When The Maestro asked me to review the debut from THE FAMILY RUIN, I was a bit unenthused. The group’s name ushered in memories of teenage, anti-parental angst reminiscent of the Nu-Metal era. After searching the group on Facebook, I found out they were on a label owned by Ben Bruce, guitarist of ASKING ALEXANDRIA. And though I can’t say that I absolutely loath the music from those guys, I never considered myself to be a fan. So you can imagine my disposition. But in a rare twist, I found myself in an area I’m not very familiar with. I was wrong. Dearly Departed, which will be released September 23 through KBB Records, is a strong debut, full of anthemic melodies and raucous grooves; moreover, the overall feeling is lively and fun.
The guys start things off with a boisterous number, “Bring Out Your Dead”, which parallels the raw energy of GUNS N’ ROSES matched with the modern day, clean production. “Leech” and “Cirque Du Sin” keep the momentum going, delivering high energy performances throughout. Their lead single “Let’s Go” brings the group to a more radio-friendly area, and I say this in a good way. Between the single and its successor, “Us Against the World”, I would greatly appreciate hearing this from my local FM station over groups like FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH and LINKIN PARK. The mood changes, allowing for some balladry on tracks “Battle For the Sun” and “Haunting”, a sound they will revisit on album closer “Sonder”. However, the quintet keeps things agile between those songs. “Wake Up”, “Filth”, and “Let It Burn” play out as the heaviest numbers for the disc. “My Addiction” and “Where We Fall” bring us to the end of the record with a brisk, syncopation-filled romp followed by a tune that borders on the ledge of epic.
Since I was admittedly incorrect in my initial ruling for Dearly Departed, I feel slightly obligated to explain my train of thought. My initial reaction was judging this as metal; however, in my second approach to the disc, I found the error of my ways. From that point on, my perspective for the group was to base my opinion on a Rock band; and, as I noted earlier, THE FAMILY RUIN is leaps and bounds above the Rock played on the radio stations in my area. The band keeps thing alert and active, even when throwing in a more heartfelt number. Further, they possess something that has also become a rare feat in the modern Hard Rock world: a singer with range, tone and presence. Truly, the vocals are the key to this disc, left mainly to cleans, but for the sheer fact that this frontman doesn’t need to resort to screaming over the heavier sections. So, being very humbled by my mistake, I make the suggestion for anyone who misses the days of great Rock music to check out THE FAMILY RUIN.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Bring Out Your Dead”, “Cirque Du Sin”, “Let’s Go”, “Filth”, “Let It Burn”
WRITTEN BY FRENCH CHEESE