INTERVIEW+ALBUM PREMIERE: U.S. Death Metal Band Ruin
Ruin’s debut full length has been a long time coming, with the U.S. death metal band having existed in the early 1990s for a year or two before lying dormant for the better part of two decades. The promo material for their debut full length ‘Drown in Blood’ (due out April 24th via Memento Mori) mentions periods of incarceration and institutionalization as one of the main reasons behind Ruin’s disappearance, but whatever the circumstances may be the band re-emerged in 2015 with the ‘Spread Plague Hell’ demo and released three splits shortly after. Now with the full length ready to unleash its nihilistic and filthy death metal on your ears in a little under a week’s time, we’re excited to premiere the album in its entirety.
I receive a lot of death metal promos on a weekly basis, but ‘Drown in Blood’ was a record that instantly grabbed my attention. In particular, the style that Ruin pulls from throughout their debut recalls some of the filthiest and grimiest American and European death metal bands out there, as the guitar and bass work is often so thick that it feels like you’re wading through layers of sludge and decaying bodies as you listen to it. This feels appropriate given not only the album’s title, but the fact that some of the songs incorporate sound clips that have serial killer ties and talk about the extinction of humanity. I’m sure many of you will point out that this isn’t exactly new territory for the genre, but what makes ‘Drown in Blood’ stand out for me is the way everything is integrated. Rather than incorporating these clips haphazardly, everything flows seamlessly from one song to the next and the riffs work in conjunction with them to create a truly nightmarish soundscape. Ruin also has some killer riffs in their repertoire, and there’s a great balance between faster attacks that bludgeon you with brute force and slower sections that let you drown in the grime and filth. Plus the vocals of MJS come through your speakers so distorted and abrasive that they sound downright inhuman at times. It’s damn appealing.
With the promo materials alluding to the Ruin members being part of what’s known as the ‘Ruin Cult’ and the band being shrouded in mystery, I decided to send some questions over to founder MJS to find out more. The answers certainly didn’t disappoint, and only add to the nihilism and darkness the album exudes. Turn up the volume and let Ruin’s filth overtake your existence as you read along! ‘Drown in Blood’ releases April 24th on Memento Mori.
Transcending Obscurity (Chris Dahlberg): Ruin existed briefly in the early 90s, going dormant for two decades before returning with the ‘Spread Plague Hell’ demo in 2015 along with some splits. Now you’re set to release your full length debut ‘Drown in Blood’. When did writing for the album begin, and do some of these songs date back to the 90s period of the band or were they all written recently?
Ruin (MJS): Yes, once we gained some creative and also “personal freedoms”, we were able to resurrect the Ruin corpse that was rotting and dead for so long. The filth that makes up ‘Drown in Blood’ began its putrid afterbirth right around the early period, during the twisted equinox, of 2016. Indeed some of the musical arrangements date back to the early 90s. Most of it was constructed during this modern era though.
TO: How did writing work for ‘Drown in Blood’? Did MJS handle the majority of the writing with the other members of the recording lineup contributing session work?
Ruin: I do create the vast majority of the music and atmosphere, sound-scapes that make up our plague transmissions for the maniacs of the underground to infect their ears by. D-Muerte(Drums) and I hammer out the main arrangements in our dungeon of death. Muerte always has killer ideas as far as where our arrangements go. Our sound engineer/atmosphere shaman Gareth Slaughter is CRUCIAL to the atmosphere and sound-scapes that are created as well. He is the technical genius of the proceedings. Also, Spine (Bass/Guitars) was a very valuable asset and member during the ‘Drown in Blood’ sessions with expert playing, ideas for adding layers/effects to our sound and attack. Especially since Destroy (Guitars) had to remain absent during this recording process due to incarceration. Karsten Brix slayed some fierce guitar solos during his time on the album. Sure, I write the material as a whole, yet this is a true cult effort, everyone contributes one way or another. Every member has a role and is just as important as I myself am. Without these maniacs, I would never be able to get Ruin anywhere else other than inside of my own head. I’m just a finger in a pair of deadly fists.
TO: ‘Drown in Blood’ has some audio clips of serial killers and other dark themes that stand out upon repeated listens. Can you tell us more about the clips used and how they tie into the lyrical content on the album?
Ruin: These “clips” that you speak of are a big part of what has been called “The Ruin Sound”. The themes that we are conveying are of darkness, murder and annihilation. So the sound “samples” are meant to add to the dark atmosphere of the death noise that is taking place. We understand thoughts of human annihilation, total death, mass murder, serial killings. Using these sounds in conjunction with the rotten death metal seemed like a crushing way to get our points across. Part of your question has told us that this has obviously worked. These sounds help get our sick thoughts inside of YOUR heads out there. They are picked VERY carefully and placed with deadly precision to add to the concept of death. I won’t get too far into what these clips are, where they come from, what they mean. etc… I will say that they do indeed match the lyrical concepts of each song, or the atmosphere of the music that is being performed.
TO: Metal Archives lists many of the members involved in the recording and live shows for Ruin as part of the “Ruin Cult”. Can you tell us more about this and your beliefs?
Ruin: WE, as a “Cult” feel that personal and political beliefs have NO connection to the music of DEATH FUCKING METAL. Especially OUR version of death metal. So I won’t get into our specific belief system or “doctrine” so to speak. You can say that we have a fond interest of all things occult related and we obviously tend to have a GREAT respect for the dark arts and also the “Left Hand Path”, the DARKER side of life. We soak up as much information and self-realization as we can. Mainly, but not limited to the Dark Arts. The Ruin Cult is a name for our underground organization. It’s a collective or “group” of like-minded individuals that come together for the common goal of devastation through “music”, as the entire Cult does revolve around Ruin itself. What does this mean exactly? Well, I will admit that we have been accused of being a “gang”, or a criminal organization. We have been called “Nomads” since the Ruin “home base” of operations seems to change regions of the United States from time to time. We are deep, we are many. Too many bands and artists these days feel the need to “take a stand” or send a message. The message that Ruin sends is of HUMAN ANNIHILATION. Many humans have become a disease that needs to be eradicated. Fuck politics. Fuck man made bullshit “religions”. This is all that I will state about this.
