Ruadh – Sovereign

Band: Ruadh
Title: Sovereign
Label: Northern Silence Productions
Release date: 12 April 2019
Country: Scotland
Format reviewed: Digital Promo

“Everything between the creation and the next destruction is the journey of life”

The most important aspect of music to me is that I can always visualize this never-ending journey of life through music. Every musical creation is a tale of life. Sometimes the tale is full of agony, sometimes it’s about nihilism and rage, sometimes it’s about jubilation, sometimes it’s about nostalgia. And then there are some creations which can integrate all these “feelings” and make something synchronous, something special. There are some musical adventures which will drag you to the darkest pit of helvete in one moment, then bring you back to the lustrous tranquility of paradise in the next moment. This sense of fickleness makes adventures even more captivating. And if black metal is your preferred landscape to make these enrapturing adventures, it’s time to get lost in the mesmerizing artistry of RUADH. This solo atmospheric black metal project of Tom Perrett released its’ debut album “Sovereign'” on 12th April via Northern Silence Productions and boy oh boy what an awe-inspiring surprise it has been. Tom said that the music and lyrics of RUADH focus on nature, history, mythology and you will feel this connection throughout this album. The term “Ruadh” actually means “red” which is a tribute to his home town of Rutherglen in Scotland which is also known as “Ruadh ghleann”.

Being from the UK, the expected comparisons with Saor, Winterfylleth have been drawn. But I think RUADH has established its’ own identity with this stunning release. While Saor and Winterfylleth emphasize more on the folksy, dreamy, ambient atmosphere, RUADH is much darker, much more heavy and groovy. But that does not mean in any way that the serene, soporific atmosphere is not there. RUADH does not use flutes or bagpipes like Saor but there will be some drowning, spellbinding synth layers throughout this album. Though i find the use of synth to be too much in some atmospheric black metal bands where sometimes it seems like they forgot about that thing called guitar, that’s not the case here at all. Whenever you will start thinking that there is too much synth, too much calm… RUADH will punch you with some raucous, callous, heavy riffing and entrancing tremolo trips. And There will be a cry of raindrops & lament of wind which will take the journey to whole new dimensions. You’ll feel that from the start of the album.

“Where I Belong” starts with some hypnotic atmosphere of synth, raindrops falling and a drum pounding sound which will take you somewhere back in ancient times. Then some bewitching tremolo melodies and blast beats will bring you back to reality. The snare sound in those blast beats may seem faint to you, but that dark, pastel sound makes the drum fills in every interval even more breathtaking. Then the distortion goes away for a little and the burking, growling, resentful, sorrowful voice of Tom bursts in with some clean, dewy guitar melodies. It’s not the typical black metal vocal, it’s like Johan Hegg singing black metal. “Where I Belong” is really an epic and emotional rollercoaster with many changes in tempo and phase. You have to just close your eyes and flow with the riffs, the tremolos, the synth, and the raindrops. “Sovereign” starts in the same vein with some more meditative, mesmerizing melodies tangled with some murky, obtrusive riffing. Those hymning, chanting voices in the background will bring you back to some ancient place in ancient times again. Then there will be storm again and then calm again-as I mentioned, there will be a sprightly celebration of creation and requiem of destruction simultaneously. “Waiting” is another epic journey. That breakdown in the middle of that journey with some ocean waves, little acoustics, gloomy synth, and absorbing violin is really something inimitable.“A quiet place” is just like the title suggests… gripping synth, birds singing, raindrops falling…it’s moments like this when you can’t distinguish music and nature. But you can’t get lost for too long as “We’ll rise again” kicks off with some whipping, pounding riffage attack and then proceeds to typical RUADH magnetizing, divine melodies…then some more destruction and finally violin and raindrops & thunders to start quite a thrilling ending. It’s surely the heaviest track of the album. “Under its branches” is a very fitting farewell track which will make you wander through dream, despair, grief, anger, nature, life for the one final time. Just listen to that drum rolls in the middle and keep looking at that extraordinary album cover…the story of creation and destruction in planet earth since the dawn of time unfolding in front of you in the form of atmospheric fucken black metal.

So this album is a great journey to the horizons of Scottish melancholy and Scandinavian misanthropy. It’s dusky yet it’s ethereal, it’s mirthful yet it’s mournful. It’s esoteric, it’s aesthetic, it’s RUADH. 9.5/10 Apollo

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9.5/10 Epic Storm
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