As the stranglehold of austerity grips ever tighter, one chink of light in the darkness is that the arts always improve in times of economic gloom, and the current period has been no exception. Ruined Families hail from Greece; once the cradle of democracy and philosophical insights, now a moribund nation on the brink of bankruptcy. As you can expect, they’re pretty pissed off about the situation and the 19 minutes of debut album “Blank Language” is as angry as they come.
Opening track ‘Only Need Is Real’ sounds like a car crashing through the wall and into Deadguy’s practice room, with the band continuing to play despite being thrown around by the wreckage. The discordant riffs are played at varying tempos with ‘To New Parents’ reaching grindcore speeds easily, yet the drums seem more interested in playing standard rock formulas than blasting. Some strained melodies shine through the grey haze but it sure as hell ain’t the sun shining, as the angry pop riffs and shouted refrains of ‘208’ demonstrates. Imagine the members of Torche with shotguns in their mouths and you’re somewhere near.
‘Easy Livin’ takes a more post-hardcore approach with the simple riffs and out-of-time shouts of the vocalist calling to mind an almighty tantrum. ‘Human Fence’ and ‘Nature’s Worst’ revert back to the grindcore of before, with the lapses into squalls of noise rendering proceedings utterly desperate. This is the sound of hopelessness set to music and so what if the band are occasionally out of time with each other? The raging storm of ‘Definition in Paradox’ will cause absolute carnage when played live, while the biting Converge-isms of ‘Books As Weapons’ hint at a slightly better level of songwriting than previously heard, which can only bode well for the next release.
Given that it was recorded in a mere seven days, “Blank Language” could have done with some fine tuning, but that would be missing the point. This is music custom built to rage against the system, a perfect soundtrack to letting off some steam in the pit as well as hurling bricks through bank windows. Noisy, abrasive and with no song lasting longer than three minutes, this is a short, sharp dose of vitriol that deserves to be heard.