Digital Ruin


Listen

Digital Ruin - Listen ©1997 Siegen Records
1. January 27, 2019
2. Of The Hand
3. Becoming
4. Pieces Of Me
5. In The Mirror
6. The Message
7. Their Secrets
8. 3:20 AM
9. Escape
10. Within
11. Listen
12. It's Only Me
13. Revelation

This disc was certainly one of the most widely hailed releases of 1997. Classified as "dark progressive metal with an industrial feel" by one reviewer, the disc seems to defy classification. I'd call it straight progressive metal since it does exactly that, progress, move forward and explore new territory.

Composed of five very talented musicians, Digital Ruin are from Rhode Island, USA. The music they present on this CD is innovative. I don't often use that word when describing a CD because I feel it is used too often and the music in question usually is not innovative at all. Digital Ruin take a lot of influences and manage to blend them into a sound that is all their own. The real key to their unique sound is the atmosphere they create with the keyboards. The keys are used mainly to provide synthesizer effects in the background while the band jams in the foreground. Fronted by a pair of guitarists, Digital Ruin play a HEAVY style of metal that blends into the atmosphere wonderfully. The guitars begin together, separate, come together, separate, again and again in a very intricate and layered dance. There is a lot going on in this disc. The next best comparison to their sound that I can think of is Pain Of Salvation or Spiral Architect simply because of the intense complexity in the layers of music. However, the music is heavier than either of those two bands. This is a disc that takes many listens to grasp. Each listen brings out elements you missed on previous listens. The "dark" element from the above classification comes form the lyrics which are semi-apocalyptic in their content. Full of ominous premonition and bleak warning with an almost science fiction feel, these are not cheery pick-me-up songs. No bunnies or daisies on this disc, no sir. The lyrics blend from one song to the next to the point that I'd say this is a concept disc. It seems to be one continuous song broken into thirteen sections. The singing is very good. The vocalist is what you expect with progressive metal, operatic and clean. Some might be put off by the spoken parts throughout the songs, but they add to the atmosphere that is so central to the story this disc is telling. I've heard some say that Digital Ruin would make great music for the X-Files. I don't watch that particular show, but I know enough about it to agree. The music can be downright creepy and mysterious at times. The atmosphere is that good. This disc absolutely rocks.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 06/2000

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Dwelling In The Out

Digital Ruin - Dwelling In The Out ©2000 InsideOut Music
1. Living For Yesterday
2. Darkest Day
3. Dwelling In The Out
4. The Forgotten
5. Adrift
6. Night Falls Forever
7. Machine Cage
8. Letting Go
9. The Agony Column
10. Along The Way

I don't like to make predictions, but I think this disc will appear on many "best of the year" lists for 2000. Heavy, progressive, forward thinking and outside the metal box, this disc is a real treat for listeners. It is one of the best discs I have heard this year. Somehow Digital Ruin took the sound from Listen and made it more accessible to the average listener without compromising the intensity and complexity of that sound. Normally you'd think that if they stepped back from where they'd been that they were compromising their sound. That's not the case here. This disc is as fulfilling as Listen even while being on a very different level from their first disc. Like Pain Of Salvation or Spiral Architect, they still manage to cram twenty minutes worth of sound into a ten minute song in such a way that you can distinctly hear every note, every nuance or sound they are producing. While not as futuristic and apocalyptic as Listen, this disc maintains Digital Ruin's dark intensity, turning more inward with the lyrical content. The vocal arrangements are well done, conveying the emotion and depth of the lyrics very well. The musical focus is still on the guitar work. The guitars are tightly interwoven with some real punch that drives the music forward hard. The keys are more present than on Listen but they are still serving the purpose of providing atmosphere more than being the main focal point of the music. They enhance, create nuances and effects that add to the sound as a whole.

Standout tracks are "Dwelling In The Out", "Night Falls Forever" and "Along The Way". I especially like the guitar wails reminiscent of "Echoes" from Pink Floyd's Meddle album on "Along The Way". "Night Falls Forever" is one of the best songs I have heard this year. It builds wonderfully into a real listening treat. The disc chugs along briskly and will probably appeal to more people than Listen did. It's great to see a talented band take a great sound and make it more available to the general listening public without taking anything away from their original sound. There are not many CDs that I would say are must have discs. This is one of them.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 06/2000

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