Album Reviews

For Ruin – Enlightened

  • Review by: Vilasini Muralidhar

As a metalhead in India, I always look at the international scene as being inaccessibly huge- with so many good bands from so many parts of the world. Apart from the biggies, there are a plethora of other lesser-known outfits, and most of the time, I don’t know where to begin exploring what they all have to offer. And even after I’ve begun, it’s only a select few who are arresting enough to draw me back for a second listen

One such band that managed to catch my attention was For Ruin. For Ruin hails from Ireland, and their formation dates back to about 2003. The band has shared the stage with bands like Paradise Lost, Rotting Christ, Amon Amarth, Napalm Death, Decapitated and many more. This also happened to be one of the reasons I decided to check out their music. It’s not any Tom, Dick or Harry who gets to play alongside names like this! They’ve brought out a couple of albums, and in September last year, released their first digital-only release, and EP titled ‘Enlightened’. Their second album ‘Last Light’ did fairly well, and For Ruin will be hitting the studios pretty soon for a follow-up as well.

Enlightened’ is what their digital EP is called, with a standard format of four songs. It begins with “Crawl”- the introductory jam-instrumental, opening with heavy riffage and double bass. A predictable, mathematic pattern of riffing breaks into a melodic interlude in certain parts, but on the whole, the two-and-a-half minutes of the song gives you an approximate essence of the band.

“Care of the Dead” helps the album pick up pace, and we’re introduced to the gutturals here. Immediately, I am reminded of Amon Amarth- and this thanks to the general feel of the track, and the vocal style. No, I don’t mean they are a rip-off. They have a tinge that leans that way, and it’s not something you can miss. The guitar duet makes up the bridge, bringing a classic-rock/metal flavor, before going head-on into the blast beats in the latter half. I’d rate this the best song on the EP, for sure.

There has to be at least one song on every CD that starts off slow, and then takes you into the brutality (in a good way, i.e.. “In Suffering” is that song on this album. The tempo switches in between, and the transition unfortunately doesn’t digest too well. It’s like you wait for the song to go back to sounding like how it did initially. Probably the only drawback in the song are these not-so-smooth switches between the differently paced segments, but as the track progresses, you’d get accustomed to it.

“Towards an End” uses the same formula that the band has applied throughout the album. It doesn’t have a major impact, particularly because it fails to experiment with anything new.

Overall, the album does work well, though variety and experimentation are not at their very best. The music of For Ruin is heavy, melodic and guitar-driven at the same time. Production is also high-quality. The band is tight, and there are no doubts about dexterity, but if I were to pin-point what’s negative, it would be the Amon Amarth similarity, and the repetitive compositional pattern. However, the band manages to score despite all the drawbacks, so all credit to For Ruin for that.

We’re looking forward to the follow-up, and a full-length one at that! Till then, with ‘Enlightened’ playing out now, I’d like to turn the volume up on the speakers and wrap up the review with a 3-star rating.