Ruin - Human Annihilation - (8.5/10)
Published on November 1, 2018
We all knew that one kid in school who always took it too far. One kid would jump off of the stage in the school auditorium, so this kid would jump off the roof holding an umbrella. When Sarah gave someone a wet willy, this kid would lick someone’s cheek. And when Jimmy picked his nose and ate it for laughs, this kid snot rocketed on the ground and licked it up. Ruin is that kid in death metal form. He’s that kid covered in scabs that pus; he’s that kid who has lost the little bit of shame he had left. He has taken it as far as it will go, and now, he’s content.
Ruin continues along the same path laid out on their great debut album from last year, Drown in Blood. This path leads down into the sewers, it’s covered in slime and it stinks—bad. It singes your nosehairs and you’re positive that you should get a tetanus shot afterwards—and probably get checked for STDs just for good measure. It’s a dark and twisted path, and it’s not for everyone. You have to be willing to put up with a little….filth. But if you’re willing to get a little dirt under your nails, Ruin has what you’re looking for in spades.
Ruin is similar to that class of modern death metal band that takes a simpler, more pummeling approach. They’re not worried about technical riffage or labyrinthine song structures. They want to beat you into the dirt with the sheer force of their disgusting will. It’s kind of like an even simpler version of Undergang if they listened to a lot of Infester. Ruin use lots of no-nonsense bonehead riffs that are incredibly detuned to create a simple, crushing, claustrophobic sound. The bass is almost absurdly distorted and doubles the riffs to create a massive sound in the riffs—and since the guitars are tuned so low, it’s almost hard to tell where the six strings end and the four strings begin. The drumming isn’t flashy either—lots of d-beats to enhance the ignorance of some of the riffs, blasts to make the tremolo riffs all the more forceful. Mikhail Jason Satan’s vocals, which are somehow natural, somehow this guy makes those sounds come out of his face, are completely putrid and vicious. On top of the base savagery in his vocals, he’s got a phlegmy, throaty thing going on that makes his voice sound almost insanely menacing. All of this combines to create a disgustingly gross smorgasbord of death metal goodness.
There’s not a ton of variation in the sound here, but what the album lacks in variation it makes up for in commitment. Everything is performed with total and utter abandon. And like most really gross death metal, this album is a lot of fun. Though some songs come across as utterly unsettling—take for example, the doomy, eerie album centerpiece, “Death Meditation Trance”—others come across as just a goofy good time. A couple songs, namely “Savage Mutilation” and “The Embrace of Demons,” remind me of Nunslaughter’s “Raid the Convent” in that they sound almost like nursery rhymes of gore and murder. Many of the shorter songs alternate frequently between ultra-fun d-beat power chord sections, psychotic blast-beat tremolo parts, and crushing, slow, palm-muted stomps. This is the tried and true formula utilized for pretty much every sub-3 minute song on the album, and it helps to keep you on your toes through the consistent muck that Ruin treads through. The album ends with the most experimental track—relatively, of course, since Ruin are not “out there” in any sense. And essentially the experimentation comes down to using clean guitars backed by the death rattle bass as the intro to the song. The lead guitar plays an almost taunting, creepy lead that somehow comes across as the most disturbing thing on the album .Then Ruin fall back into their comfort zone to finish off the album on a note of absolute rage and grime.
Ruin do not reinvent any death metal wheels. They take all the most extreme elements of death metal, throw their skulls in a pot to boil off the flesh, and end up with its most basic and primal elements. They use these to great effect to produce a nasty, fun, and incredibly heavy death metal album. And though it doesn’t stand as tall as most of the death metal albums released this year, it knows exactly who it is and it’s not ashamed to let it all out there—just like that gross kid you knew in school.