I did not know what to expect from this album. Album cover? Made Out Of Babies? Metal that’s “not metal”?
Well, turns out, it’s pretty darn good. Or at least, so far, it’s more accessible than expected. Good!
The first track, “Cooker,” definitely starts the album off on a good note. Or rather, some good pushed-to-its-limits guitar. “Cooker” is the most original track, musically, on the album. If Made Out Of Babies can be defined by “Cooker,” they’ve done well.
Going through the album, vocalist Julie Christmas both worries and captivates us. She does quite a good job at her screams and the other noises required for being the best metal singer you can be. Christmas takes a sinister drive at the wheel of her vocals. Christmas works expertly with the music of Made Out Of Babies (what a name, right?). Vocals at the front, or the stuff mixed in the background, it all works out well.
The fault shouldn’t entirely rest on Christmas, but possibly because of the female vocals, The Ruiner begins to sound somewhat bland; derivative in the same way as other female-fronted “metal” projects. Least names be mentioned, let’s just say that’s not good. But Christmas is fine, just the haunted memories the music + her voice bring out are bad. In all likelihood, we need more confident female vocalists like Christmas doing right on hard rocking music.
As previously discussed, the music of Made Out Of Babies is most out-there/experimental on “Cooker.” Elsewhere, the band crafts well-made metal, trying to escape the restrictiveness such a label can have on a band. Traditional metal chugs are coupled with the crystal-clear guitar work sometimes found in the modern metal landscape (see: “The Major”). The drums are often the most distinctive part of The Ruiner. Drummer Matthew Egan pounds when needed and drops the sticks on a remote drum when it sounds good. Complaints are hard to make.
The Ruiner reaches a nice plateau of easily-accessible metal with enough uniqueness and originality to justify its existence. It’s not pop-metal, nor [anything close to] art-metal, but…there certainly are a few good pop songs on the record.