The hard edge of electro that formed the basis of Imperative Reaction's early work championed elements reminiscent of many hard EBM acts -- distortion, heavily distorted vocals, and razor synth lines. Ruined features some of these elements, deletes others, and recombines the remainder to create a sound not very much like Imperative Reaction's previous releases. The most obvious change is a new smooth and organic vocal style that has more in common with electro acts such as XPQ 21 than the previous distorted vocal approach reminiscent of acts like Suicide Commando. Synth lines still package their aggressive electro energy, but the slightest hints of synth pop melody bleed in at the edges (slower tracks such as "Fault" or "Beneath My Silence" have this feel). For the most part, Ruined is infused with a digital pulse that powers dancefloors or casual listening equally (such as "Severed" or "Rift"), and holds that energy well. There is little question that Ruined is musically solid, a step forward for a band who has outgrown a direct aggressive electro sound. However, this new sound can seem at times fairly standard and is unquestionably very accessible -- this is not the most underground electro sound. Fans of Imperative Reaction's harder days may see the possibility in Ruined, but Ruined may be seeking to convert other listeners.
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AllMusic Review by Theo Kavadias