If Shape of Despair had followed up 'Shades of...' with the brilliant formula they created, it probably would've sounded strikingly similar Ankhagram's 'Under Ruins'. This album brings to mind the similarities that Ashes You Leave's debut had to the My Dying Bride's 'As the Flower Withers'. However this isn't out and out plagiarism but it is pretty damn close.
This one man Russian powerhouse hit things off right with his third release. Surprisingly good production helps bring each song to its full potential. The slow chugging guitars contrast nicely with feedback laden droning dirges. There are no real solos but there are some mournful leads. The keyboards provide a sufficient if buried atmospheric backbone to each song.
The music is beautiful and doesn't lack for much of anything. The subject matter is akin to its forefathers and is delivered with decidedly better growls than the aforementioned. The music itself, tranquil in its delivery, does well to lull the listener into a peaceful if dark state of mind. Building on its borrowed foundation the band does well to fuse small amounts of drone with their more unique funeral structures. The long sustained passages are both dark and oddly uplifting; something highly original to Ankhagram.
The songs are heavy but tempered with enough melody to make them more accessible than your average funeral doom band. Soft piano notes play damning patterns under despondent riffs. This isn't as keyboard/effects heavy as his later work which is a nice change to his more orchestrated albums. The songs are slow with mid(up)-tempo bits here and there. Shining hope into the darkest most inhospitable of abysses.
This is a band (project) that has a vast amount of untapped potential and continually delivers high quality doom metal and is one to watch. This band would appeal to fans of atmospheric doom.