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|1.||Fifty Forts Along the Rhine|
|2.||Soliloquiy of a Stigmatized Shepard|
|4.||Blood Vaults I: Thy Virginal Malodour|
|5.||Soil of the Incestuous|
|6.||Balnaa-Kheil the Bleak|
|7.||Rain Upon the Impure|
Review for 'The Ruins of Beverast - Rain Upon the Impure'
To put it simply, The Ruins of Beverast's Rain Upon the Impure is Black Metal's answer to Mozart, Beethoven and Wagner, brilliantly condensed into this monumental 80 minute long masterpiece. The word masterpiece has been repeated several times on this website, but if it could only be used once, this is where it would be.
The Ruins of Beverast is the solo Ambient Black Metal project created by Alexander Von Meilenwald, of Nagelfar fame, who has also contributed his extensive songwriting skills to fellow German Black Metal acts such as Verdunkeln, Graupel and Kermania, to name a few. He founded The Ruins of Beverast in 2003 shortly after Nagelfar split up, and has been producing some of the genre's most groundbreaking and innovative works ever since, with each one being in a league of it's own, far ahead of the competition and practically immune to comparison. His second full length effort released in 2006, Rain Upon The Impure, is without a single doubt the greatest of them all, and stands out for an infinite amount of reasons.
First and foremost, Rain Upon the Impure doesn't only venture further and deeper than any other Ambient Black Metal album to date, but it does so with such subtle cunning and perfection that upon first listen one is simply left in disbelief. How can this album possibly exist? How can all this be the product of one man's imagination? Where did he even start, let alone begin putting it all together? That's just how complex and thought-provoking Rain Upon The Impure is, more so than any other Black Metal album that I am currently aware of.
Rain Upon the Impure consists of seven tracks in total, two of which are brief ambient interludes. The remaining five tracks are all monumental behemoths, each being approximately 15 minutes long, bringing the album's total length to within a few seconds of the 80 minute mark, which is actually the limit for a standard audio CD. However, not a single second of Rain Upon The Impure is wasted, and every single moment succeeds in creating an atmosphere that is so thick you could cut it with a knife. This is what every Ambient Black Metal album aims for, and while a few other Ambient Black Metal projects such as Blut Aus Nord or Leviathan do manage to achieve it, none do it quite so perfectly as is the case here, giving the impression that one has not only listened to the music but has actually visualized the music as well. It really does send you on a daydream.
Rain Upon the Impure starts off with "50 Forts Along the Rhine", gradually incorporating all of the ingredients that Alexander Von Meilenwald puts to magnificient use throughout the rest of the album. All of the key elements are introduced one by one, firstly the multi-layered guitars, followed by the hypnotic drumming, and last but not least the inhuman vocals which, while heavily distorted, are more than impressive. So impressive in fact, that it's actually one of the rare occurences in Black Metal where the vocals actually give off the impression of listening to a voice that is truly inhuman, as opposed to simply trying to simulate it, as is the case with the vast majority of Black Metal bands. Finally, after additional layers of guitars creep in, all of the elements combine and the subterranean atmosphere as a whole is complete.
Since words cannot adequately describe what this album really sounds like, and since we don't want to spoil any first listens, we will refrain from going into too much detail, but it should suffice to say that the rest of Rain Upon the Impure retains all of the aforementioned characteristics and is dripping with a thought-provoking atmosphere, with each tremendous track sending the listener to a dark and mysterious audiovisual landscape, all coming together majestically with the album's self-titled closer "Rain Upon The Impure" in what is probably the best album ending ever, period.
One "downside" is that the album has so much depth, with so many layers and subtleties, that it takes literally dozens of listens to really appreciate everything it has to offer. On the other hand it's these same characteristics that make Rain Upon The Impure fresh and repeatedly enjoyable, listen after listen, with the album's purposefuly obscure production values only enhancing this aspect.
That said, no matter how many Black Metal albums you have listened to, it takes exactly just one listen to be completely blown away by what is Alexander Von Meilenwald's magnum opus and, in our opinion, one of the genre's all time classics, which is quite an achievement for an album being released as recently as 2006. Rain Upon The Impure has forever raised the bar for all future Ambient Black Metal and it will be a very hard task for anyone to release anything superior, even for Alexander Von Meilenwald himself.
What other albums sound similar to this?
As with most albums this high up on our rankings, The Ruins of Beverast's Rain Upon the Impure has a pretty much unique feel which differs greatly from the rest of the band's select discography, although a couple of songs titled "Desert Lair" and "The Moselle Enigma" do have a somewhat similar feel and can be found on the 2011 compilation album Enchanted by Gravemould. Other parts of The Ruins of Beverast's discography such as Unlock The Shrine do share similarities in the composition and flow of the music, and should all definitely be checked out regardless of whether you're looking for something with the exact same sound as Rain Upon the Impure or not.
Other Ambient Black Metal bands with similar albums to Rain Upon the Impure are few and far between, with Lurker of Chalice's self titled album, Impavida's Eerie Sceneries, Elysian Blaze's Levitating the Carnal and Blood Geometry albums or Xasthur's Nocturnal Poisoning being the first that come to mind. Additionally, some albums by Blut Aus Nord, Yayla and Leviathan are vaguely reminiscent in one way or another, and you will also probably find similarities by checking out Funeral Doom bands such as Nortt, although when it comes down to it hardly any of these really come close to Rain Upon the Impure or are even in the same league for that matter.
In a nutshell...
It would be an understatement to say that it's hard to believe that Rain Upon the Impure was planned, composed and performed entirely by just one musician. Mind-boggling would be a more fitting description. In any case, if you are new to Ambient Black Metal or Black Metal in general, chances are you won't really understand what's going on in this album at all, and it would be a wise idea to make a note of checking out The Ruins of Beverast's Rain Upon the Impure at a later date, after first taking in what the less cryptic and more accessible albums of the genre have to offer.
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