Menace Ruine “The Die is Cast” (2008)

Back from the ashes of ruins and cults, Menace Ruine will probably surprise many of their fans with their last album released by alien8 Recordings. The Die is Cast indeed conveys a completely different atmosphere than the one which was to be found among the sounds they’d usually summon up beforehand. Whereas Cult of Ruins was some sort of digitally perverted, noise-fed and transcendental penetration of the Black metal realm of occultism, this record heads back to medieval times, low-fi drone sorcery and proto magic experimentation.

One Too Many begins the album on quite a dense note – immediately in, the classic Menace Ruine noisy feed-backing dirgelike (un)guitar sound vibrates in abundance around one damn multi-dimensional funeral march, and yet it has this dark, classical elegance all the way through. It moves about slowly just like a wave, and singer Geneviève, who sometimes gets out of her mental closet, appears to be talking with an imposing tone, as if she was in the middle of some sort of HMV’s back store incantation. It took me a while to get used to her rather “down to earth” tone, because it starkly contrasts with the more imaginative music presented by the duo. But as my review will soon unravel, she’s also able to take it off for sure. This Place of Power, one very short song, drones off above the surface while Geneviève brings more chanted harmonies to the table, and I must admit I was surprised at how simply gorgeous and bewitching she could get only by using these simple tones and lines. Nevertheless, the song is way too short to create a mood of hypnosis, which to me is the Menace Ruine mood par excellence.

Surprisingly, next song The Die is Cast summons up strange reminiscences of some sort of pre-&-post Medieval music, once again brewed through the band’s noise distortion agenda. With a repetitive, trance-inducing beat underneath, there are many levels of crushing noise, subtle harmonies and weirdo trumpet lines. After five minutes in, alienated and menacing synthesizers brutally wake you up, but the band unfortunately turns it off within a minute or so to end the song. Once again, I’m left wanting way more of that menacing noise! While Surface Vessel sounds like the usual rolling snare death’s march crossed with an industrial vibe, Dismantling brings back the mind-crushing power and once again plays with the theme of “sorceress ballad under a full mooned sky”. What keeps me coming to The Die is Cast, though, is its last sixteen minutes post-industrial drone noise ambient exploration, The Bosom of the Earth. Deep drone symphonies and ancestral mazes kind of logics, you know?

Unfortunately, the album, from my point of view, lacks enough diversification and dynamics. I think it’s going to be easier to enjoy it more once the band will have more releases up their sleeve, because by then, we will be able to place it among a bigger sound picture rather than take it for what it is on its own terms. It’s not a boring album by any means, as there are moments of sheer beauty and powerful Middle Ages folk drone metallish coma. Anyone who enjoyed at least half of what I wrote about the record, I suggest you try it by yourself, as you could be surprised by the band’s new direction. By the way, next up for Menace Ruine is a collaborative album with Japanese noise overlord Merzbow. As for now, open your heart up to your throat and smoke that dragon shit!

-Oliver Side


Release:  2008
Label:  Alien8 Recordings
Avantgenre:  Middle Ages Ambient Metal
Duration:  48:26
Origin:  Montreal (CA)
Official site:
Review online since:  25.01.2009 / 01:34:05


01 – One Too Many
02 – This Place Of Power
03 – The Die Is Cast
04 – Surface Vessel
05 – Dismantling
06 – Utterly Destitute
07 – The Bosom Of The Earth

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