The legacy of cult Melbourne sludge/grind metal combo Christbait lives on throughout the nine tracks of The Ruiner's debut album. But this album is no mere rehash: it takes the pounding, heavy riffage their predecessors and adds new elements to create a modern and fresh sound.

Through an EP and one full length, Christbait stood out in a scene predominantly run by death and thrash metal bands in the early 90's. The band’s pummelling mix of doom, sludge, grind and crust was well received amongst their peers (Blood Duster in particular, naming their Yeest EP in tribute to their Yeast EP) and a rabid cult following. Although they split sometime after the release of their one and only album, guitarist Craig Westwood kept busy with several solo projects, importantly a dirty/greasy-stoner rock band formed alongside Blood Duster bassist Jason PC (The Dern Rutlidge Band) kept the musical comradery afloat and, in a way, influenced the more rocking direction on Blood Duster’s CRIMINALLY underrated 1998 grind /rock STR8 Outta Northcote. One could say the seed for PC and Westwood to work again together in the future was planted here.

The Ruiner were originally formed in 2012 as something of a one-off tribute to Christbait (under the name of their one and only album 'Dirtypunkmutha'). Westwood and Christbait vocalist Jason Vassallo were drafted to make something more than a one-off and two tracks were released in December 2013. Now the full length is out and I'm glad this was allowed to grow into a full band.

Opening with the heavy Hubble, The Ruiner have melded the crushing sludge of Christbait with Thin Lizzy-style solos. Vassallo's roaring vocals bring to mind Steve Von Til (Neurosis) and Matt Pike (Sleep/High On Fire), but with more 'Yeah’s' and a good time vibe.

10 Paces is very catchy and could almost be a radio single before the slow burn of In Dirt brings up the album’s mid-point. Thankfully 2013's The Bull is included; a definite highlight. The slower/doomier Hanging closes out the album.

Excellently recorded in Jason PC's Goatsound studio, The Ruiner's self-titled album is worth tracking down in every way. The world is a better place with this album available.


Scott Bishop is a regular host on RTR FM 92.1's Critical Mass, which airs every Wednesday from 9PM (GMT+8) in Perth, Australia.