Black Royal Spiritism - I. O Sino Da Igreja by RuïmRelease date: May 26, 2023
Label: Peaceville Records
Emerging from mystical swamps are Ruïm, debuting here with the snappily titled Black Royal Spiritism – I. O Sino da Igreja, is the brainchild of one Rune Erikson – otherwise known as Blasphemer, formally of some band called Mayhem. Erikson is without doubt, regardless of what you think of Grand Declaration Of War, an enormous influence on the musical diversification of black metal in the late Nineties, so the excitement surrounding this is fully justified.
Apparently inspired by the discovery of lost ideas from that period, the shared DNA here is clear. Without dismissing any of Erikson’s other work, or to overstretch the parallels, but the musical line between then and O Sino da Igreja is pretty damn straight. And that’s before noting the reincarnation of ‘Fall Of Seraphs’ nestled away in the middle. This is not necessarily an attempt to revive previous glories, instead more exploring an area of expertise, another chance to push the boundaries of what an artist can do within a chosen field.
The atmosphere is dark, brooding: an apt soundtrack when dealing with Brazilian witchcraft, as we are here. Yet there is still a cleanliness to the music, a noticeable lack of every instrument being buried in a mire of distortion and lo-fi values. That in turns allows for the mind-bending chaos to be fully appreciated, the twists and turns through furious riffs and dissonant interludes more easily comprehended.
The opening epic ‘Blood.Sacrifice.Enthronement’ sets the scene. The complex fretwork bursting forth upon the back of violent drums out of the sinister intro might seem a little passé these days, yet it still works a treat here. This pattern of sliding from dark minimalism to primeval blasting and back again is seen throughout O Sino da Igreja, the difference here to many who have trodden this path in the intervening years is the skill with which Ruïm accomplish this.
There are even some catchy moments sprinkled throughout the record: whether it is the opening section of ‘The Triumph (Of Night & Fire)’, or the increasing steps up in pace from doom-laden folk to metronomic classic black metal in ‘Black Royal Spiritism’, this isn’t purely about extremities and will get stuck in the brain for days.
This initial impression of Ruïm is very favourable, and there is hope that this can prove to be a wonderful vehicle for one of the scene’s innovators to continue to what he does best. O Sino da Igreja walks that delicate knife-edge of being rooted in history, yet talking bold leaps forward too. And certainly here, where evolution is often met with visceral repulsion, long may they do so.