28 Sep 2016

Distress of Ruin: "Predators Among Us"


Variation be damned, a monolith of groove in itself
Distress of Ruin is a Finnish bastard child of melodic death metal origin, fused together in a grotesque form with copious amounts of metalcore tendencies. Five man strong, the band from Joensuu presents itself with a classic lineup of two guitars, lead vocals, backing vocals, and a strong rhythm section courtesy of drummer and bassist Sami and Riku.

With all the basics out of the way, let us get technical. Distress of Ruin aren't afraid of varying their stance, but the gist of their music remains largely uniform. Their mix of overtly Scandinavian guitar melodies with an added groove moves at both high altitudes and churning depths, and while these alterations offer up a certain insight, this same deepness falls short in the grand scheme of originality.

"The Finnish band's pacing, however, remains in the vicinity of groove-friendly mid-tempoes,"

Predators Among Us, the group's first published EP, glimmers with a spark of distinct melancholy. Its temperament is highly evident from the very start with The Ocean of Perdition's despondent intro, which quickly changes pace to a lurching groove with the more confrontational They Play Dead. The Finnish band's pacing, however, remains in the vicinity of groove-friendly mid-tempoes, anchored by ponderous drumming and deliberate string work, which in the longer run makes Predators Among Us a bit too calculated, and not enough on the wild and surprising side to remain interesting.

In pursuit of making each instrument and riff stand out, their sound is polished to a lustrous sheen to the point where the reflective glare blinds them to the fact that perhaps their riffs would be better off camouflaged in flavour and feel rather than put out in the open like victim on the breaking wheel. It puts the band's inexperience into perspective and makes it widely apparent because the size of the band really warrants a larger attention to variation and detail.

The group works together as an ensemble like a group of surgeons working in unison, but the clinical nature of their practice puts focus where there is little to focus on. They have trained to do these heavy-handed compositions well, but to progress they must leave their gray comfort zone. A few welcomed changes of scenery - like the neckbreaking break in Deadly Nightshade, or the thrashy attitude of the closing track Harbinger of Ravage - are presented with all the confidence that one could wish for. Bystander Effect even has a spark of faster pacing before giving way to the EP's heaviest and slowest parts. But Distress of Ruin feel uncomfortable with these variations, where instead this is their strongest moments.

Predators Among Us is a grower rather than a shower. At first the melodies and harmonies are too dominant, the clean vocals continually used in every chorus growing stale long before the experience is over. But as hinted, there is appreciation to be had from their easy-to-follow structures which they, as a band, have practiced almost to perfection. This is, however, not enough reason to stow away your In Flames and Whitechapel CDs in favour of Distress of Ruin.

6/10


Released in 2013 independently

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