The Ruins of Beverast - Blood Vaults - The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich KramerThe Ruins of Beverast - Blood Vaults - The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer

If an album comes from the Ván stable you know at the very least it’s going to be interesting, if not challenging, and ‘Blood Vaults – The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer’, is no exception.

The vehicle of multi-instrumentalist Alexander von Meilenwald, The Ruins Of Beverast is a band with absolutely no interest in commerciality or fads, ploughing as it does a darkened furrow with little interest or awareness of anything other than to give voice to a complicated and multi-faceted construct. ‘Blood Vaults…’ is the band’s fourth full-length outing and is set out as a three-part, nine-track epic of grinding doom and despair. There is no light, no shade, no shelter from the storm: the album is relentless in its misery and desolation, and its almost sheer impenetrability is one of its more obvious attractions. As such, it’s hard to highlight or pick out particular tracks. It’s a body of music to be listened to in one sitting, and to take a track or two out of context would be like picking your favourite chapter from a novel; it just can’t be done, and it shouldn’t be done. Such an action would be tantamount to heresy, robbing (as it surely would) the edifice of some of its deepest mystery and blackest allure.

‘Blood Vaults…’ is heavy, certainly, and it’s not an album for the faint of heart (or those with a limited attention span, come to that). But within its darkness and crushing weight the album’s production allows space for the instrumentation to breathe, to ebb and flow, and for von Meilenwald’s tortured vocals to vent their fury and isolation.

It’s interesting, it’s thought-provoking, and it’s majestic. What more do you want from an album? What more do you want from life, in fact?

© John Tucker November 2013