‘Of Ruins and Agony’ is the début album by this French quintet, and while they may have only been together for 2 years, it would appear they are all rather accomplished musicians with several years of experience under their belts.
After about 3 seconds and 3 drum beats, the blasting begins and “Into My Hell” starts off your journey. Loïc Mulheim’s vocals are raw and deep with a hint of anguish to further add to the subject matter, while Laurent Damelincourt and Valentin Rouviere work their guitars through numerous riffs and timing progressions syncopated by Grégoire Galichet as Timothée Pfau accents those drums with his bass.
“Struggling With Insanity” is short, sharp and to the point, with low guttural growls sprinkled with screams and shouts over the rolling gallop of the guitars and drums.
Even though “Destructive Velocity” is substantially slower than the previous tracks, it more than makes up for it with the extra guitar riffs that are interspersed throughout the song.
They choppy drum rhythm on “The Great Maze of Fear” feels as though it’s slowly speeding up through the song, dragging the vocals along with it, so they start rushing the lyrics to keep up.
The alternating paces on “The Enslaving Poison” lull you into that false sense of security that it’s going to be just plodding along, only to have it get faster, but not nearly as fast or aggressive as “Relentless Disposal for Vengeance” where even the slow breakdown has either the drums or vocals at a higher pace.
“Gestating Rancor” has a bouncy feel to it making it really upbeat in addition to the final set of vocals on the song sounding very much like the roaring of a Rancor.
They end the album with its longest doomiest song “Dark Days to Come”, its tremolo guitars and seemingly non-repeating drum pattern guide the vocals on their journey through the verses and chorus, before the final breakdown of guitars winding down over the steady drum battery to the end.
A good album, albeit a short one, but in some ways its length is also a positive point.
(7/10 Marco Gaminara)