Review Summary: A lack of variation mars what is otherwise an excellent hardcore record.
The greatest flaw of the hardcore genre has always been its tendency to put out albums which are great when listened to one song at a time, while often becoming tedious to listen to in their entirety. This could be a big factor in the band's decisions to put the total duration of their full-lengths at under 20 minutes (less than an EP from many other genres): any more would quickly and easily wear the listener out. Greek hardcore act Ruined Families
is no exception to these preset genre standards. The majority of the songs are under 2 minutes, and there is often little variation between them. Their sound is also nothing incredibly fresh or original. It's super-heavy hardcore with unintelligible vocals, tons of dissonance, and a characteristically disproportionate ratio of chaos to melody. The vocals are rough, grating, and a bit scratchier than normal, and can come off as overly abrasive at times. The production is a balancing act between rough and polished, and fits the pissed-off music perfectly.
The band does, at points, show undeniable flashes of brilliance. Their overall sound, while not being all that different from the rest of the pack, does mix things up when it fuses with some black metal influence (their Myspace lists them as "Black Metal/Hardcore"). It is something that has been done before, and the black metal influence of some other stylistically similar bands is more overt than it is here, but it really does serve to spice up Four Wall Freedom
at the times when it gets tedious. Also, the album has its highlights. Closer Patriarchy
is the most impressive track here (as well as the longest, clocking in at almost 4 minutes). It utilizes the band's dual guitar attack incredibly effectively and perfectly blends angry-as-hell hardcore with a tinge of black metal to create a track that really shows all that the band is capable of. It also show the band at their best in that they inject into it a few tinges of melody in the form of melodic leads and a few breaks. It is the band showing that they are more than capable of variety, and that when they do add variation they are truly a force to be reckoned with.