|Band:||The Howling Void|
|Title:||The Triumph Of Ruin|
This is the fifth studio album in almost ten years by The Howling Void, solo project created by the Texan multi-instrumentalist R. (aka Ryan Wilson), and also the fifth time we review his work on Aristocrazia Webzine. His latest appearance was at the beginning of 2015 when Bosj introduced to you the re-release of the EP "Runa", which signaled the beginning of the cooperation between the band and the Italian label Avantgarde Music: "The Triumph Of Ruin" is the first full-length work produced with them.
Let's start by saying that personally I did not think The Howling Void was a standout in the music scene, as the character and inspiration conveyed by his records have rarely shown sparks of something much different from the norm. Nevertheless, I must admit that this new release came as a pleasant surprise and I can finally reconsider my view about his work. The shorter duration of the entire work had already given out some hints of the new direction taken, but the opener "Lords Of Barren Fields" made things quite clear from the start: Ryan decided to proceed — more in terms of artistic growth than in terms of style — on the path of individual elevation suggested in "Runa" but then partially ignored in "Nightfall". The evolution process started in the EP finally shows some tangible results: it is clear that this is a more mature and solid project, with consistent foundations and led by a musician who has finally found his realm, lighting a spark that had remained covered by a cloak of artistic immobility for too long.
"The Looming Darkness", "Where Once A River Flowed", and "Silence After The Storm" all prove that Ryan decided to take things much more seriously, perhaps also subconsciously acknowledging the change of label. The rhythm section is more relevant than before, while the notable work on keyboards perfectly matches the guitars, unravelled through hazy and atmospheric melodies and the massive riffs that make up the structure of the record's more muscular sections. The whole work is then accompanied by a more expressive vocal performance, that still never gets out of the canon made of foggy and appealing disillusion, solemn laments and conscious spiritual agonies, melted in a tumultuous ocean of corrosive and grim affliction.
The instrumental "The Nine Worlds Wept" makes a perfect example of the fundamental features of a valuable effort: here we can perceive the ability to recreate a vaguely moving atmosphere, thanks to the relatively simple and linear pattern obtained by the weaving of keyboards, violin, guitar, and drums. The lucid suffering and melancholy here brought to life are the perfect setting for fueling and sublimating the climax of a compact tracklist, with very few — and frankly negligible — flaws and many good qualities.
Thus, "The Triumph Of Ruin" is a work that could really represent a turning point in Ryan's career, as this time The Howling Void seems to have reached a stage frankly difficult to predict after "Nightfall". Fortunately, he managed to put up a great performance that —despite the mediocrity heard in the past — brought solid composition skills and a notable inspiration to the table, and we all hope he will be able to keep up the good work in the future. For now, a round of applause!