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Digital Ruin - Listen CD (album) cover


Digital Ruin

Progressive Metal

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5 stars "Listen" is the debut album from DIGITAL RUIN. On listening to this album they certainly do not sound like newcomers and they are not as their history goes as far back as 1988.

"Listen" is a highly original album combining power metal, industrial and progressive styles. 'Listen' can be considered a concept album based on "The Book of Revelations" and each track is part of a continual narrative expressed in musical form. The story begins with a description of a secret society of killers that seems to be part of some sort of religious cult. The remaining songs appear to track the journey of one of the members of the cult who is attempting to leave, to find meaning in the deranged, skewed world he has become a part of. The themes in the album reflect an examination of the dark side of the self, a sense of weariness and unreality from looking upon a contorted world and a yearning for redemption.

The first track is "January 27, 2019", which starts off like the soundtrack to a science fiction film, atmospheric sounds, with some sampled narration.

This leads into the next track "Off The Hand", then in comes the band. Matt's vocals, powerful, emotional, remind me a bit of DREAM THEATER. sampled voices still in the background. Wonderful guitar sounds again sometimes-sounding atmospheric, at other times heavy and powerful riffs. The track then changes pace with some nice keyboards coming in and some superb guitar work.

The third track is "Becoming", sounds quite haunting and atmospheric with Matt's vocals taking on a more sinister feel to them.

The next track is "Pieces Of Me", starting with a phone ringing and some sampled narration. The track moves into some wonderful guitar rhythms and more sampled narration. This really is compelling stuff!!. Matt's vocals come in and there's more stunning guitar work.

"In The Mirror (the dark half)", starts with some fairly quite atmospheric keyboards and some sampled narration. Matt's vocals on this track are more emotional, heavy riff in the background and more sampled voices. More great guitar work and the tempo changes becoming slightly faster with more sampled voices. Later there is a wonderful guitar solo.

The sixth track is "The Message", starting with some atmospheric sampled voices, quite haunting, then in comes a heavy guitar riff, powerful and compelling. more sampled voices with Matt's vocals over the top. But the guitar work is just stunning. Powerful riffs and great lead breaks.

The next track "Their Secrets", starts with a countdown, followed by some sampled voices and heavy riffs. Matt's vocals are once again powerful but emotional and haunting. More superb guitar with a haunting heavy riff being played in the background. Superb solo!!

"3:20 AM", this is a shorter atmospheric track featuring acoustic guitar with some nice melodic guitar over the top. The ninth track "Escape" starts with acoustic guitar, nice percussion and bass with soaring guitars over the top. There's a strong drum sound and great vocals from Matt. The track changes for a few moments giving a slight haunting feeling, there's more sampled voices and a stunning guitar solo which leads onto "Within", a beautiful atmospheric track with a wonderful rhythm played on acoustic guitar with some stunning lead guitar over the top.

"Listen", starts with some nice guitar and sampled voices. When Matt's vocals come in there are some nice keyboards being played in the background. Matt's vocals on this track are powerful, the keyboards are slightly more dominant than on previous tracks and there's more stunning guitar work.

Track twelve "It's Only Me" starts with a heavy piano playing, the vocals are quite emotional with some atmospheric sounds going on in the background. There's some nice keyboards, but this track does give you a felling of sadness.

Me I've travelled miles of road.. And in all this searching... There's no answer to be found... All I want is no regret... Just one step that I can keep... Without looking back... It's only me... I'm only trying the best I can... Only trying to understand... Me I'm not a saviour... A killer or a leader... I'm just a learner... It's only me

The final track is "Revelation" starting with some atmospheric sounds and sampled voices then in comes the heavy guitars, more sampled voices with Matt's vocals over the top. Finally the track fades to the sound of sampled laughs. Boy, this is one hell of an album. DIGITAL RUIN have pushed the boundaries of progressive metal introducing industrial and power metal elements. And all I can say if you haven't got this album then I suggest that you nip round to your local record store and buy it NOW!!!

Report this review (#25401)
Posted Saturday, May 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars United States seems to be a some kind of home of the progressive metal for most of the notable prog metal orchestras emerge from there - as does (or did) Digital Ruin too. Their career was short and they produced only two albums, but Oh Boy they're on the very top of the genre! The first album Listen is easily one of the geatest prog metal albums ever! I'm not really so keen to prog metal in general, but more to heavy, slow and DARK prog, and that's the point where my interest and Digital Ruin's music meet! For this is Heavy, depressing, crawling, emotional, spacey and highly original.

Of the most remarkable things in Listen is the unique singer (Matthew Pacheco) and vocals overall. Pacheco has got a high and clear voice, but yet his singing style is absolutely brilliant! It's sinister, depressing, creepy and frightening. Occationally it sounds like he has to do a lots of work to get a voice out of his mouth, like he'd been strangled at the same time. You should really hear that! Besides leading vocals, a lots of different vocals and methods are used to carry on the story - this is a concept album - narrations, speeches, samples and layered poly-vocals of Matthew and others. They are also used to deepening the story and the feeling of it - in which they've succeeded 100% - 'Listen' is extremely intensive musical journey, an experience one shouldn't miss.

The style of vocals fits in to this dark progressive metal fantastically. The theme of the album goes on with songs, narrations, interludes... the individual songs aren't really separable. The playing is as brilliant as everything on this album, it forces you to live it along with shiver in your spine, want it or not. The music is mostly heavy, slow, crawling and depressing, but very vivid and variative. The several vocal lines are the main leading instrument and thus the guitar solos, for example, are mostly absent and more like in a supportive role. These are still played with very impressive style and skill. The music, song structures, vocals, the whole thing is truly unique for metal making it a very progressive whole.

If there's something to hope for, it would be a more clear production, because sounds are bit chunky and dusty. Actually, it may only support the dark atmosphere... In the morning they will come... Brilliant!

Report this review (#165944)
Posted Monday, April 7, 2008 | Review Permalink

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