Exposé Online banner

Ruins — Symphonica
(Tzadik TZ 7215, 1998, CD)

Ruins — Vrresto
(Skin Graft GR 76CD, 1998/2005, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1999-01-01

Symphonica Cover artVrresto Cover art

Vrresto is classic Ruins as we’ve come to know them over the last eight or so releases, a high intensity power duo of drums, bass and operatic vocals that is often compared to Magma — a comparison that is accurate only if one is speaking of a distillation of the very rigid bass-heavy sound of Üdü Wüdü, complete with lyrics in an assumed language (not Kobaïan, however), and stripped of all of Magma’s spiritual, jazzy, and more reflective elements. In other words, punk Magma. But Ruins is in fact much more than just that, as they incorporate numerous elements of the Japanese noise scene, as well as the perpetual bottom-end riffing that gives life to their spastic meter-shifts. With Vrresto the duo is in top form, more cohesive than the earlier Hyderomastgroningem or Graviyaunosch, and in fact the compositions and arrangements are the best this writer has heard from the two-piece band.

Whether the changes that occurred between Vrresto and Symphonica are just a one-off lineup expansion or a permanent change in direction for the band remains to be seen. But the change that has resulted from the addition of three new members (keyboardist Kenichi Oguchi — ex-Kenso, and female vocalists Emi Eleanola and Aki Kubota — from Demi-Semi Quaver and Koenji Hyakkei respectively) to core members Tatsuya Yoshida (drums, composer) and Sasaki Hisashi (bass) is nothing short of remarkable. Though the compositions and attitude are basically the same as before, the arrangements are better filled out by the keyboards, adding a whole new dimension to their sound, while the added vocalists pull ever closer to the operatics of Magma, as well as other Japanese avant-noise experimenters. It seems at least a few of the eight titles on Symphonica are remakes of earlier ruins efforts. Hopefully this is not a one-off, as this five-piece lineup still has a lot of territory left to explore. Either of these releases would be an excellent introduction to the band.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 16, 1998 releases, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Tatsuya Yoshida, Ruins

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ded Ringer - Ded Ahead – Life in the past lane. Call it retro, but rock music like this just isn't made anymore. On their fifth full-length disc this Bay Area trio dishes it up with enough credibility and authenticity to...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues