To me, Death Metal is one of the most interesting genres in metal, let alone music as a whole. One the one hand, you have so many great, innovative bands that truly shape and dictate the genre, such as Fallujah, Rivers of Nihil and Archspire, to old school bands like Death, Cannibal Corpse and Obituary. However, as with any genre, it isn’t always good, with a huge influx of bands rehashing, reusing and recycling the sound, to the point where the listener in question would kind of feel pressured to sit through. Unfortunately, Ruin, is one of those bands.
Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t necessarily dislike it. There were a lot of memorable moments throughout the American quintet’s latest release, Human Annihilation, most notably their songwriting abilities and talents. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but I do feel like the production of the record really let down what could have been a very promising album, with the drums sounding muffled and the guitar tones atrociously sounding like they’ve been put through a BOSS Death Metal pedal.
Like I said previously, I do believe that what saved the band and the album was the overall songwriting and musicianship. The opening track to the album, “Secreted Guts” definitely proved to me that they’re a talented band who, production wise, maybe didn’t make the best choice. The track showcased the band’s promising songwriting abilities, with smooth tempo changes, a fair amount of variety and very easy structure that adds a good punch.
“Corpse Infestation”, track 3 on Human Annihilation, also provided memorable moments of songwriting abilities, showcasing Ruin’s ability with mixing it up musically. Beginning with a gloomy sample that provides an eerie ambience, the band quickly show that they’re ready to go, with a hardcore influenced beat performed by drummer D-Muerte and very interesting riffs composed by guitarists Carsen Stix and Destroy. Vocalist Mihail Jason Satan also provides an interesting take on his vocals, focusing more on his ear piercing highs than his semi mediocre lows, which allowed for more variety and an overall captivating performance.
The most interesting track on the album however, is “Death Meditation Trance”, the 4th track on Human Annihilation. The atmosphere of the track at the start definitely sets an eerie, mournful ambience, and when the instruments eventually come in, it maintains that ambience with the instrumentals performing at an incredibly slow tempo (I think it’d be around 70bpm), and it allows for a bit of a break from just constant blast beats and tremolo. However, this is a death metal song after all, so what kind of death metal song wouldn’t have blast beats and tremolo? They add in that classic flavour towards the end of the track, but they did so in a way that it doesn’t feel forced or unnecessary, rather adding to the funeral-esque vibe of the track.
Another thing that impressed me about the album was performance by bassist Spine, where he was (fortunately) audible and was able to, in some moments, shine and work out of the box. Again, the production completely butchered all hopes of me truly enjoying it, as the bass was turned up so high that I could hear it more prominently than guitarists Carsen Stix and Destroy, which in turn didn’t took away from the vibe and barely made their performances audible.
While the Death Metal quintet shows huge promise in songwriting and creativity, the old school styled production on Ruin’s upcoming album, Human Annihilation, unfortunately brings down the quality of what could have been a very interesting record. I do have high hopes in the future, that Ruin go to a better sound engineer/producer and produce some quality Death Metal.
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