a vast array of idiosyncratic influences, in meticulously focused, daring and transformative ways. This is the most important TROB LP to date… until the next one.