If you checked out my last review for Ogre then you’ll already know what to expect here with Orodruin. I’m not quite sure how you pronounce that, so it’s a good thing that these are written reviews and not audio reviews, as some people may think we’re about to start doing. Regardless of that, Orodruin craft a type of stoner doom that while capturing a similar style of jazz and blues influence that you’d expect with the former, seem to also embody a lot of classic heavy metal and folk elements here that weren’t necessarily present on Thrice As Strong. I’d also consider the production quality to be much better and the frontman’s vocals to be a hell of a lot more powerful. This guy is so great in fact, that I felt I would mention him by name! Mike Puleo is the gentleman in question, but he also handles the drums and bass on the disc, which almost makes him a one-man band. Though that isn’t the case as there are two respective guitarists in play here, John Gallo and Nick Tydelski. I definitely say that the three of them share a great sort of chemistry and that works exceptionally well on what I would consider to be an epic themed disc, reminding me even a little of Pallbearer, which I’d say despite the nay-saying of nay-saying doom purists, is a great thing. Here, the vocals actually provide a heft to the musicianship, making Puleo more of a force than you’d even begin to imagine. I wouldn’t consider the atmosphere to be quite so sullen though, despite the fact that there is that obvious doom thump that some people always think accompanies a morose performance. “Letter Of Life’s Regret” however, might just be one of those very songs in question. I see it as a sort of outcry, where a man bears his soul before the listener just before one of a few potent guitar solos kick in to give us the sound that made heavy metal so notable in it’s very intimacy.
Sure, Tony Iommi could have sued nearly all of the bands in heavy metal if he wanted to, but being the very humbled and good-natured Brit that he is, I personally think the man is just glad that something he wasn’t really sure was going to become a very big thing back in the seventies grew to become one of the largest genres in the history of music. I would also say that it has more sub-genres than any music to date, even though that is growing exponentially with the amount of zoomers coming of age and continuing the genre classification that my generation so foolishly began a couple of decades ago. And to Gen X, Orodruin would quite simply be considered “doom metal” and to the boomers “rock n’ roll.” Even so, this record is testament that even fifty years later, the genre that started it all is still kicking and sounding very much the same as it always has. That’s a rarity in itself, really. Very few artists out there stick directly to their roots and I think that’s something that the underground does very well – it allows these guys to make the kind of music they want, undisturbed by mainstream record execs looking to make a buck. I’m not sure who runs Cruz Del Sur, which is the band’s current label; but I know for sure that they don’t tell their artists to add core breakdowns and autotuned vocals. I can only hear so many grown men sound like robots at one time, you know. If they’re going to make them sound like robots, they may as well use fucking robots. But that’s a rant for another time.
Simply put, Orodruin create heavy metal, doom metal, rock n’ roll or whatever else you want to call it – the way that grandma used to make. There’s something about this sound that is just timeless and unlike the current pop scene which seeks to reinvent the wheel once every few years, bands like this know that their fans would be pretty upset if they strayed too far from what works. Ruins Of Eternity simply works, which is why you can listen to it again and again without complaint. There’s just something about Orodruin’s organic sound that speaks volumes and with a near-perfect production job, the record comes off just as crisp as it should. There’s no real point in putting out a record where instruments are difficult to discern or the vocals are completely buried in the mist somewhere. In my opinion, this decision alone is what made Orodruin a standout and hopefully we’ll hear greater things to come from them in the future – but it’s pretty damn stellar and I don’t know how they’ll ever top Ruins Of Eternity. This what doom should be, so check it out.
(9 Tracks, 47:00)