Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ruin - "Drown in Blood" (Memento Mori, 2017)

Band: Ruin
Title: Drown in Blood
Genre: Death/Doom Metal
Year: 24th April 2017
Time: 36 min
Rating: 72/100

There are very young bands like the Canadians Tomb Mold that are able to become a true cult into the underground after only two demos. And there are bands like the Californians Ruin that managed to release a demo in the early '90s (in 1991, precisely) only to end their experience after that until to literally resurrect from the ashes in these last years (in 2015, precisely). But the story of Ruin is truly particular: in fact, they are considered by their label Memento Mori as a very mysterious band because, in according to it, the members of Ruin were involved in a some kind of cult but there is no way to knowing something about this cult. But this isn't enough: it seem also that the band existed in a period so short (from 1990 to 1991) because some its members were incarcerated while other ones were even instituzionalized! The fact is that the 2015 marked the return of Ruin under the shape of a trio guided by the only survived member of the original band that is Mihail Jason Satan, a singer/guitarist masked and armed with a rifle or a pickaxe as a serial killer from a slasher movie, and this is surely a strange look for every classic death metal band. They shown a good prolificity since their return into the scene considering that they have released even 3 splits from 2016 to 2017. And now, after many many efforts, they realized finally the milestone of their debut album with "Drown in Blood", recorded, anyway, with a line-up of only two elements without (if I am not mistaken) a bassplayer. Other bio infos about Ruin are unknown also because they haven't a FB page but simply instead to having a BandCamp profile and nothing more. On the other hand, their music will talk to us for them.

"Drown in Blood", introduced by a fantastic cover artwork made by the Spanish artist Cesar Valladares (yet known on these pages for his work on "Asphyxiating Devotion" of Ekpyrosis), isn't a very amazing album and is neither full of brilliant solutions but I have to say that it does its duty very well. In fact, Ruin plays a very dark death metal with a raw and sick aura through 8 new songs where abyssic doom torments (yet listenable since the opening track "Crawling Through the Vomit") are combined often with scrappy crust punk parts so to make more intense and wilder songs like "Sewer". Then, Ruin are also able to gloat on the listeners with some right doses of blast-beats, and this happens especially in "Spread Plague Hell", a song that I consider not only like the most violent one of the entire album but also the most particular due to its strong black metal influences, instead absent into the rest of "Drown in Blood". But it is also true that the doomish parts are so many and oppressive that the style of Ruin could be described easily as "death/doom metal". Anyway, I think that both the crust punk and the black metal influences aren't a case into the Ruin because the drummer David plays also in a punkish black metal band called Oscuros.

Concerning the raw and sick aura of the death metal played by Ruin, it is emphasized notably by the vocals of the same Mihail Jason Satan, a singer that spew forth morbid growls combining them with awfully pathologic screams while, in other moments, his voice remind me a butchered pig. All this is perfect for a band that want to "reduce this world to nothing" so to "erase all signs of life" (from the lyrics of "Rancid Death"). For the rest, Mihail is good also as a guitarist creating very dark riffs but spitting out only few guitar solos throughout the album.
Now, a strange feature of "Drown in Blood" is that its 8 songs are connected between them through their intros. In fact, each intro is a sort of continuation of the very last seconds of the previous song, and these intros can last even for an entire minute. In addition of this, they are very particular because they range from spoken parts to a sore man singing a kind of blues (like in the conclusive number that it is the same titletrack) also with some ambient effects. I'd be curious to know the reasons behind these stylistic choices about the structure of the album, so they will be a matter of interest in a possible interview to Ruin...but I think it's very difficult to do considering their fame...

In brief, the songs of Ruin are played with simplicity and rawness and without real surprises through their very morbid and oppressive death/doom metal clearly influenced a lot by bands like Autopsy, Cianide and Bolt Thrower, and hitting the listeners especially with episodes like "Sewer" and "Spread Plague Hell", both emphasized by a scrappy crust punkish intensity. It's a shame for the absence of the bass because it could be useful to add more depth to the entire music, also because Ruin aren't a band like Bölzer that, instead, are very able to create true monuments full of details without needing a bassplayer. But fuck that, Ruin are Ruin and they are back with a CRUELTY THAT WILL HAUNT YOU!!!


1 - Crawling Through the Vomit
2 - Nightmares in a Void
3 - Sewer
4 - The Thirst for Annihilation
5 - Torture is Heaven
6 - Rancid Death
7 - Spread Plague Hell
8 - Drown in Blood


Mihail Jason Satan - vocals/guitars
David - drums

Memento Mori:

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