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1986-1992 Review

by Dominique Leone

This compilation packages very rare early material from Ruins' original 1986 seven-inch of their first four-track recordings, their 1987 twelve-inch album, and selected tracks from their third record. Incidentally, all of these releases were simply entitled Ruins, so thank Skin Graft for clearing up a potential discography mess. Also, leader Tatsuya Yoshida deserves credit for creating the impression that all of this music was recorded at the same time in the same studio, with the same production. Furthermore, this set includes songs from 1990's Stonehenge and 1992's Burning Stone.

Most of the music should be familiar to fans in so far as Ruins' sound could hardly be mistaken for anyone else's. "Body & Soul" is menacing grindcore, featuring a recognizably metallic head that suggests a healthy appreciation of early Black Sabbath. Perhaps the most interesting track for diehard fans will be "Cambodia", previously only available on a compilation called NG II. There is a superficial similarity to classic prog bands like King Crimson here (especially during the energetic middle section), but Ruins' drown most ties to older progressive rock with their dadaist sense of dynamics and claustrophobic distortion. Tracks taken from Burning Stone are more complex, as the band gradually moved away from their already extreme position into violent sonic aggression sometimes approaching novelty, but the music is rarely less than enthralling (or immediately off-putting, depending on your point of view).

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