Voices of Ruin is a melodic death metal band with strong heavy metal influences. Hailing from California, USA, they have been around for quite a while, since 2008 to be more specific, evolving from a band called Oblivion into this quintet. Rather than building an impressive discography, VOR chose to extensively tour instead, having shared stages with an impressive list of bands. On top of that they won the US Wacken Metal Battle in 2018, making it save to say they are quite capable musicians. Despite their busy touring schedule they have found enough time to complete their recently released third full-length called Path to Immortality. Responsible for this new splash of creativity are Dave Barrett as vocalist, Tom Barrett as lead guitarist, Steve Calton as rhythm guitarist, Wally Myers as bassist and Lonnie Van Horn as drummer.
After a rather relaxed instrumental intro that spans one and a half minute, the fire of Path to Immortality gets ignited with Carved Out, a great, accessible sounding opener to get in the mood right away. The plentiful rhythm changes combined with the great vocal-guitar tandem creates a sound that must ring at least some bells of familiarity with most (classic) death metal fans. Not that it’s a tacky copy of the sound of any of the other, more well-known bands in the genre, not at all even, but it definitely breathes recognition. A sweet start. The title song, next on the list, brings more darkened tunes, it all sounds a bit more mean and aggressive, as can be said from the following Suffering Silence with its howling guitars even though the intro initially puts you off track. Then it’s up to Reach Toward the Sky to impress the listener. The speedy start, providing Lonnie with a workout, dies out into a sensitive piece of guitar work, sound-wise similar to the intro, that is abruptly cut short when Dave grunts it to an end and the tasty death metal takes over control of the sound, something that is repeated later on in the song.
Next up is the rather pretentiously titled I am God which combines the by now familiar howling guitars, growling vocals and high-speed rhythm section once more. An excellent build up towards the albums only true point of rest, the instrumental that ends in a rather peaceful fashion, perfectly fitting the intro of the next song that is, equally fitting, titled Whispers. Did I say fitting? Well, at least it’s fitting if you limit yourself to listening to the first minute or so of the song. Dave’s voice can be described in many ways, but whispering is definitely not one of them. Whispers develops into a nice, heavy song where the sensitivity trick used in Reach Towards the Sky gets pulled from the hat again, including the sound-wise resemblance to the album opener. And here too it gets abruptly cut short, this time by a guitar riff. The two songs closing the album are, without devaluing in any way here, of the straightforward bang-your-head-along type, ending this album in style.
As you probably have concluded while reading this, the five year wait for this release has been more than worth it as far as I’m concerned. Admittedly there is nothing truly innovative to be found here, but that has never been nor will it ever be a condition to make awesome music. If you need proof of that, simply put this on and don’t forget to turn the volume up. Voices of Ruin delivers a treat to the ears with Path to Immortality, filled with all a death metal fan could wish for: Heaviness, variety, melody, power, howling guitars, strong vocals and a tight rhythm section. In fact, I am convinced most of the metal fans from other genres will find plenty to their liking as well. A definite candidate for a spot in my year list and most certainly recommended. Don’t hesitate when you get the chance to give this a spin!