The War Inside My Head: An Interview With The Ruins of Beverast
So, here's for something a bit different. I usually try to use the The War Inside My Head series to shine a light on some exciting contemporary artists, more often than not bands/projects I feel like need some more visibility. And it's quite easy to see that this isn't the case with this current installment, given that German goth/doom/black band The Ruins of Beverast are legends of the underground metal scene with as close to perfect as any modern discography. So, one might ask – What the fuck are you doing here, Ron? Well, what I'm doing it in a way following up on a previous interview with TROB mainman Alexander von Meilenwald, part of the (still going) Albums of the Decade series. More specifically there was a moment in that previous interview about the influence of Depeche Mode that made me curious, especially given the enhanced presence (I guess more than usual) of what we could call a dark 80s atmosphere in their most recent (and amazing) album, The Thule Grimoires. So, I guess I just wanted to explore those influences within the context of TWIMH, which is basically just artists talking about the music they love. And let me tell you: It did not disappoint.
Before we get to that this is just to say that you can check out our other interview series (Albums of the Decade, Pillars of the 90s) and, you haven't already, please follow follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify and support whatever it is that we do on Patreon, and check out our kinda-sorta podcast, MATEKHET (YouTube, Spotify and all that). On to my chat with Alexander
What was the first album you bought with your own money, and where did you buy it?
I don't exactly remember, but I'm pretty sure it must have been In The Army Now from Status Quo, in 1986. I bought it in a local record store and still have it.
What 2-3 albums did you hear the most growing up?
Depeche Mode, Violator
Alice In Chains, Dirt
Faith No More, Angel Dust
What two albums taught you the most about making music (mixing, production, performance)?
Only two of them? There must be 20 at least, but if I focus on my earliest stages it'll be these two:
Marduk, Opus Nocturne. In my earlier stages of engaging in music I wasn't particularly interested in good musicianship or production, but I was eager to discover how musicians developed riffs and songs. And Opus Nocturne is not only by far the best Marduk album imho, but it has also been one of my main impacts on writing riffs, for Nagelfar and still for The Ruins. Håkansson had a very unorthodox approach to his riffs, it was a unique display of unfamiliar note switches and chords (which resulted in morbid melodies), put into equally unfamiliar rhythm patterns, very unlike the common melodic Swedish approach to extreme music. There is another album that caused the same motivation because of its highly uncommon riff-wise and structural approach, and that is As The Flower Withers from My Dying Bride, also still being (one of?) the darkest Death Metal album(s) I ever heard, despite all occult outgrowth of the genre throughout the times.
Dead Can Dance, Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun. You could easily insert every DCD album up to Spiritchaser here. These musicians have been responsible for the atmospheric aspect in The Ruins Of Beverast, no more, no less. I have never heard any music bearing a greater cosmos of atmosphere and it's endlessly worthwhile to listen closely how they develop their red lines and compositional landscapes. I learnt a whole lot from them in songwriting and arrangement.
What is the last album that absolutely shocked you?
Anna von Hausswolff, Dead Magic. She is a mesmerizing artist. Dead Magic incredibly succeeds in being a pitch-black chunk of almost hopeless negativity, on the one hand side. And yet, it is of so much beauty, filled with undying melodies and vocals, and the songs just feel huge like cathedrals. This album is an immeasurable achievement, something I haven't felt since the Dead Can Dance classics.
What album relaxes you or centers you the most?
Dead Can Dance, Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun
What are the 2-3 albums you’ve listened to the most recently?
Siouxsie & The Banshees, Hyaena
Reverend Bizarre, Return To The Rectory
Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti
I wouldn’t say so. If listening to current stuff, it is something I receive as a suggestion from friends, or maybe I get a bunch of new releases from Ván Records. But aside from that, I experience myself more than ever listening to the sound of the decades 60s-80s. I wouldn’t see this as a general lack of interest towards new releases, I guess it’s more of an “overburdening” with floods of new releases, which I can’t manage (and decreasingly strive for…). So I seem to elude this.
What album is grossly underrated?
Unholy, Rapture. Unholy have always been reckoned an underrated band, and true that of course, they were one of the most talented bands Finland ever bore. But even among their supporters, Rapture is totally underrated. In fact it is my absolute favorite. Just listen to this album, it is an adventure. The rhythm section is supernal, the bass lines are full of energy and creativity. And even the synth arrangements are so comfortingly unfamiliar. They manage to build saturnine doom monoliths next to almost avantgardistic experiments without ever becoming implausible or pretentious. This is a total masterpiece, and I wish more people knew that.
What album would you recommend from your local scene?
Ugh. May I say Finished With The Dogs from Holy Moses…? Almost every current local music project I know is either run by my closest friends or I was even part of it myself, and I'm not keen on doing self-advertisement here. I am pretty sure there are some good psychedelic bands in my home town, but I don't remember their names. And not to be disrespectful, but the modern metal scene in this area is a bit provincial, and not particularly exciting.