In the last six weeks, old man winter has had a stranglehold on Michigan. The temperature is the coldest I have felt in years, and the snowfall and ice makes the roads dangerous to travel on. So I’ve been cooped up inside for the last month keeping myself occupied by reading, playing video games and, most of all, trying to keep my ears warm by wearing my headphones. The great thing about winter is rediscovering forgotten songs and, since it is the start of the new year, discovering new music. Lie in Ruins‘ “Towards Divine Death” is the first new album I’ve listened to, and my first review of 2014.
I did a background check on Lie in Ruins, due to the fact that this is the first I’m hearing of this band. I managed to find out that Lie in Ruins is a death metal band that first formed in the 90’s in Finland, going by the name Dissected, but was put on the back burner for several years. In 2002 they became active again under their new name. Over the next 11 years, Lie in Ruins made two demos, one EP and their debut album which was released in 2009, “Swallowed by the Void.”
My first impression of “Towards Divine Death” is that this album is vicious. The music is aggressively trying to crush your ears, your senses and your soul. If you are into this kind of brutality, well strap in because there are 9 songs ranging from 5 to 11 minutes long, which adds up to 70 minutes of you going through a terror ride in Hell. Guitarists Tuomas K. and Roni A., along with bassist Jussi V., deliver painstaking heavy riffs. They range from the slower pummeling riffs of ‘Sacrum Vitae,’ ‘Beneath The Surface’ and ‘Of Darkness and Blackened Fire,’ to the pedal to the metal riffs of ‘Venomous Tongues,’ ‘I Am The Dark’ and ‘Blood of the Dead.’ I really enjoyed the rampaging drumming of Aki K. He lets his presence be known throughout the whole album, especially during the exceptional ending of ‘Endless Void.’ The vocals sit low in the mix and the the lyrics were hard for me to interpret. I’ve come across this situation many times before in my metal music listening experience and it doesn’t really bother me because I treat the vocals like any other instrument. Roni S.’s vocal performance gave me chills that shot down my spine. His voice ranges from dark and evil on ‘The Jaws of the Wolf’ to sounding like he is mercilessly tormented in ‘Charred Walls’. Definitely not something you want to hear while walking alone in a secluded area.
In closing, “Towards Divine Death” is a long and ominous journey that will hit you hard multiple times. I’m happy to report that if this is album is a reflection of how 2014 will be, we, as metal music lovers, are in for a great year.