This will wipe the smile off your face. I don’t mean that this is one of those suicidal bottle of vodka and a razorblade affairs more like in the way that you sit up and take note when a Puff Adder slithers into your barbeque.
This is a solemn procession through the darkest emotions. It is delivered, by and large, at a marching pace with the boots stamping over the whole parade ground. The sound is nothing but wall to wall and suitably rock hard. The less is more ethos is at play here so that though the production is full, it is achieved with minimalist instrumentation and sophistication has been shown the door.
Opener “Doomsdaylight” puts you in no doubt as to what to expect through the course of the album. Emphatic but simple guitars and a meaty bass punch the tune into your head whilst the lyrics are a grim mantra that, though dour, are insistent. Drums batter away steadily beating their tattoo. There is plenty of cold groove running through this collection of the down beat (but not down trodden.) If you want a picture painting, imagine latter-day FORGOTTEN TOMB crossed with mid period DARKTHRONE all with the remote severity of A.N. Keyboards are used sparingly mainly to enhance the bleakness of the songs.
RUTTHNA allow themselves a brief increase of pace for the start of “Season Of Huge Mortality” which lets loose a hefty rapid fire salvo before the debris clears to allow the music to quick march over the shell craters. Again the cold string synth paints it black, suppressing the urge to smile at the pleasure of the solid gunnery of the guitars. Doomier moments persist throughout “Doomsdaylight,” they are mainly used to add contrast to the trotting severity swallowing the light elsewhere.
At times this album gives me the impression of what LIMBONIC ART’s “Ad Noctum” album would have sounded like if they had been on Mogodon. There is a hint of otherworldly coldness to their style that may put off some listeners and it takes a few listens to engage with the band here. The dispassionate nature is off-set by the accessibility of the chord-work. This is particularly evident on the remastered “The Fifth Angel” which originates from their demo, as does the final track.
There is much to recommend on “Doomsdaylight” and little to detract from the listening experience. A tad more variety might not go amiss but too much would conflict with the starkness that is part and parcel of RUTTHNA’s identity. Piling on the disdain as they do, I suggest you allow the rot to set in. (Online October 30, 2005)