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Ruins - Pallaschtom CD (album) cover





3.95 | 35 ratings

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4 stars Pallaschtom was the second studio album proper by the fourth incarnation of Ruins (although Sasaki Hisashi also featured on several collaborations, live albums and the excellent expanded line up that made Symphonica. Ruins' discography is somewhat bewildering). The line up of Yoshida Tatsuya and Sasaki Hisashi made the most dazzlingly intense and complex music yet released under the Ruins banner - the songs are full of abrupt shifts in tempo and dynamics, and the combination of 6 string bass, drums, 2 voices and some intelligently used MIDI technology means that this usually sounds like much more than a bass and drums duo (and a million miles from drum & bass). Sasaki also has a hand in some of the songwriting, although Yoshida remains the main composer.

As well as being an album of remarkable complexity, it's also one of the best sounding of Ruins' albums - Yoshida is a masterful drummer, and he has rarely been recorded with such depth and roundness of tone. And what of the music? The Zeuhl influence is still obvious, with manic vocals in a made up language being intoned, screamed, moaned and even occasionally sung over piledriving rhythms, and lovers of improvs by more recent incarnations of King Crimson (eg Thrakkattack) will also find much to enjoy on here. There are occasional nods to the band's hardcore punk roots, such as Gharaviss Perrdoh, but there are also jazzy runs and even near psychedelic interludes on Celledomi Guazto. Comparisons are a tad futile, however, because it sounds exactly like Ruins only more so. The manic stop/start/quick change nature of the compositions make this a slightly challenging album to take in at a single sitting, though perseverance is well rewarded as there are some beguiling subtleties lurking beneath the noise and the fury.

A particular bonus is the Prog Rock medley, in which the dynamic duo knock out snippets of 30 or so prog classics (both famous and obscure) - it's fun trying to recognise all of them. On the japanese release there are also classical and hard rock medleys performed in the same style - and they could also reproduce them live.

Not for the faint of heart, but strongly recommended to anybody who's curious about exploring the wilder shores of the contemporary Japanese prog scene.

Syzygy | 4/5 |


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