The always reliable Halo of Flies recently released this filthy little 7” split between Germany's Ruins and Portland's Usnea. Not being familiar with either band this split served as my intro to both and upon first listen I knew I'd be digging up their back catalog.
On the Ruins side the band guides us through a twisted path to reach fulfilment. The track builds to a sludgy bleakness at the onset. The tone is a heavy black metal one but the sludge roars lend warmth. “Discrimen” moves into pseudo-screamo territory with guitars soaring beyond the clouds. It then turns effortlessly towards a swinging hardcore groove. Dropping further into a quiet moment its conclusion explodes with crashing, momentous riffs and harried percussion.
Usnea counter with “Only The End Of The World”. It's a little more straightforward. And the direction is down. A lonely guitar line leads to heaving doom, plummeting the listener towards the growls emanating from beneath the earth. The track is sinister and mean, as befitting the apocalyptic nature of the title. Chaotic guitars are layered over low and slow filth while insane screams of utter pain and anguish force their way into your head. Those cursed screams are not for the faint of heart.
Ruins and Usnea balance each other well even though their styles follow different roads. Ruins' meandering is not off-putting while Usnea are content to hold your head beneath the surface and deliver you to your doom with considerable distaste. I'll be interested to see how Ruins' approach plays out over a full album and how much torture one can take from Usnea on their forthcoming full length.
[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]