Rusty Pacemaker – Ruins (2015)

This is the sophomore effort from the Austrian born project Rusty Pacemaker, and it was described as “a real cool album, some really unique stuff” by Markus Stock of The Vision Bleak and Empyrium. That being said, things do manage to get a rather bleak here as Rusty’s compositions are certainly befitting of the title Ruins. I’m actually a bit reminded of earlier Solefald records, perhaps even a little of Arcturus and other “out of the box” acts. But the disc simply can’t be classified as just that, with the record seeming to consist of a great deal of influences, some being punk, doom, goth rock and even darkwave music. Obviously “Ruins” (7:56) heads closer to that avantgarde territory, along with “Matter Of Mind” (6:03) and closer “Pillow Of Silence” (7:22) yet we’ve got a sort of punk with Gothic melodies emanating from “Made Of Lies” (3:49) which also shows some promising fretwork and an additionally tasty guitar solo. “Ocean Of Life” (5:17) brings in Lady K for a female vocal injection, but she really seems to shine on the darkwave influenced “Night Angel” (6:08) which is definitely a spotlight for me, regardless of the fact that it really doesn’t contain any real metal or rock elements. We have “Candlemess” (7:29) which of course is an obviously play on words to Swedish doom legends Candlemass, and some definite doom riffs do manage to appear in places here. It’s also one of the best songs on the record, especially once it heats up.

Ruins is the kind of record that really delivers in it’s instrumentation, whether or not you can get into Rusty’s thick German vocal approach or not. I almost think the record might have sounded better in German, but what’s been done here certainly isn’t bad and will certainly find a place for fans of funeral doom, progressive rock, avantgarde, darkwave and Gothic rock/metal. The record was explained as a very sporadic effort, which is I guess why “Knowing” (3:46) cuts off right when it uses what one might call an extremely powerful chorus-line, but it also allows interjections like the morose meditation of “Forever” (7:29) to walk hand in hand with more rock flavored numbers like “Mind Over Matter.” (7:22). Ruins is not an extreme metal album, but it most certainly makes an impact with it’s somber musical content and I think that that will respond with people the most. In truth it’s a very difficult record to explain because of all of it’s twists and turns, and even some vocal lines that some might consider off-key in areas. But that’s all part of the experiment and I’m sure that Rusty Pacemaker would have it no other way. It’s worth giving a listen and I’m sure it will grow on you.

(10 Tracks, 53:00)

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