The Black League - Mans Ruin Revisited
Spinefarm Records
Death Rock
12 songs (44'58")
Release year: 2004
The Black League, Spinefarm Records
Reviewed by Alex

For all of you who followed The Black League you simply knew that the album like Man’s Ruin Revisited will come. It was just a matter of time. A little bit of history for those of you who didn’t follow The Black League.

The band was founded and is fronted by the charismatic Taneli Jarva, former bass player/vocalist of Sentenced. Having left Sentenced after Amok and EP Love and Death Jarva was attending to his university studies and probably thinking of getting back to the music circles. With The Black League he did. Having surrounded himself with older professional Finnish musicians who also have been around the block (Motorhead, Impaled Nazarene, Catamenia) Jarva and The Black League issued two full-length albums and one MCD. Both full-length, Ichor and Utopia A.D., were the albums I thoroughly enjoyed and wholeheartedly accepted. Blending the Amok-era Sentenced with dark melodies, a little bit of doom metal and ominous feel was done so well, both albums addictively sucked the listener in. Everything breathed “old school”. Well, Man’s Ruin Revisited took the “old school” approach a step further creating an album of all-out death rock.

The minute I put the CD in and having listened to Old World Monkey I started to suspect it. More convoluted structures are replaced with shorter straightforward rock songs, up front vocals, booming bottom end and dirty guitar sound – yes, The Black League went all the way back to the roots. The opener, Old World Monkey, just sets the mood. My fears that awesome guitarists of The Black League, Valanne and Ranta, will be pushed into the background were quickly alleviated by the squaking and raging trade-off leads in the next track Alive & Dead. OK, so those guys got to play as well. The guitar playing peak, however, is reached as the closer Better Angels (of Our Nature) turns from semi-balladic beginning to what sounds like an uninhibited, almost live, dual guitar jam session. Set to the excellent drumming and sometimes funky beat using a lot of tom rolls by Mika Luttinen, the songs on Man’s Ruin Revisited just says “this is for the older guys who still want to have fun”.

Two of my favorite songs, though, are signature The Black League slow, unbelievably heavy blues tracks Black Water Fever and Lost in the Shadows I Walk Alone. These songs suit Jarva’s vocal style the best, or so this reviewer thinks. I just don’t understand how some people call his approach to singing “boring” when I am simply mesmerized by his voice. He does much less of vocal variations than he did, let’s say, on Amok, but his deep never clean yet so well enunciated singing just drags you in when the music is slow molasses.

Generally, heavy rock’n’roll, blues and even country overtones (Mad Ol’ Country) are used as song foundations on Man’s Ruin Revisited. For everybody who wants some party rock I can recommend Cold Women & Warm Beer. As opposed to trash known as Andrew W.K. The Black League makes the party rock classy. Made to sound like heavy boogie this song could simply come off the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.

I am sure just about every town in the US, and probably the same in Finland, has a bar or tavern where older dudes, bikers, truckers wearing leather jackets gather. The smoke hanging from the ceiling is so thick you can cut it with the knife. Questionably attractive not-so-fresh looking chicks wrap themselves around the tough male crowd. This bar/tavern must have the stage with the band playing on it. Guess what, Man’s Ruin Revisited would be perfect for the described atmosphere. Just look at this cover art, or the booklet which is done as if typed on the old typewriter which already has some letters skipping due to age.

I can’t call this album to be stronger than its two predecessors, because in my opinion it is very different. If Utopia A.D. got a tag of “difficult to get into”, Man’s Ruin Revisited will be hit or miss right away depending on the listener’s outlook. I personally thought the album was solid, and my quote reflects that. It will be very interesting to see what The Black League does next.

Killing Songs :
Old World Monkey, Alive & Dead, Black Water Fever, Lost in the Shadows I Walk Alone, Better Angels (of Our Nature)
Alex quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by The Black League that we have reviewed:
The Black League - Utopia A. D. reviewed by Alex and quoted 89 / 100
The Black League - Ichor reviewed by Danny and quoted 79 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are no replies yet to this review
Be the first one to post a reply!