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In Ruins

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Biography

In Ruins began as a series of basement demos recorded by founder/mastermind J. Michael in 1994, while the Reading, PA, native was still fronting the local metal outfit Inner Sanctum. Working on his own with a sequencer, Michael laid the sonic foundations for In Ruins with an EP of textural, gothic black metal that was released under the moniker Black Thorns in 1996. The demo, which bred the influence of classic brutal metal (Venom, Celtic Frost) with more classically tilted European metal atmospherics, received a notable amount of praise from the underground metal press, including Metal Maniacs and Sounds of Death. The album also ultimately drew the interest of Metal Blade records, who signed Black Thorns (now re-christened In Ruins) to a multi-album deal in 1998.

Michael, primarily a guitarist and vocalist, assembled a live band, including bassist Jason and drummer Sean James, and entered a Reading studio to record In Ruins' full-length debut. The album, titled Four Seasons of Grey, was released by Metal Blade in August of 1998. It included revamped versions of each of the Black Thorns originals, such as "Vampire, Garden of Thorns" and "Beyond the Black Lake," and appended three new tracks.

After a period of relative inactivity, including only sporadic live performances, In Ruins split with Metal Blade in 2001.