By Jonathan Smith
Originally released in 2008 in their homeland, Australian-based Ruins’ Cauldron is a solid cut of minimalist black metal that comes off as being fairly accessible. It’s all about the basics of guitar, drums, vocals and apparently bass (though listed as an instrument, it is relegated to being quite low in the mix). “Where Time is Left Behind (Echoes of Ghosts)” is a great choice of opener, ringing things in with Alex Pope’s choppy, sustained chords and David Haley’s consistently energetic and blast-beat-heavy drumming. Pope’s croaked vocals are often rather restrained for black metal, straddling an interesting line between more death-style grunts and stereotypical black-style shrieks. The approach works really well on this album, as it’s not likely to be as alienating to new listeners as either sub-genre extreme. Frequently the songs are allowed to linger, the final few chords strummed or plucked in a lazy, almost psychedelic-fashion before the beginning of the next track revs things up again. Though the second and last tracks are forgettable as soon as they’re over, “Hanged After Being Blinded” and “Upon these skeletons (bury the dead)” offer some stand-out moments. “Genesis” has solid instrumental sections, but it’s hampered by an obnoxiously long voice clip at its tail end. While in the end it doesn’t make too many demands of its listener, with Cauldron Ruins seem quite satisfied on this outing to do what they do quite well and in an enjoyable fashion.