Want some good solid, BLACK SABBATH-esque driving rock n’ roll? Then might I suggest you give DEAD CITY RUINS self-titled new record (January 20 via Metalville Records) a listen. Track one, “Happenzella,” starts off with a nice rolling/groovy riff that will likely be stuck in your head, as it was mine for quite a while. It’s a good long intro, that really sucks you in and then once you round the first corner, they bash you over the head with a heavy driving riff which will appear here and there throughout the rest of song. I was happy to hear a bridge followed by a proper, classic rock style guitar solo, to boot! I’m getting tired of this new trend in songwriting; basically “Skip the bridge Johnny; listeners don’t care about that part.”
“Til Death” sounds eerily like OZZY-era SABBATH and I’m totally digging it (In fact, its playing in the background as I’m writing these very words). Rockin’, driving riffs, interesting effects and a cool crunchy guitar solo too. Check it out. “Shot Through” was a song I gravitated to right away. “Blue Bastard” is a nice, slightly relaxed yet grooving song to help pace the album. These Aussie boys have obviously put a lot of time into generating some beautifully grungy heavy metal tones. The kind that a lot of us beginner guitar players lust after and buy copious amounts of effects pedals and amps to try and emulate. “Broken Bones” reminds you that these guys not only can rock your ass off, but are pretty adept at creating some decent melodies.
And now for the album’s biggest gem: So much so, that everyone should buy the CD for this one track, “Dio”. The other night I put on my noise cancelling headphones and cranked up the jams. When this track hit the speakers, I literally stopped in the middle of what I was doing. It is a full-on tribute to the man himself, the late Ronnie James Dio. You know it’s going to be special based on the guitar intro. Giving you just enough time to get fully immersed, they groove their way into the first few lines (and I still haven’t ceased bobbing my head, tapping my toe and swaying a bit) and at the end of the first verse, vocalist Jake Wiffen lets go of all abandon and hits a note so strongly I laughed out loud I was so floored.
Andy Alkemade lays down a brilliantly full, yet not in your face drum track. Pay attention to what he’s doing, though; you’ll notice it is incredibly technical and precise as well. Of course, I can’t finish off my praise without mentioning the impressive talent of Tommy Teabag and Sean Blanchard on the guitars. And man, Tony Alkemade really fills out the sound with the bass, as he has done on all the tracks, of course. I was really appreciating the raw growling tone he’s got on this one though. It fits just so nicely with the full experience, and is a perfect tribute to a God among men.
Closing track “Bloody Toils” opens with a really laid back groove, which is exactly what you need to recover from the last song. Of course you only get 1:30 of it to relax, before the fellas grab whatever fury they still possess and rip into the first verse. Tony brings back that sweet, grungy raw sound from the 4-strings, and Tommy and Sean drop down into a deep, full bodied riff set. This is closely followed by another great classic-sounding guitar solo, once again tearing up and down the neck. Then back into that beautiful, lulling melody from the opening minute. This is a ten-minute song, and just another well-crafted tune from these guys. Oh, and there’s a neat little Easter egg at the end as well, so enjoy! Bottom line: DEAD CITY RUINS have done well on this, their sophomore effort.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Dio”, “Bloody Toils”, “Shot Through”, “Til Death”
-RYAN “C.B.” WHITEHEAD