Ground of Ruin
Cloaked In Doctrine
Released: 2008, Self- Produced
The legion of young bands that continue to resurrect past sounds and mold them into something modern has ushered in an exciting period for metal. Ground of Ruin is a young thrash band from Ireland with a definite leaning towards the Black metal side of things. The band formed in 2003 and has released numerous demos, promotional CDs, and 3 EPs while opening for bands like Destruction and Onslaught.
CLOAKED IN DOCTRINE is a self-produced four track EP that combines thrash elements, with a mix of progressive metal and black metal ingredients. With only four tracks, the band decides to throw the kitchen sink into the CD, combining progressive metal’s penchant for complicated riffs, multiple tempo changes, and extended song lengths (two tracks are over seven minutes) with a thrash style of drumming and a black/thrash metal hybrid vocal style. Perhaps because so much is crammed into each song, the overall focus of the songs suffers somewhat, a point of reference being JUSTICE-era Metallica, where the album starts to sound like a collection of riffs sandwiched together to form songs. There is no denying that the guys can play, however, and the riffs are actually pretty damn catchy.
“Upon The 13th Hour” is an atmospheric acoustic intro, not really a good indicator of the songs that are about to be unleashed, but nevertheless a decent tune. Up next is the title track, “Cloaked in Doctrine,” and yeah this is more like it. The opening riff is fast and fairly catchy, and the fast strummed power chord rhythms are reminiscent of Slayer’s SHOW NO MERCY. Tempos suddenly change and slow down to allow for a harmonized guitar section before blasting back into a fast tempo and then slowing down once again. David Hynes shows some versatility with his vocals on this and the next track, “Burning The Olive Branch,” capable of sounding like Vorphalack of Samael in one passage and Anders Fridén of In Flames in the next section. Hynes can also hit the deep bowel grind vocals patented by Chuck Billy. The EP concludes with another technical mosher, “Beneath Contempt,” which showcases the band’s uncompromising commitment to precision and brutality and has enough hooks to keep people interested through its seven minute length.
Considering the fact that CLOAKED IN DOCTRINE is self-produced, it sounds amazing. Ground of Ruin have combined elements from thrash metal’s golden era with modern black metal sounds but are much more melodic than most thrash or black metal bands. While lacking a bit of focus and piling on too many riffs in each song, this EP is technically precise, aggressive, and worthy of respect. Sure, most of this has been done before, and perhaps the main weakness of overloading each song stems from their ambition and desire to prove their mettle. Nevertheless, CLOAKED IN DOCTRINE is an album from a band that has all the tools to make an impact on the metal world.