ALBUM REVIEW: Ruim – Black Royal Spiritism – I – O Sino da Igreja 


Rune Erickson aka Blasphemer has created an impressive career in black metal. After a decade-long run in Mayhem, he has also found himself performing with Aura Noir and Hammer of the Gods, along with many other side projects that fall into other sub-genres of metal.  Here is his newest project which sonically falls closer to Mayhem. This was started in 2020 with Aggressor drummer Cesar Vesvre


The focus is invoking a more ritualistic sound than Mayhem. This is inspired by his studies of Brazilian Witchcraft.  An odd course of study but it makes sense as it sonically conveys the paradox of a Norwegian drawn to Brazilian witchcraft rather than something with a  Northern European current, making the album a metaphor for this. Odd pairings of dynamics that finds a song breaking down after four minutes to allow for the minimal strum of the guitar. They often linger in the shadows with moments like this rather than just going for the throat. 


The harsher vocals are like the raspy whisper of a witch calling out from the woods. Rather than getting into the lyrics and the occult musings this album explores, I am just going to focus on the music. I do appreciate the enthusiasm invested in energy-wise the rituals of sound taking place here and do share my affinity for spiritual darkness, even if not on the same current I pursue. I admire the lust for results that sets this album in motion.  The second song broods further into the darkness, even when the more aggressive elements crash in. The writhing pulse of the riff was working well without having to build into blast beats, but it’s black metal which that can sometimes be obligatory. The drummer is pretty impressive, even when he defaults to blast beats. 



The sinister ambiance haunting the songs is the most inspired creative decision made. Though this album will fully satisfy fans of conventional black metal, who might find this to be left of center for them, the songs breathe with a manic ebb and flow and make the most of the sinister ambiance as heard on the title track which brings forth the clang of even more eerie guitar chords ringing out. The build works off a throbbing tension, just when it seems the drums are going to be allowed to wreak havoc they ebb things down. This makes for one of the album’s strongest moments and something that would have been better capitalized upon. That way when things erupt into blazing-fast tremolo picking, the stage is set to create more contrast. 


Often a feral explosion suffices with songs like  ‘Evig Dissonans’, which blasts by with reckless abandon.  Cleanish singing surfaces but sits way back in the mix. Their formula for black metal works more effectively with the chugging to “Fall of Seraphs’ reminds you there is a more effective sort of way to go about this. The vocals retain more depravity in their exclamations. This makes up for some of the more traditional thrashing coming from the guitars. 


The sounds collected on this album do serve as the appropriate backdrop for the exploration of witchcraft Blasphemer has embarked upon. At times it meets the expectations of black metal, by blasting along with the thrashing fury from which the genre was spawned from. Obviously, his time spent in Mayhem was a learning experience, with the lessons still unfolding in this album.  If you are a huge Mayhem fan then obviously going to be a must, as it’s familiar, but not a slave to that sound. Not trying to be true Norwegian Black Metal or adhere to any standards of his homeland, yet they are imprinted on his soul which he pours out to the best of his ability here. Passion is one of the keystones of black metal, which is what this album is full of even when diverting from tradition. 


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8 / 10