The much anticipated ‘Last Light’ album finally emerged earlier this month, and goddamn has it been worth the long wait. Like all good appetisers, the ‘Enlightened’ EP was over much too quickly, and brought with it a sense of great expectation but equally trepidation.
Although the advance tracks – ‘Care Of The Dead’ and ‘In Suffering’ – unquestionably hinted at greater songwriting maturity and the fact that For Ruin have grown together as a band over the last couple of years, they were so good that one wondered if John Murphy and co. might not just have picked out the best tracks and set the bar a little too high.
Given the care John has taken over the release of this album it should have been obvious though there was never a chance of that happening.
As the instrumental intro ‘Enlightened’ starts to get the blood pumping for the first time before rolling into the now familiar ‘Care…’ that nagging sense of ‘can it get better than this?’ re-emerges, but ‘Decline’ quickly wipes any doubts aside. The third song on ‘Last Light’ is as good again as either of the advance tracks, and might just be even better. It showcases influences as varied as Rotting Christ in the pregnant interlude in the final third of the song, Death in some of the guitar harmonies and Amorphis in the melodies.
It’s not just the one more song, though; it’s a constant feature of ‘Last Light’ that, just when the listener thinks the pinnacle has been reached, there’s more to come. After a few shaky opening seconds, ‘Recoil’ is yet another powerful outing; as is the break-neck ‘Deluge; as is ‘Cold Call’ and not to mention the brilliant closer ‘Elysium’ (the latter two tracks with an unmistakable nod to early Paradise Lost simmering just beneath the surface).
From start to finish, the level of songwriting is consistently high, predominantly played at a pace just shy of blistering, but with plenty of room for well placed breaks, and melodies galore.
It’s proven incredibly hard to sit down and pen a review for ‘Last Light’ over the last few weeks, as the damn thing just doesn’t allow you to sit still and listen to it in a collected or considered way. It’s just that kind of album. The Cork boys have managed to create a thoroughly engrossing forty minute epic, in parts searing and full blooded and at other times dreamy, spine tingling and emotional.
As highlighted in the review of the EP, the production is still a little rough around the edges at times, but is a huge progression on ‘December’ and, as a result, For Ruin have finally managed to develop on the potential that’s been evident since the ‘Shade’ and ‘Obsidian’ demos.
For Ruin may have made ‘Last Light’ available as a free download via their website, but this is one album you really should fork out the few quid for, because it really is worth it.
4.6/5 – DBM ::: 20/10/09