Ruiner - Hell Is Empty (Cover Artwork)


Ruiner: Hell Is EmptyHell Is Empty (2009)
Bridge Nine Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Ruiner initially made their mark playing emotional and honest hardcore that played at punk pacing but threw in enough tempo changes, dynamic guitars and general aggression to keep them firmly entrenched in the hardcore scene. Over the years it seems like the band has maybe transcended scenes a littl.
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Ruiner initially made their mark playing emotional and honest hardcore that played at punk pacing but threw in enough tempo changes, dynamic guitars and general aggression to keep them firmly entrenched in the hardcore scene. Over the years it seems like the band has maybe transcended scenes a little and made headways with the more punk-oriented crowds (repeat appearances at The Fest either helping the case or being a result of), yet it hasn't really been a reflection of their musical evolution. Their first full-length, 2007's Prepare to Be Let Down delivered a mostly straightforward, no-frills interpretation of their style, save for a handful of slightly more elaborate arrangements. Hell Is Empty seems like the natural reaction to that as almost every song plays to more politely progressive qualities while retaining signature elements that have remained throughout the band's discography.

This isn't before, however, the free-wheeling 45 seconds of opener "I'm Out" rolls through. Frontman Rob Sullivan mixes some poetic ambition into declaratory apathy ("Those heavy thoughts I let linger when the sun goes down / ... / You can hate me if you want. / I have nothing more to give. / I have nothing more to say") over a fast tempo before a change is implemented. The bass-heavy rumbling and husky chanting make up a smoky section early on in "Dead Weight" before Sullivan biographically maps out the embittered social details of his upbringing inside a moderately up-tempo pacing.

All this, however, seems a little enveloped by J. Robbins' production. The ash-flecked spectacles he garnished Modern Life Is War's farewell effort with were appropriate and tasteful on Midnight in America, but it often seems like a bombardment on Hell Is Empty. Nowhere is it more apparent than in the self-and-scene-deprecating "Two Words," when a backup vocal addition doesn't punch through as it quite should, and the restrained, mostly guitar-less "Part One," which feels oddly hollow. "Convenient Gods" has a near-post-rock element that's dying to get out but doesn't remotely get there, which is a pity, as it's got a slow burn and gesture that could be so much more grandiose than it is.

While Ruiner's songwriting seems tight, refined and more ambitious than ever, the production is undercooked -- or, perhaps, overcooked to the point where it reverts back to the initial stage (that being "raw"). As long as they can replicate the grueling crassness of "Meat" or the deliberate muster of "Two Words" live, however, the purpose should still be pleasurable.

Hell Is Empty


People who liked this also liked:
Have Heart - Songs to Scream at the SunDefeater - Lost GroundRuiner - What Could Possibly Go Right...Ruiner - Prepare to Be Let DownPolar Bear Club - The Redder, The BetterA Wilhelm Scream - Career SuicideRuiner - I Heard These Dudes Are Assholes.The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Flatliners - CavalcadeThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
mychoice (November 26, 2009)

awesome fucking album. a lot different than prepare to be let down but in a great way. lyrics are sweet too.

danpib08 (November 5, 2009)

Good follow-up effort, like the older stuff better. Adhering to Susperstiition one of the best songs ever.

TROOF (November 4, 2009)

This band always puts out great stuff. This is no different.

Thepopeofchili-town (November 4, 2009)

Ruiner the album > Ruiner the band. This is pretty quality hardcore though. I dig it.

skeetopunk01 (November 4, 2009)

Hell Is Empty is a winner in my eyes. I couldn't sit through Prepare to be Let Down.... it bored the hell out of me. However, this album reminds me a lot of the ep.

mike_killroad (November 4, 2009)

I like this album, but Prepare to be Let Down was way better.

Lars_Frederiksen (November 4, 2009)

ruiner is in, and you're fucking OUT

fallingupwards84 (November 4, 2009)

Wasn't a huge fan of the last album, still need to hear this

LeightonESmith (November 4, 2009)

I enjoy this album. Their first EP is still their best.
It sux about the production on this.

HumanUnkind (November 4, 2009)

I think this is a considerable step up from the last album and is incredible

Hubitcherkokov (November 4, 2009)

I never cared for the production on "Midnight in America," but J. Robbins got it so, so right on Paint It Black's "Paradise."

"Prepare to be Let Down" was a good record, though not without its share of questionable lyrics. I'm looking forward to hearing this.

Mr_International (November 3, 2009)

Like has been said, it's a little slow, a little muddled sounding, but I think it's still a pretty powerful record. Job well done, I say.

cherrycolarain (November 3, 2009)

Got this on vinyl when I saw them live in Vancouver and I must say... Their songs live are INCREDIBLE. Their performance of "Part Two" and "Solitary" were full of energy, along with other choice slices off the album. It's a shame the recording quality restrains the band, because this is by far their best work, specially as far as their live show goes.

mikexdude (November 3, 2009)

Exactly it. Songs are sweet and awesome, but the recording quality is questionable -- it makes everything seem dull.

brendanpwns (November 3, 2009)

I like the songs, but the recording sounds so bad.

danperrone (November 3, 2009)

prepare to be let down was a 9/10 for me...but this album doesn't do it for me at all. it's just boring. they were better when they played faster, in my opinion. the lyrics are still good and super personal, but the energy is gone.

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