Crawling from their fetid nest in darkest Swansea, outlying the blighted Monmouthshire landscape claimed by Machen and Howard as home to races of degenerate inhuman reptilian throwbacks and the awful ‘little people’ of legend, Ghast have finally braved the burning sunlight to deliver a second hateful sermon against all of those who walk upright above ground, rather than slither on their pale, bloated bellies through unlighted tunnels of vast, loathsome antiquity, and a righteous, venomous sermon it is at that.
Coming but six years after May The Curse Bind, their diseased first extended outpouring of worm-ridden bile onto the face of this clean earth, Dread Doom Ruinleads us further down the serpentine path to the utter destruction of humanity and the triumph of the unclean with six new dread anthems of debasement and depravity, delivered in as icy-cold and hostile a manner as these beasts of the field can muster.
Hate Stoneopens with a brittle frost-bitten guitar peal ripped right from the dead-eyed coal-blackened book of such fellow travellers as Thorns, Darkthrone and Ved Buens Ende, wrought from the aether by guitar-goblin Arrrrrrrach, whose raw, throaty orc-bellow soon splits the air as the subsonic, measured heft of bassist Myrggh and drummer Kz joins the fray, adding a spreading hellish warmth below the creeping fingers of ice. Here, Ghast take the fusion of black and doom metal forged so well by the late, lamented Unearthly Trance and UT mainman Ryan Lipynsky’s more overtly BM project The Howling Wind and craft their own primitivist spin on it.
The Howling Wind also spring to mind during the earlier and latter parts of Festival Of Serpents, the trancelike black metal that bookends the track, driven by Kz‘s pounding pulse where the rest is dominated by the doomier aspects of the band’s sound and Arrrrrrrach‘s frosty skronk – aspects that very much take the fore in the lumbering Demons That Fled The Ferocity Of Mentoo.
Where another band employing the rolling pulsing drums and throbbing bass could easily lapse into tedium through overuse, Ghast leaven the blackened rhythm with exactly the right amount of glowering, smouldering doom and borderline avant guitar scree to keep things very much on the right side of entrancing. May The Curse Bind was excellent, but the years between that first foray and this latest one have clearly served to sharpen and hone their sense of dynamics and interplay, creating, in Dread Doom Ruina masterclass in exactly how to get the balance right between the cold hostility of black metal and the lurching dread of doom without sounding like an attempt to bolt aspects of one onto the other, Frankenstein-fashion – a pluperfect synthesis.
Dread Doom Ruinstands as a triumph of the old ways over the new, planting a smouldering hoof firmly within the camps of both black metal and doom metal to the detriment of neither. These barbarians are not just at the gate, they’ve burned through it and are rampaging into the very heart of the fortress to lay icy siege to all that you hold dear.
Scribed by: Paul Robertson