Distress of Ruin – Insights (Self-Released)

Wednesday, 6th September 2017
Rating: 8/10

A probable checklist for a successful melodic death metal act: Scandinavian, harsh/clean vocals, combines melody with heaviness with a sprinkling of gloom. There’s more to add, but that covers the basics. To that regard, consider Finland’s Distress of Ruin as hitting it out the park. But what else can this act offer the melodic death fan?

We at DR have been in the melodeath trenches for a very long time, and grasp that it takes more than the mere basics to standout. The basics are an excellent starting point, but weaving everything together takes a bit more finesse and understanding of how the genre works. This is actually Distress in Ruin’s strong suit. They are working with a sound that’s admittedly tired and well-worn by many, yet they’ve identified the magic that makes it work and put it to good use. Taking influences from bands like Insomnium as well as Soilwork, they keep the sorrow-fueled atmospherics and couple them with more aggressive and thundering riffs. There’s some light synths buried in here too (see “To Become Feathered”) but they are used more as an enhancer than a major player. Old school melodeath fans should love the fact that Distress of Ruin can take plenty of burly and heavy riffs, complete with more guttural roars and put them front and center. But they also do plenty at the melodic end, with atmospheric sections and strong clean guitar/vocals combining to give them a lot of emotional lift (see “Epiphany”). The clean vocals never feel forced either, and they wisely avoid the more stereotypical use of them.

There is much to enjoy about Distress of Ruin’s approach to melodic death metal with Insights. They excel at both the melodic and death metal sides of the equation, and can combine them to merge something that’s more than a sum of the parts. A band to watch if you even remotely enjoy the style.

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