Believe me, I love oldschool thrash metal as much as the next person--give me early Metallica or Death any day of the week and I will gladly headbang hard enough to lacerate passers by with my hair. And that's all Voice of Ruin seem interested in on their self-titled release: pure, unadulterated thrash metal with death metal highlights. I commend them for that--their dedication to stylistic purity is definitely there. The problem is that, frankly, they're not particularly good at it.
The music itself isn't particularly standout--it's hard to describe it beyond "it's just thrash metal". I don't mean that to be dismissive of the whole genre, I mean that there's literally nothing else going on in the music. I sounds like drinking juice concentrate without the water tastes like. Sure, you can tell what it is, but there's no embellishment, no flair, and no personality. Also kind of disgusting. I don't want to say that no serious effort was put into this album, because it's clear that there was, but the songwriting just doesn't sound that inspired. All of the songs start to blend together after a while, as there's is very little that's memorable about the writing. I found myself frequently looking at the time stamps, wondering when the album would be over, and it's only 35 minutes long. The music admittedly gets really cool when they start imitating Meshuggah--"BDSM" has some really fun syncopated riffs to it that I freely admit are fucking awesome--but given that those are the only interesting things going on in the album, even those moments get tiresomely repetitive after a while.
Also, I'm not sure how these vocals are being produced, but they sound like they've been filtered and refiltered several times over, producing the most aurally confusing harsh vocals I've ever had to parse. They're not bad, but they're not quite enjoyable, either. They're just a bit too...well, "phlegmy" is kind of a disgusting word for it, but you get the idea. You almost feel like the lead singer is trying to dislodge something in his throat during the middle of the studio recording.
I suppose it comes down to this: do you enjoy thrash/death metal without exception? If so, you probably will enjoy this album. If you only posses a passing interest in the genre or can't listen to anything heavier than "Fade to Black", then you can pass on this one.
3.5 / 10
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