by Ruins

CD(Jewel Case)

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Utterly unhinged, manic, and crazed, Tatsuya Yoshida doesn't need a duo partner to create one of the wildest -- and most diverse -- albums ever to carry the Ruins name. Herky-jerky Meshuggah-esque metal on steroids, shouted and howled vocals, synth-phasers set on stun -- it's all here in 23 tracks ranging in length from less than a minute to a bit less than four, with Tatsuya sampling a universe of instrumental voicings and not merely flailing away on drums. Some of these tunes are nothing less than mini-avant-prog epics, and Tatsuya even harmonizes nicely with himself on "Sanctuary," opting for over the top vocal histrionics on "Glaschzenck," which begins with Philip Glass-like ostinatos but doesn't stay minimalistic for long. Tuned gongs and arpeggiated classical guitars begin "Ahftsivepha," which swiftly introduces astringent Univers Zero-ish medieval harmonics and timbres, but with mile-a-minute changes more akin to the impossible density of Steven Kovacs Tickmayer's Repetitive Selective Removal of One Protecting Group (remember that one?), although more forceful and abrupt. And madness-inducing metal is always waiting in the wings, although Tatsuya might suddenly veer off into angelic harps and operatic vocals in the same track, as in "Villanzyats," leaping across the widest possible musical chasm in an instant. Back in the days when Ruins were a duo pairing Tatsuya with a bassist, their performances and recordings married lunatic-level energy and changeups with punky, noisy sonics, and some fans of earlier Ruins may find some of Alone to be on the proggy side. However, Tatsuya has always been a prog fiend (even if the punk-noise crowd didn't quite realize it), tackling prog on his 1991 solo album Magaibutsu, continuing the thread with Ruins' Symphonica in 1998, and more recently going full-on Magma-esque with his band Koenji Hyakkei. Here, "Obthecklomtz" and bonus track "Notturuno" stick with their ideas long enough to discern the presence of time signatures, and the latter might even be described as understated, with the sounds of slow winding piano arpeggios, pulsing bass, flute, tablas, and a Canterbury-esque fuzzy something-or-other burning away in the center of the mix. However, revisiting the concept of the "Progressive Rock Medley" (here titled merely "Progrock") from the 2000 Ruins album Pallaschtom, Tatsuya still knows how to tackle prog in a frantic mode, squeezing a new batch of prog rock hooks (prog naysayers: is that an oxymoron?) and riffs -- from Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Caravan, Bruford, and other proggers famous and obscure -- into two minutes and change. The closing "Hardrock" (plowing the same stylistic turf as Pallaschtom's "Hard Rock Medley," obviously) gives the same treatment to Hendrix, Cream, Zeppelin, Sabbath, you name it, again with one classic riff truncating another to give the listener a bad case of headbangus interruptus. Clearly, the ridiculously inventive Tatsuya Yoshida is more than capable of carrying on Alone, creating an album that is indisputably Ruins while revealing new artistic dimensions that might surprise even his biggest fans.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/08/2011
Label: Skin Graft Records
UPC: 0647216610021
catalogNumber: 100
Rank: 143739

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