Ruins — Graviyaunosch
(Nipp Guitar NG-D03, 1993, CD)
by Steve Robey, Published 1995-07-01Ruins is a contemporary Japanese band that represents the harsh, aggressive side of zeuhl music. They are compared equally often with Magma and the hardcore band The Boredomes - that should give you an idea of the kind of crossover they pull off. After a pair of so-so noise-fest albums, Ruins really hit their stride in 1992 with the relentless album Burning Stone, full to the brim with impossible drumming and zeuhlogies by Tatsuya Yoshida, a note perfect disciple of Christian Vander. The only other member is five-string bassist Ryuichi Masuda, who manages a wide range of timbres. But the volume of this band would lead you to think this was a five piece - hardly a second is wasted in this kamikaze hurricane. Having blown a giant wad of catharsis on their previous album, Ruins wisely went for a marginally more subtle approach on this album. The title track, which begins the album, is always driving, but hypnotic and repetitive in a circular sort of way. Musical themes are grounded in Masuda's lead/rhythm work, and Yoshida's voice grumbles and shrieks (in their own fabricated language, no less!) as he works up a subtly nimble revolution on the drums. On the whole, Graviyaunosch lacks the urgency of Burning Stone, but for those who are turned off by hardcore-isms, this album may actually be preferable. The music is more dynamic, the rhythms more complex, and the range of sounds more evocative. But with the possible exception of the title track, none of these songs match the best of Burning Stone. I recommend Ruins to any zeuhl fan with a taste for punk, or any punk fan with a taste for prog. One cannot deny the power and complexity of their music, but as is the case with Magma, you either love 'em or you hate 'em. Not for the faint at heart.
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more