Dead City Ruins – it’s a name that conjures up bleak post-industrial rock. Perhaps a Godspeed! You Black Emperor track, or something by This Will Destroy You. Well, surprisingly these London-based Aussies are actually, well, lots of other things instead.
Dead City Ruins have a lot of classic metal 70’s and 80’s influences, to the point where they are quite hard to pin down. Are they a modern mish-mash of influences, happily taking from everywhere or are they a band struggling for an identity?
Their strongest suit is classic 80’s-style metal. Not a genre I particularly like usually. However, ‘Highway Girl’ and the insidiously infectious ‘Fallen’ remind you of an era when Ozzy and Mötley Crüe bestrode California, drinking anything in their face and snorting ants from hotel pools. It’s kind of fun to hear this stuff again. In fact, I remember a time when all metal was ‘fun’, but don’t get me started.
As I suggested ‘Midnight Killer’ is not content to sit at Sunset Strip and wait for the groupies to arrive. Instead, Dead City Ruins take themselves into slightly heavier and dangerous territory with tracks like ‘My Lai Massacre’ and ‘Go To War’, serious songs with serious lyrics. Nothing wrong with that, but unfortunately the tunes don’t back up the intent to make you sit up and listen. Is if that wasn’t bad enough they also suffer from what I call ‘Death Magnetic’ syndrome whereby the band decide to wear you down until you bend to their will by repeating riffs and choruses until you’re thoroughly sick of them!
Perhaps the standout track is ‘Blues’, a slow burning croon which owes something to Pantera’s ‘This Love’. Again, it comes as a curveball, but this time, one that works. It does feel though that there are about three songwriters battling for supremacy in this band.
Something for everyone then? Well, no, not quite, but there’s certainly something for those of us with a copy of ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ or ‘No More Tears’ tucked away in our vinyl.