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4 stars This is one wild , spastic ride of an album which is very good in technical terms and also in creativity. Crazy vocal shouts , spastic drum runs and bass licks. You very rarely would be able to decipher what they say in their lyrics because it sounds more like noises. It might take an eclectic listener to like and appreciate this music because the band likes to stir up tight chaos with their music . The albums styles and influences are all over the place . But keep in mind,this is abstract prog. Also known as being un-normal and strange . These virtousos have enough chops to even play sped up versions of Mahavishnu Orchestra tunes and passages all glued together in one track which is only around two minutes long but blinding in speed and accuracy. This album has traces of standard prog , but owes most to jazz fusion,punk,Magma and to their own abstract genius. It's an essential release, especially within their own catalogue. Some of their older releases may scare you away.
Report this review (#46430)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars The least we can say is that this group is not giving much in terms of hints to listener to grab on to the music on this album! I have no idea if the other albums they made are similar to this one, but the least we can say is that outside excellent musicianship (are there any RIO groups who are not excellent in that department), but this kind of musical niche is getting quite crowded, and the sad fact is that most of these bands are starting to sound alike. In the case of Ruins, we can talk of a harder Mr Bungle or a softer Guapo (the first version of the group where they were almost hardcore RIO). They do not have that round edge (almost danceable) of Miriodor or X-legged Sally, but they are in their slower and quieter moments quite nice to listen to and their vocals are very correct. One of the highlights is Wanzhemvergg, where they pay a small tribute to Wyatt's typical scatting. What will intrigue the proghead, though is the last tracks being a tribute to Mahavishnu Orchestra or the medley of Black Sabbath's early stuff. While the latter (BS) brings a smile (especially on Iron Man) but the former (MO) is rather bothersome since they bring out MO's virtuosity even more than originally, but they fail to let us know which track they attempted.

This is the kind of album whose music is probably meant to be interpreted with the artwork (depicting Far East Asian ruins and the "five" elements), but personally this reviewer failed to understand the link between the two. But I must admit that their almost hardcore sound (imagine a RIO version of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers) does not allow much space for reverie or even imagination. For devoted RIO fans, who appreciate a slightly funky sound and a group who meanders a lot, but is not sure it has that much of a musical propos. On this album, anyway!

Report this review (#75314)
Posted Tuesday, April 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album has a lighter sound than the other duo releases with Sasaki, "Vrresto" and "Pallaschtom." It is quite a difficult listen, but the overall effect is of a fleet and dextrous trip through alien worlds. Somehow less heavy than the two previous outings (yet using similiar instrument effects and techniques), yet just as complex (maybe more) and intense, I got the exhilarating feeling of Ruins once again embarking on a journey to new territory. I actually do find that the music goes well with the clear blue skies, complex archicture, and overall shimmering clarity of the album's cover graphics. I would say that this is possibly the most accessible release of the edition of the band that features Sasaki. The last two tracks (disregarding the almost superfluous medleys) are amazing. "Chittam Iraangayo" is a cover of song by L. Shankar, the Indian Classical violin player, and it is beautifully executed. The title track is another one of Ruins' epic journeys, but marked by more melodicism than in the past. However, those insistent on a super hard, heavy approach would likely prefer "Pallaschtom." Anyone way into the music on this CD, at this point, though, should probably own both.
Report this review (#77595)
Posted Tuesday, May 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have to mention this at the very beginning of my review: this is probably for prog fans who suffer from insanity, delusions, or some other type of mental disorder.

That being said this is actually quite a good album if you like mind-blowing rhythm sections and experimental music on the more aggressive and high-energy side. Although considering this is a Yoshida band, one should expect this type of album. I have two other Ruins albums from the Sasaki period, and out of those, this is probably the weakest in my opinion. However, that isn't to say that it isn't good. The album opens the first song with some rather simplistic drumming and bass lines, but within the first 30 seconds pushes us towards insanity. However, unlike other Ruins albums, the insanity factor seems to not be as intense or brutal. However, do NOT take that as me saying that this isn't a weird album. Chittamirangaayo is probably my favorite track on the album, with somewhat catchy vocals as well as drums and very distorted bass. The Black Sabbath and Mahavishnu Orchestra medleys are quite entertaining as well, but I wish that the band had told us what songs they were covering in each of them. If you like your Zeuhl a little more intense than Magma and with a touch of craziness with technical complexity, this is a good place to start with Ruins as it's probably their most accessible album. 4/5 stars.

Report this review (#191895)
Posted Friday, December 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ruins are one of cornerstone of Japanese avant prog, founded by legendary drummer Tatsuya Yoshida and usually released in a form of drummer and bassist duo (with vocals). Bassists beside of Tatsuya Yoshida are changed often, this album is released in duet with bassist Hisashi Sasaki.

Music on this album is generally what you could expect from Japanese avant prog drummer and bassist duo - extremely fast and technical instrumental hardcore with Japanese vocals and some doze of psychedelia. This album is not very heavy or extreme, and even contains two interesting tributes - to Black Sabbath and Mahavishnu Orchestra!

Songs are very sharp, with broken complex rhythms, but you can hear some Japanese folklore elements included on sound mix as well. In a moments listener can even catch some funky moments. Even if this music is played by rhythm duo, for me it sounds more like classic Japanese avant, not (Japanese) zeuhl (ok, zeuhl elements are presented there as well). In all cases, this release is really interesting one for Japanese avant prog lovers, and possibly could be not a bad entrance point for newcomers to dark rhythmic world of Tatsuya Yoshida.

My vote is 3+

Report this review (#300302)
Posted Friday, September 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars A Japanese band with ten plus albums on their (guilty) conscience.

Sounding as a crossbreed between the frantic Ahleuchatistas and Magma on this album, this album is not for the faint hearted. Or for that matter; most music lovers. The band is very frantic on this album. There is not many slow pieces of music here. The vocals are zeuhl. The music is post rock RIO with a lot of jazz and some zeuhl influences thrown into the mix. This album is not a Magma copycat. The jazz is the only thing that reminds me about Magma here.

The mix of jazz and post rock makes this a pretty interesting album. The musicianship is excellent and is to be admired. The quality is good throughout. But this album does not really offer anything special and is by no means a great album in my view. But a good album, it is.

3 stars

Report this review (#560261)
Posted Monday, October 31, 2011 | Review Permalink

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