Released on Relapse Records, 2008.
Tracks 1–3 recorded in December 2006. Vocals, bass and drums recorded in Coldworker Studios by Anders Jakobson, Einar Magnusson and Tobhias Ljung. Guitars recorded at Studio Ülgnor by Johan Berglund, Daniel Schröder and Anders Bertilsson. Mixed and mastered at Unisound by Dan Swanö.
Tracks 4–6 recorded in December 2005. Vocals, bass and drums recorded in Kuml by Emil and Ruin. Guitars recorded at Studio Ülgnor by Johan Berglund, Daniel Schröder and Anders Bertilsson. Mixed and mastered at Unisound by Dan Swanö.
Tracks 7–9 recorded and mixed at Abyss between 23 and 24 July 2005 by Tommy Tagtgren and Relentless. Track 10 recorded and mixed at Musikhuset, Lindesberg 23 to 24 April 2005 by Rikard Löfgren and Relentless. Mastered at Unisound by Dan Swanö.
A split album from two Swedish death metal outfits, Ruin and Relentless, with a 60/40 split in favour of the former in terms of quantity of material.
While Ruin have more of a European death metal vibe there is more than a touch of the Florida sound in there too, most notably echoes of Death and Obituary.
Ruin’s tracks are pretty solid, and hit the brutal level right from the start. “Welcome to insanity” (track 1) doesn’t begin particularly well, straight into the jangling-bags-of-cutlery pattern. But it soon shakes things up a bit and redeems itself by the end of its short 1′ 41″ duration.
The remaining five songs are better. The production is great, especially for what I believe are demos, with a tight, punchy but rich sound. “Tainted soul” (track 3) is fast paced and interesting with a haunting guitar solo about 2/3 of the way through, reminiscent of Obituary. “Insomnia” (track 5) has a very Leprosy-era Death feel to it. I love the bass sound in this song. And through this song and the next (“Falling down”) there are some fabulous rhythms. The dual guitars playing off one another is the latter song, too, is fun.
On my first few listens through I preferred the four remaining Relentless tracks. Having listened to this album a good few times now I think I’ve grown to appreciate the Ruin tracks equally.
I’ve read elsewhere that others hear a more US-thrash and death metal sound in Relentless, which is perhaps why I took to those more quickly. The production has a good bassy rasp to it. The vocals are also more ‘cookie monster’, deeper and more growling than Ruin, more akin to Opeth.
“This is where I burn them” has a very signature death metal riff to start off with. It then bludgeons itself neatly through the next 2′ 50″ with all the suitable twists and turns, thumps and bumps. And growling all the way.
“Perish in blasphemy” (track 8) opens with a pounding bass and drums riff. To be fair, if your death metal song starts off like that I’m not overly fussed what happens next. You’ve already won me over.
“Incarcerated” (track 9) is a nicely understated, medium-paced death metal song with a wicked riff about half way through that chugs along in a most pleasing manner.
This is one of those albums that does make me think that perhaps I ought to just spend a little more time with each disc before reviewing them. Because I started out not overly fond of Relentless (a word, incidentally, that I have used frequently to describe my experience of looking after infant twin boys) and now it’s one of my favourite albums of 2016.
Of course, on the other hand I could just be experiencing the album-equivalent of Stockholm syndrome. Which would be rather fitting for a Swedish death metal band.
Review score: 85%