With Ruins of Eternity being Orodruin’s second full-length album and their first since 2003’s Epicurean Mass, it’s pretty understandable for there to have been some changes in that time. There’s enough somber airiness in the band’s traditional doom style to avoid any real sense of disconnect, but the keyboards and oppressive atmosphere that defined them before has largely been dropped. One can only assume that guitarist John Gallo put all his prog weirdness toward Blizaro and his other solo works.
Fortunately, the sound that remains is enjoyable and competently executed. The guitars are right in line with groups like Lord Vicar and Pale Divine, showcasing a watery tone that sustains the weighty yet melodic riffs and bluesy solos. This record also proved to be a spot for Mike Puleo to flex his talents, providing the album’s drums as well as his established bass and vocal duties. His rhythm work can be a little simple and his nasally delivery may not sit right with some listeners, but he does a pretty good job all around.
The songwriting is also solid, if a little meat and potatoes. The opening “Forsaken” sets the melancholic standard as its catchy dirge riffs and gallop-friendly climax are later echoed on “Letter of Life’s Regret” and “Into the Light of the Sun.” Beyond that, “Grave Illusion” offers psychedelic balladry, “War on the World” is the album’s closest thing to a fast number, “Voice in the Dark” hints at past ventures with its dark riff set, and the title track closes things out with more battle hardy chugs.
While Orodruin’s second album doesn’t quite have the unique edge of its 2003 predecessor, it ultimately manages to be a great doom effort in its own right. The musicianship is the album’s best asset as the vibrant performances give life to an otherwise basic template and helps make the songwriting that much more engaging. I would give Epicurean Mass a cursory listen before checking this album out, but doom fans should be able to appreciate both efforts. With any luck, Orodruin can find a way to marry the two approaches on their 2035 follow-up.
“Letter of Life’s Regret”
“Into the Light of the Sun”
“Voice in the Dark”
“Ruins of Eternity”