Release DetailsLABEL Tribunal
RELEASED ON 5/11/2004
Age of Ruin
Black Sands of the Hourglass
posted on 4/2004 By:
First off, for fans of the band that are in the know, this is not their new Eulogy Recordings album. This is actually a remastered rerelease of their self-produced debut album, with a couple of bonus tracks tacked on at the end, including an unexpected Bon Jovi(!) cover. Anyway, Age of Ruin is a Washington DC-area metalcore outfit, and at least on this initial recording, they play a thick, doomy version of the typical Gothenburg-inspired core sound. They bring plenty of stomp, and come off as a more tortured-sounding Darkest Hour. As with any first recording, there are some promising songs, as well as filler songs.
I haven’t heard the original pressing of Black Sands of the Hourglass, but the production on this remaster is passable. The guitar distortion is fuzzy as hell, but it doesn’t detract that much from the songs. From my understanding, a remastered recording basically means that they took the original master tapes and just touched them up with a new mix. In which case, I think this is more a case of not having much to work with in the first place. On the other hand, when they work an acoustic guitar into unexpected places, it’s mixed prominently and clearly. The singer (who I think has since been replaced) shifts slightly between a raspy, black metal cadence, and a raspy growl.
At this point in their development, the band seemed somewhat torn between writing pit-pleasing crushers, or desperation-laden, droning dirges. To their credit, their mosh songs are more than effective, similar to the sound played by Dead to Fall and others. Songs like “Blacksunrise”, “Cracks in the Mirror”, and “Withered Rose” like to give a little buildup before setting it off. “The Icarus Syndrome” is a fine song that shows their love for the In Flames style that’s sweeping American metal nowadays. It’s the droning, doomy material like “Shadows Cast in Candlelight” and “Echoes in Stained Glass” that I feel leads this album astray. But that doesn’t really matter because they seem to have phased this out on the newer material I’ve heard.
If you’re a new fan of Age of Ruin, then perhaps this rerelease will give you some perspective as to where they’ve come from., but be warned that this isn’t the slick, melodious metalcore that they’re currently writing. Personally, I’ll be waiting to hear their new release, even if it does appear that they are headed in a direction that many new bands are already traveling.
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