The Ruins of Beverast - Unlock the Shrine
Battle Kommand Records
Underground Black Metal
12 songs (70'21")
Release year: 2006
The Ruins of Beverast, Battle Kommand Records
Reviewed by Alex

Unlock the Shrine by The Ruins of Beverast is not technically a new recording. Its release date is 2004, but it is going to appear here in the States only now thanks to Battle Kommand Records licensing this album. The record has been making a buzz in the underground BM scene, and it is no doubt attracted Azentrius’ interest (Nachtmystium mastermind and Battle Kommand leader). The Ruins of Beverast is a one-man band, a trait quite popular today in the UGBM scene. TRoB is a creation of Alexander von Meilenwald, who used to drum for another underground BM German outfit Nagelfar. With Nagelfar not heard from much since 2000 Virus West, Alexander proceeded down his own dark path. Fully expecting the music style to be non-conformal to the “mainstream” black metal, I took a plunge …

The descent into madness begins right away from the weeping, sobbing samples and slow dissonant guitar leading the way for about the first 3 min of Between Bronze Walls. The song’s climax, and perhaps the most beautiful spot on the whole album, begins after the aforementioned 3 min. It is a beautiful melody, very much late Nachtmystium or Xasthur style, set to layered guitars and drum sound heavy on the snare and cymbals, but not on bass. Beauty makes a rare appearance elsewhere on the album. It is neither in long odd-numbered tracks which form the record’s backbone, nor in even-numbered mood setting segues. The album is about the dark recesses of the human mind, not a soft nature-inspired undertaking.

For the longer tracks, blasting dementia becomes full bloom on Euphoria When the Bombs Fell ending in a slowdown vibrato procession to the Abyss led by sacrificial virgins. The Clockhand’s Groaning Circles and Summer Decapitation Ritual very much share riffing similarities, the former however being a droning doom which accelerates through periodic double bass bursts, the latter traveling in the opposite direction form the dissonant blasting barrage to a procession taken right out of Hollenthon.

The inserts are what is giving Unlock the Shrine its truly creepy atmosphere. Low frequency roar with evil whispers, horse neighing, water splashing and shamanic beat on Skeleton Coast, mechanical march of mindless beings on Procession of Pawns, sounds of water drops in the cellar driving a person insane on Cellartunes, pounding mammoth steps on Subterranean Homicide Lamentation – all these are necessary pieces to unleash the psychotic feeling. Throughout the record you will feel that you are participating in a dark ritual, some sort of Black Mass. There is enough of female vocals touch, bells and choirs to convey the feeling. Unfortunately for the participant the proceedings will end in utter delirium, and Alexander’s banshee screeching vocals reinforce the point.

With this Black Mass feeling in spots Unlock the Shrine reminds me of Deathspell Omega, however, the album does not rock nearly as much as Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice. If Unlock the Shrine is a heavyweight, then Deathspell Omega opus is massive. The Ruins of Beverast simply tends to last too long, funeral doom of the title track becoming wearisome, and The Mine burgeoning with anticipation which never delivers.

I can’t say I have taken all of this record in on the first listen, or I am taking it all in now, but I am certainly proud to say that I understand where this music is coming from. Fans of bands mentioned in this review will do well for themselves to check this one out.

Killing Songs :
Between Bronze Walls, Euphoria When the Bombs Fell
Alex quoted 74 / 100
Other albums by The Ruins of Beverast that we have reviewed:
The Ruins of Beverast - Takitum Tootem! (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
The Ruins of Beverast - Blood Vaults – The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
The Ruins of Beverast - Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite reviewed by Charles and quoted 85 / 100
The Ruins of Beverast - Rain Upon the Impure reviewed by Alex and quoted 78 / 100
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