Undercurrent is the fifth full length album from Tasmania’s black metal force, Ruins.
Over the past few albums and the debut EP, Ruins have carefully crafted their sound into a relentless assault. With that said, they do not repeat themselves. What Ruins have done and continue to do is take what they love about 1990s black metal, and refine it through their own ideas. As such they’re taking that sound, and twisting it into what they feel black metal should sound like, now. And it works. There’s a lot to love here, whether you’re a devoted listener of Ruins, or a fan of black metal hearing them for the first time.
There’s not a bad track to be found, and I think that is owed to Ruins’ keen insight into their own sound. Take for example frontman Alex Pope. He has become (in this writer’s opinion) one of black metal’s most recognisable vocalists and lyrics. He has mastered his craft, skilled at both weaving words, and bringing them to life upon the offering of Ruins’ apocalyptic sound. In that sense, we need only look at the title of the album ‘Undercurrent’ and the myriad of thoughts and meanings it may conjure in the mind of the listener. Each member of the band performs at their absolute best.
Dave Haley, known as a master of his craft with Psycroptic (among others) continually shows new sides to his playing in Ruins, and this album is no exception. As stated, each track on the album is quite solid but my personal picks would be either ‘Faust’ or ‘The Fires of the Battlefields to Survive’. The former, for me, encapsulates everything that Ruins is known for. The latter introduces some new elements into their sound, which provides the listener with some surprising twists and turns.
1. Shadow of a Former Self
3. Rites of Spring
5. The Fires of the Battlefields to Survive
6. Certainty the Adversary
8. Filled With Contempt
9. Symbols from Intent