Vermilia – Ruska (Review)

Vermilia - RuskaThis is the second album from Vermilia, a one-woman black metal band from Finland.

Sometimes you happen upon an album that instantly strikes you as something exceptional. Ruska is exactly one such album. It delivers a 37-minute album of pagan and folk black metal; this simple description does not even begin to do justice to Vermilia’s work though.

The songs mix pagan and folk elements into a blackened whole with skill and grace. The folk elements tastefully enhance the music, never becoming too much or twee. I’m not the biggest folk fan, so when I say this is good, you’d better believe it.

The artist behind Vermilia has a keen grasp of songwriting that emphasises emotion and feeling. The music’s atmospheric depths and emotive qualities are well-realised, whether this is through the gorgeous clean vocals, the embedded introspective folk sections, or the raw blackened distortion. The artist’s skill at melding the cold blackened core of the music with vibrant melody, atmospheric potency, and folk elegance should not be underestimated. Her talent is phenomenal.

The well-crafted songs scar deep, with spectral venom and feather-light sharpness. The combination of ethereal beauty and corrupting darkness enhance each other spectacularly so, resulting in epic songs that will have you firmly entranced. Weaving dark magics around themselves while presenting a vision of black metal that’s intoxicating in its absorbing nature, Vermilia’s songs are utterly compelling.

There really is something special about Ruska. This is black metal with heart, one that’s surrounded by jagged spikes and wicked barbs, but is still blessed by such an abundance of rich emotion that the two aspects together are ridiculously good.

I wasn’t at all prepared for how good Ruska is. It is just a top quality album in every respect. Ruska is an album of beauty and depth wrapped in a shroud of black metal darkness. This album has absolutely floored me.

Hail Vermilia!

Essential listening.

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