Thursday, April 27, 2017

Tape Review: "To the Conrete Drifts" by Fell Ruin

There was just no way this album could go wrong for me. First, the labels releasing it (I, Voidhanger and Graven Earth Records) are putting some of the best extreme music on cd and cassette and their taste tends to match my own.

Second, I’m a sucker for killer cover art and Brian Sheehan (@legerdemain_art) kills it with the crystal/mask/spine photo collage here.

A great piece written on how he does his work HERE from Cvlt Nation.

What I didn’t remember is that Brian is also the vocalist/lyricist for Fell Ruin. Like I said, this album couldn’t go wrong for me - and it didn’t for one moment. I’ve been talking lately about how I listen to music in full albums, not in tracks. For example, I can name my favorite albums by artists but not know the track listing.

Apparently, that’s not how most people listen to music these days. Luckily for me, there are enough albums out there that are well worth listening to front to back over and over again.

To the Concrete Drifts is one of those albums. Everything from the first chord of the intro to the last notes of the concluding track are constructed to form one of the most atmospheric, ferocious, and bleak albums I’ve heard yet this year.

Black, death, and doom are heavily mined to exploit key elements, making an unclassifiable but unmistakably metal alloy.

The cassette itself is also nicely designed and sounds excellent.

Graven Earth is new to the game, but killing it with each and every release so far. This one is on a light gray tape with red pro imprinting on both sides. The tape reel is ferric, but works really well for the dense metal therein. The mastering is even and consistent without noticeable hiss (which is a hallmark of mastering too low).

The artwork and j-card are unsurprisingly eyecatching, considering Graven Earth releases are all well-designed and Brian Sheehan's art is suitably unnerving. The inside folds out into a larger, layered version of the cover.

Being a tape nerd, I appreciate great work. Fell Ruin - To the Concrete Drifts is excellent visually and audibly and will be a mainstay in my tape deck.

Cassettes are still available from Graven Earth Records HERE.

Tour dates:
(5/4) Cleveland, OH at Now That’s Class
(5/5) Philadelphia, PA at Kung Fu Necktie
(5/6) Pittsburgh, PA at Gooski’s
(6/10) Hazel Park, MI at Cellarmen’s

Released: March 17, 2017
Genre: Doom/death/black
Label: I, Voidhanger Records and Graven Earth Records
Formats: cassette, cd, digital

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