The 2015 debut EP from Michigan’s Fell Ruin, Devices, made an immediate and powerful impact on the scribes here at NCS, delivering a genre-bending amalgam that we described as “a potent combination of black metal, progressive metal, and heavy, grinding doom — ominous, perilous, and mesmerizing”, moving between “bouts of explosive, instrumentally acrobatic aggressiveness, oppressive, doom-drenched crawls, and passages of sombre, unsettling beauty.” We wished out loud for a longer release, and now we are fortunate to have one.
On March 17th, the respected I, Voidhanger Records will release Fell Ruin’s debut album, To The Concrete Drifts, and we have for you the first sign of what it holds in store — the premiere of the album’s third track, with the intriguing name “Spy Fiction Folds In Ready Streets“.
For this new album, Fell Ruin return with the same line-up that created Devices — drummer August Krueger, bassist Jeff McMullen, guitarist Robert Radtke, and vocalist Brian Sheehan.
As was true of Devices, this new song is a multifaceted, stylistically kaleidoscopic journey… and a very dark one… but even more inventive and exploratory. It builds from a strummed guitar melody and a mid-paced rhythm that’s introspective, brooding, and beguiling. But the the music soon takes a more aggressive and more desolate turn as the guitars begin to seethe and then jab, the vocals entering the fray with caustic proclamations of acid and blood, moving between ravenous shrieks and ugly growls.
More twists and turns lie ahead, the riffs becoming both more fluid and sinuous and then even more vicious, with bursts of pile-driving hammer blows and swarms of scything barbarity in the mix. The music ratchets the tension, but perhaps the bleakest passages in this dark trek arrive when the pace slows, the low-end sound plunging into something sludgy and radioactive, with the eerie wail of the guitar adding to the unnerving and oppressive atmosphere. The mind’s eye turns to images of a foul cart laden with plague corpses being dragged through the mire. Yet at the end, the song climaxes with an eruption of frenzied ferocity, driven hard by drum and bass performances that have already threatened to steal this show from the very beginning.
We know from Devices that Fell Ruin are capable of finding unsettling beauty in their descents into gloom, but this song, while gripping and ever-changing throughout, lets little light shine on the desolation they have made. It’s a viscerally powerful introduction to the new album.
I, Voidhanger will release To the Concrete Drifts in a jewel-box CD edition with a 16-page booklet. The cover art and layout were created by Brian Sheehan (Legerdemain Art). The track list is as follows:
1. Respire (01:25)
2. The Lucid Shell (09:50)
3. Spy Fiction Folds In Ready Streets (08:03)
4. To Wither The Golden Rose In Bloom (07:42)
5. …And Choke On Nocturnal Breath (10:05)
Total Time 37:05
For more info about the release, check these locations:
Fell Ruin on Facebook: