Plague Transmissions: Vol. 1

California’s  Ruin have been around since 1991 with an array of cassettes, Demos and splits under their belt. There are rumors of the band being arrested and institutionalized and they are clouded in mystery. But finally released they their debut album in 2017, Drown in Blood in the spring of last year, and it was worth wait.

Ruin play a sloppy, nasty and creepy form of old school American death metal that has some common influence with the first Obituary album,  Autopsy, Accidental Suicide, Incantation and Possessed Entity.  Plague Transmissions: Vol. 1 take the bands 2016 vinyl and cassette demos and splits with  Violation Wound, Anarchus, Ghoulgotha , Anarchus, Ghoulgotha and Thy Feeble Saviour , adds a couple of covers (NME’s “Warrior” and Discharge’s “The Final Bloodbath”) and puts them on one 14 track slab of ick.

The fact these track all came out in a relatively short time keeps the tone, production and quality pretty close, makes the 14 tracks come across like one actual album. the album is littered with samples, some standard horror movie/serial killer samples and some pretty gnarly ones like a 911 call from Don Spirit, who killed his 6 children and grandchildren in Florida in 2014, call or an interview with well documented 80s ‘child psychopath’, Beth Thomas.

It all results in a truly filthy collection of songs. Driven by founder and lone original member Mihail Jason and his soupy, moist vocals (where I’m getting the Accidental Suicide vibe from) and his killer, rotten guitar tone, as well as a truly devastating and menacing throbbing bass. The heavily Autopsy-inspired pacing keeps things oozing between grimy blast beats (“Massacre of Flesh and Bone”, “Horizon Pestilence”) and sickly crawls (“And Soon the Darkness”, “Putrid is My Brain”). And even a few moments of haunting atmospherics (“The Bends”,”Slow Death for a Perfect World”).

This is what American death metal was and is meant to be, despite all of its sub-genres and off shoots (good and bad): nasty, sloppy, disturbing, vile and unsettling. And recently, bands like Ruin, Genocide Pact and Scalpel are doing it right. And I love it.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 21st, 2018


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