Always Heading East

Old Ruins

OLD RUINS are a four piece band from Germany who had begun their musical journey […]
November 22, 2023

OLD RUINS are a four piece band from Germany who had begun their musical journey with their formation in 2019 and they had come to the idea of blending their style of black metal with other sub genres including heavy metal, doom metal and melodic metal. However the band’s plans of making their live performance debut was hindered by Covid-19 which forced them to postpone but a few months after in August 2020, the band did then begin their recording process for their first self-titled EP later in the year. The EP itself had a more atmospheric metal sound with guitar riffs ringing with harmony and drums echoing as it has such a a raw but melodic tone, the band led by vocalist/lead guitarist KRAJE, along with ERSIN KARA also on guitars, OLIVER KRAJEWSKI on bass guitar duties and finally ALEXANDER CZERNIK on drums.


So the lineup hasn’t changed over time since their EP release and now this year as of September, the band have now released what is their debut album titled ALWAYS HEADING EAST. It is an album that contains eight tracks altogether but also includes one or two tracks or more from their EP as well, so if you had heard of their EP and enjoyed it then you should enjoy their album just as much. So without further delay we will now head straight into their album with the first track which is “The Dark Wanderer” as it opens with a slow mellow guitar riff, a narrator speaking as there is a possessed atmosphere but a faster guitar riff plays before the whole band comes into play.


Then a vocal roar and outburst as we receive the full blow of the combination of heavy metal and black metal mashed together with hints of melodic and doom metal influences in the instrumentation and tone of each instrument. Vocals certainly have that black metal sound and the drums are very punchy as well as attacking even when they go into overdrive before there is a guitar riff solo as the tempo slows down again before the transition into the next track. “Tristram” as a trembling guitar riff is played then a driving and bellow of a drum pattern is underway with great depth in tone, vocals enter for the mix and the tempo slows down again which is certainly a very creative way of arrangement as well as dynamics.


Even the drums have lots of stamping and putting their foot down on the accelerator, so the sinister elements have surrounded the listener in a rather unorthodox way. We can hear so much aggression and agitation as the guitar and vocal parts show this, the guitar echoes and rings out each note played a little later on in the track and vocals show their disgust and dismay. So the double time tempo set by drums is the transition now into the next track which is “The Desert Sands”, as the third track opens with a slow mellow guitar tone, as the slower tempo is repeated at first with drums, then the tempo is increased slightly more. Vocals do enter the forbidden fortress set up by guitars and drums as well as bass guitar, lead guitar has a mixture of sustained and rhythmic riffs throughout the track.


The vocals are literally crying out for mercy and attention, dragging each screeching high end note and then making way for lead guitar to have their solo part along with drums supporting them all the way. “Risen From The Grave” is up next with a gradual crescendo of guitar and drums setting up the track as we hear vocals unleashing their awesome ascension to higher notes as the drums clatter like there is no tomorrow with such clarity and consistency. Lead guitar has such high regard for its skills and ferocity for setting the benchmark as drums also can set the bar high with creative continuation. Black metal vocals come back in later on and the full band are in full swing too, as we head into the next track which is “The Fallen Temple”.


The previous track had a slow tempo but also a more vigorous rhythm as it leads into the fifth track, also opening with a slow and instrumental section to begin with, vocals do hover around with hissing and snappy lyrical content. A short section for guitars and drums to perform a duo contribution of a breakdown as we progress on for another instrumental break but vocals do intervene with a satanic approach as before. The transition we hear from guitar and drums is very dynamic and creates such a contrast as we come to the sixth track which is “Mephisto”. A triumphant guitar riff is the first sound of this track echoing and ringing all around with another guitar riff playing a more rhythmic line, vocals also move from side to side whispering.


Pulsating drums then kick in through the front door of this track as guitar follows along, vocals enter the mix as they retain their possessed and cunning attitude. A short instrumental section reappears halfway through the track, as we hear all the right sounds of lead guitar and drums, they work so well together here and have done so throughout the album. So we now approach the next track which is “Lord Of Hell” as it opens with a stamping drum pattern pounding with guitar and vocals making themselves known in this seventh track. A very creative and artistic section comes with guitar and drums once again showing their talent and commitment to showing how black metal can even be melodic in its own way. Screamer vocals fire back in as well and this certainly raises the tension and atmosphere a small bit.

Glamorous guitar riffs can be heard after this and it is certainly setting the listener up for what will be the final track of this album. So the final track is “Sescheron” after a long screamer of vocals bringing us into the last track, as we hear vocal chants at first then cut through with guitars and drums like a knife in the dark. A very tight and tidy drum pattern is in motion before lead guitar takes over for a brief moment then vocals lead the way for the other elements to combine their efforts for this final track of the album. The lead guitar brings out the more heavy and melodic metal for certain, drums also contribute to making this side of the album stand out as vocals continue to unleash the more ominous black metal twist.


A short piano melody is heard towards the end as the album is brought to a close so all in all, a very cool and great all round performance by all instruments in the band. Even the vocal narrator head at the end is a great way to close out, nonetheless the album serves a greater purpose, so I am certainly impressed by the mixture of black metal with melodic and heavy metal attributes as it gives the album a great personality and character in sound too. I do look forward to hearing more from these guys and I say if you love black metal, try these guys out with a listen, as they merge black metal with such variety in style and creating their own sound.

7 / 10









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"Always Heading East" Track-listing:

1. The Dark Wanderer

2. Tristram

3. The Desert Sands

4. Risen From The Grave

5. The Fallen Temple

6. Mephisto

7. Lord Of Hell

8. Sescheron

Old Ruins Lineup:

Kraje - Vocals and Lead Guitars

Ersin Kara - Rhythm Guitar

Oliver Krajewski - Bass Guitar

Alexander Czernik - Drums

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