“Blackgaze” is now a thing. It’s been confirmed. Just don’t use Deafheaven as the only example. Any new genre needs new blood to keep the momentum high and, though they may not sit perfectly within the designated safety lines, Ruetz are the blackened torch bearers this slightly kooky movement needs. Blackened hardcore when the hardcore needs to be blackened and post-gaze enough to keep the indie kids tapping brown leather shoes to the beat, debut salvo Melanoma stares at it’s trotters long enough to be a gaze. Thankfully, the gaze is short lived and the fun parts move firmly to front of stage.
The power trio is dead, in comes the power couple again. Lennon and Ono are quaking in their boots, both below and above ground respectively. The continent spanning journey of the two members of Ruetz has surely made it’s mark. A mark that brands this particularly aggressive form of post-metal with the right amount of seared, blackened flesh. Opener “Operation In Famine” is as relentless a blackened post assault as there is. Fact.
The twisted gnashing of blasts and washy, black metal chords stands as the foundations of a wicked debut release; at fifteen minutes long, this leaves most of the blackgaze imitators grimacing at their convoluted, expansive set lists. The initial rush of d-beats and blasts gives way to hoarse, emotive declarations of love, loss and lust (probably), all framed by the most evil of Thrice worship. Melanoma is pretty much the byproduct of sweaty tryst between Thrice’s Alchemy Index and Young And In The Way‘s When Life Comes To Death. That’s an image right there.
Not taking away from the compositions of Ruetz, but the Thrice comparison has to be reiterated. The post hardcore legends will forever be regarded as the creators of the dark pop ballad, but Ruetz do it splendidly too. Not corpse paint and bullet belt dark, but introspectively hashing out every second guessed decision and painfully reliving old memories dark. Melanoma is dark and oppressive in it’s most pummeling moments, yeah, but on each of the six tracks on this record the band hit morose notes associated with genres without a black/ened prefix.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Unless one can’t take enjoyment from grinding, sombre blasts of aggression and open book heartache; in which case it very much is fifteen minutes of doom and gloom, sorry. Melanoma is wistful without staring in the rear view for too long and it highlights the spectacular range of influences that Ruetz meld together. With a running time that demands, nay, insists on repeated listens, the blackened hardcore post-metal magic on display deserves more than these words. It’s fairy tale stuff for this pair from here on out. Holy Roar continue the trend of releasing off-kilter, emotional music that satisfies the itch for riffs, blasts and beautifully structured anti pop music. 2017, meet your label of the year.
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Melanoma was released on December 16th via Holy Roar Records. You can head on over here to purchase it.