EP Review: Face of Ruin – Within the Infinite
Band: Face of Ruin (US)
Album: Within the Infinite (EP, 2011)
Genre: Death Metal
The good thing about EPs is that they’re quick to review. And so, when normal, paying work’s riding you whippingly, it’s easier to just review another EP than to dive into a full-fledged studio album that takes days to get through to and figure out completely. Some may have noticed: work has been riding my poor scrawny ass lately and as a result I haven’t been overly active writing here – it’s only thanks to the other DMB writers that you continued to get your daily fix – so now that I’ve got a bit of time, what better thing to do than chuck in another EP review?
The disadvantage of EPs is of course the same trait that is their virtue: they’re short. So when you stumble upon this really neat piece of work, cravings may be left unsatisfied. With Face of Ruin it’s a bit like that. The Milwaukee based proggy Death outfit released the EP in mid-2011 after they stuck three songs on it, supplying a quarter of an hour worth of shape-shifting emotions and mental states.
The first the band started fencing with when they sent out the review request to us is the fact that they feature vocalist Matt Bishop of Human Artifacts and ex-Lividity. Both are bands with a rather crunchy brutal produce, and Matt’s vocal efforts in Face of Ruin continue in the same vein. A deep, sanding roar thunders throughout that reminds slightly of Deicide and Vital Remains’ Glen Benton. That roar is sometimes joined by a higher-pitched agonizing scream and at other times morphs into calm but freaky hell speak.
The other unique selling point the band put forth is the fact that they’ve got The Absence’s Patrick Pintavalle doing a guitar solo on In the Depths of Blackness and that the album was recorded with Jeramie Kling, from The Absence as well. The solo is a piece of finger freakery and not immediately recognizable as a solo per se, as it’s more of an esoteric thought-induction. I mean it isn’t mind blowingly fast and it doesn’t seem too complex either, but it does do loads in terms of moving me as a listener.
The final thing is that they hired Scar Symmetry’s Jonas Kjellgren to perform mastering duties for the EP. Scar Symmetry of course it’s famous for its mighty clean-cut melody assaults, up to a point where it’ll be cheesy to some listeners. If that then is what you’re expecting for Face of Ruin, you’re way off. There isn’t anything clean-cut about Within the Infinite. Rather, it’s a sonic shit storm of riffs, leads, blasts and beats that only ever turns down a little to serve up moments of despair and fear. Typically there are about a billion of notes in a second and they move in all kinds of directions. The EP’s title song should give you a damn good picture of that!
I’ll be really honest. Within the Infinite is not my usual cup of tea and certainly not easy listening. I imagine that in a more fucked-up state this would already be more appealing to me, but at a woke-up-late Saturday morning the brutality-density is a bit on the high end. There are some amazing moments throughout the songs, most notably a more melodic bridge part in the opening song Torture of Silence, but judging the EP holistically I feel somewhat punished. As a dude who’s looking for any combination of groove and melody, Face of Ruin is offering something that’s besides my favorite musical foods. But even then I’m hearing a dense musical culinarity even though I’m only genuinely enjoying about half of it.
My Grade: 8/10
Buy this when:
- you’ve got the hots for a brutal assault with a subtle fear-factor
- a high note-density makes you jizz