TO: The cover art, created by Cesar Valladares, is a perfect fit for ‘Drown in Blood’ as it has a very filthy and grotesque feel. Tell us more about working with Valladares and how he brought the ideas you had for the art to life.
Ruin: I couldn’t agree more! What a sickening display of repulsiveness ey? Hehe. Cesar is a truly disturbed individual. Raul/Memento Mori had mentioned/suggested Cesar for the task of creating the art for this project. I had always admired Cesar’s art work. I knew he could really bring to life our vision of what the music made us see. Once I was in contact with Cesar, I simply said “use your imagination” and make this corpse rise! I sent him the lyrics and rough versions of the songs. He then made ‘Drown in Blood’ inside his own head. I gave him full reign and let him create what HE thought of this disgusting universe. How HE saw it unfold. Cesar went BEYOND what we thought he would do. It was pure insanity! A true professional and a great human being that is NOT with the other large population of humanity that needs to be killed off. Cesar Valladares fucking RULES and we couldn’t have been more impressed by the job that he did on the art.
TO: Memento Mori has become one of the best labels out there for underground death metal. What made them the right label to collaborate with for ‘Drown in Blood’?
Ruin: Again, I couldn’t agree more! Memento Mori has risen to the true elite of death metal labels. Raul has been at it for years, even before the MM record label, working in the underground. It is great to see MM grow to the far reaches of this mud ball and have so many killer bands and albums coming our these days and over the last few years. MM has been underrated and undervalued. But that seems to be changing. Soon MM will be mentioned in the same breath as the larger labels both recent and in the past, that have unleashed death metal classics. Raul and I had been in contact in recent times and at some point we discussed working together, getting a Ruin release out there. It was rather simple actually. I think I can speak for both of us and say that it was a “no brainer” so to speak and we also both couldn’t be happier with the way things have gone and the SOON to be outcome of this ‘Drown in Blood’ platter of sickening disgust.
TO: With the album almost out, are there plans to bring your hellish, stomach turning death metal to the live stage in 2017?
Ruin: Ruin has already begun the live disgust assaults. We were able to join Gruesome and Skeletal Remains on a 2015 event. 2016 brought assaults with the likes of Come to Grief, Undergang, Warmaster, Spectral Voice, Infernal Conjuration, Skulls, Destroy Judas and others. Here this month in 2017 we have an assault with Asphyx and Gravehill. Later in the year we have an event with Heresiarch, Ritual Necromancy and Fallen Angel. A warning to ALL out there. Ruin is willing and ready to bring forth our puke infested, rotting fucking corpse of total death metal terror to ANY place on earth. We would obviously have to come up with arrangements, agreements and make some things fall into place. But we would be more than willing to spread our plague to ANY side of this rotting globe. Don’t be afraid of the darkness.
TO: Are there any plans to reissue the ‘Sickening Ruin’ demo?
Ruin: At this point and time, NO. Truth be told, the masters seem to be LONG gone, lost with the sands of time. It was just an old rehearsal tape type recording to be honest. We actually got lucky to get as good a sound on it as we did. The performance was most certainly HEAVY. Not far removed from what we are doing these days. I think we were more obsessed with death/doom back then, so that material was a bit slower in a few areas. But we shall see. The master tapes just MIGHT be in a storage facility or garage somewhere. If the demand increases, then we would look deeper into it. We NEVER say never. But now is the time to focus on newer material.
TO: Now that Ruin is fairly active again, is there any additional material already in the works?
Ruin: There is ALWAYS additional Ruin material “in the works”. I truly believe that if we weren’t able to massacre this dastardly death metal on a regular basis these days that we would be back in our SHU unit cells in state prison due to committing mass murder on a large scale. Or we would be dead in a ditch somewhere. That being said, we are already in the planning stages of full length album #2. We also have new songs ready to record for a future release to be spread around later in 2017 as well as more splits with liked minded bands/artists. Expect MANY releases from Ruin coming still in 2017, 2018 and beyond. We NEED to keep busy for survival purposes. For our survival AND yours.
TO: Is there anything else you’d like to say about ‘Drown in Blood’ or Ruin?
Ruin: A truly underrated part of our “Ruin Cult” are the record labels that help us spread our plague to the masses. ‘Drown in Blood’ was mainly orchestrated by Raul/Memento Mori, as our main contact and mastermind on the label end of things. MM is doing the CD release. But we also have Rodrigo/Blood Harvest doing the vinyl release of ‘Drown in Blood’. And we have a special cassette tape version that is being released by two great labels: Nero One Records and Von Frost Records are working in conjunction together to get this tape out there. I don’t think that there is much more to add about this album or Ruin. I would just say to everyone that you might have some nightmares after listening to ‘Drown in Blood’. You will need to wash your hands after blasting it. Put on some headphones, ear buds or whatever you fucking sickos use for listening displeasure. If you DARE. You can let the whole disgusting experience sink into your soul with this method. OR you can just turn the fucking volume up to 15 on your player and put your ear directly on the speaker. Melt your brain with Ruin. Hail Death! Stand in Rivers of Blood! Fuck Heaven, ONLY DEATH IS REAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAILS TO THE RUIN CULT ETERNAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ruin | Memento Mori