Review Summary: Dungeon ‘n’ Punk: is it any good?
Philadelphia's Poison Ruïn caused some fuss with their first check-in, especially among the “dungeon dwellers”. The old-school disguise and the eerie synths really carries the dungeon synth traditions from the ‘90s, but the spooky and misty Mortiis-worship mostly ends really fast as the punk kicks in… and that is pretty much Poison Ruïn summarized: dungeon and punk
Basically, Poison Ruïn committed the same crime twice through their two demos: in each demo, a dusty and half rotten sound of dungeon synth mysticism welcomed the listener, followed by a drastic change in style: a similarly dusty punk / death rock riffage. And technically, ”Poison Ruïn S/T”
is just the combination of the already existing demos.
The cobwebby, haunted atmosphere and the sweet, old-school aesthetics may cause a generally good impression in the beginning. After a few songs, it becomes clear that some of the magic doesn’t really work here, but this cannot be connected to one single reason. Generally, the whole thing becomes a bit samey and blunt right after a few songs in (especially on the vocal front, because it gets very annoying after a while). Despite this, there are a handful of really great riffs in songs like “Morning Star” or “Hell Hounds”, (especially in the second half / basically in Demo II); but the thing is: the overall creation lacks some charm. It’s not easy to explain, so here's an example: the very similar occult punk/death rock elements can be heard in Devil Master’s demos, and without those nasty and gritty vibes, this kind of music feels far more shallow and dull, or: far less memorable. Still, people who are very-very into this kind of aesthetic presentation will enjoy this release for sure.
My motto is always, “do not judge a band by their demos!”, and the notion of creating the term “dungeon punk” was more or less a noteworthy attempt, but in my opinion, this is not among those inventions which will be remembered for that long.