Upon Ruins – Legacy of Desolation (PRC Music)Sunday, 4th November 2018
Always happy to pick up on a new entry into the melodic death metal field, Upon Ruins comes to us from Nova Scotia, Canada, even if their particular brand feels more European sounding. It also features three members of the death/grind act Hate Division, so you can be sure this isn’t something simply starting from square one – there’s plenty of experience to go around. Something that’s quite evident just from sampling Legacy of Desolation for the first time.
As noted, the more European flair to their melodic death metal is notable, as is the older and more traditional feel of the genre. There’s never a Gothenburg ‘ripoff’ factor though, as the band also incorporates more of a Viking/Amon Amarth vibe as well, giving them an epic feel that conjures the classic sound of melodeath but one that also feels like it is going full-speed ahead. With this type of material, the riffs and melodies are always most important, and Upon Ruins does a good job of bringing in solid material in both areas, as well as keeping the tempos diverse enough to feel fresh over the course of the album. Opener “Where Mountains Collide” has that get-up-and-go energy to it, with galloping riffs and blasting drums to invigorate the listener, but it also weaves in some catchy melodies without taking away from the overall aggression. A slower and more majestic cut, the title track takes all the time it needs to build up an atmosphere with mountainous grooves and some top-rate leadwork. The ebb and flow between these types of tracks (and plenty that switch between directions) keeps the interest level high, as does the brisk run time of just under 40-minutes.
It may not push the innovation knob too distinctly, but Legacy of Desolation is an exceptionally enjoyable piece of melodic death metal done right. It exhibits plenty of strengths, and very few of the traditional weaknesses. Sure to hit all of the right buttons for genre fans.