Formed in 2005, the Portland, Maine,natives Ruin have made a name for themselves in the U.S. Northeast and beyond, developing their own original brand of distinguished, no-holds-barred thrash/groove metal, reminiscent of bands such as Strapping Young Lad and Fear Factory.
RUIN have revealed a new video, which can be seen below for “Living in Fear,” the final single from the band’s latest album, entitled Rite of Passage. Filmed and directed by the band and edited by guitarist/vocalist Richard Carey, the video weaves together dark performance footage and bleak images, creating the perfect visual counterpart to the song’s lyrical message.
How did you first get into music? Who or what turned you onto metal?
I came from a musical household. My old man played guitar in a rock band, doing covers and originals. That alone meant that I had instruments around, more records than I could ever listen to and what not. We were probably the loudest house in the neighborhood for sure. My dad was never considered a metal head really, but the amount of music we had I was able to find things that were a little edgier than David Bowie. I remember digging through and finding Twisted Sister and bands like that, but the most impressionable material I found at a young age was Metallica’s Master of Puppets. I still have the copy that I doodled on with a red pen when I didn’t know any better. The more I found bands like Overkill and Testament, my exposure to hard rock and metal mixed with having instruments hanging around made me want to learn how to play drums and guitar.
What was your local scene like in 2005, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?
I remember diving into the scene face first because I really didn’t know any local bands. I was fresh out of high school and was listening to a lot of international bands, I was a die-hard Pantera kid, but I also dug some newer style metal like Korn and Slipknot. I discovered the local scene all at the same time that I was becoming part of it. My favorite local bands to play shows with was Cryptic Overcast, The End of Everything, Nobis, Vertigod, and Pigboat among others. As much as I liked these bands, we had our own sound, and never aspired to be anything we weren’t. We did always aspire to take our live performance to the next level, as some of these bands with more experience were able to pave the way. Most of the bands we played with back then are all gone now, with a few exceptions. I really dig this NH / Boston band right now called Epicenter, they are technical but still have a lot of groove in their tunes.
How did you become a singer and guitarist? What other instruments do you rock?
Well, this goes way back… I started as a drummer. I was obsessed with becoming a great metal drummer. I found a middle school project from 6th grade recently that we made about ourselves…it was to get to know other kids at school, and I quoted…. “ I want to be like Vinnie Paul” in the brochure under the “heroes” section. This was good for me to strive for early on because it helped me develop a solid rhythm understanding, which started shaping me into the metal guitar player I am today. My band RUIN was created by my brother and I, so when he was taking off as an incredibly talented drummer, I found guitar. It is safe to say I still rock the drums; it’s just not what I spend much time on. It’s more for developing song ideas for me now, and I love to play bass as well.
What do you call the kind of music you perform in Ruin?
I have found it easiest to describe as a Thrash / Groove band. I like to think of it as an extension of the American wave of Thrash Metal.
You have a new music video for “Living In Fear,” which premiered on Revolver. How did that all come about and what kind of reaction has it received?
Well, it is still pretty new, I haven’t had any bad feedback, perhaps people are just being nice! This video started as test footage really….I have dabbled in editing video here and there, and I really enjoy lining up the correct parts in the live playing to the official audio tracks. To be truthful, this was footage that was going to be thrown out. We filmed ourselves playing the song in 2017, and I started to work on editing on the side to see if I could make a video that we felt was worthy of putting out. At this point, our band had been together for thirteen years, and tension had built up too much with our schedules not working anymore. This resulted in my brother leaving the group. That was by far the hardest thing we had ever gone through. There was no closure, no last show together, nothing like that. I wasn’t going to release this video, but after some thought and about a year’s worth of editing on the side, I decided to honor this line-up with this as a memory of what this band was. So, in a way, this has been a way that I could find closure in the project we worked so hard on for so long.
Should artists and other entertainers, such as actors and athletes keep quiet, about politics and social issues?
That’s an interesting topic. I think the answer should vary depending on the person, or band/artist if you asked a band like Rage Against The Machine that is like their whole thing! Some bands and celebrities base a lot of their material on politics. On the other hand, you can lose fans by sharing too much of your personal beliefs, in music you can really split your crowd by mentioning your political opinion. I think from a fan’s perspective; they don’t necessarily look to the metal group on stage for their political opinion. I would hope if a band is taking a political stance that they all feel the same. We are fully submerged in the information age, people are quick to be opinionated, and everyone is put on blast via social media as soon as they slip on anything. I have my own political opinions, but I don’t share them publicly, to me it’s not worth it.
What is the plan for recording new music, where, when and with who will be recording you?
Since adding Lee LeVasseur on drums, formerly from the band Nobis, we have sort of come to a clean slate from past material that we have kicked around. Now that we have some live shows under our belt and we know we have great chemistry working together, we can now move forward into hammering out this next album in our new writing process. I don’t wish to announce yet the names of the producers we have been in contact with until we fully decide what direction we are going to go, but we think that everybody will be excited with our direction with that. We have great recording resources here in Maine, as well as Massachusetts, Montreal, and LA, but I would be able to answer this better by the time our writing process is wrapped up.
Who are your original influences and who are your current inspirations local and or international?
I mentioned earlier that I was really into Metallica at a young age. I kept digging up metal when I could find it, and Pantera had the most profound effect on me early on as well. Another band that really just rocked me is Meshuggah. They have had a ton of influence on me throughout their career and to this day.
What album epitomizes your style of music over all others?
I’ve never once thought of that. It is so hard to put a finger on one particular album. If I have to choose maybe I just say something cool like Destroy, Erase, Improve by Meshuggah. I don’t actually think it is the same style really, but I get the same feeling when I play RUIN as when I listen to awesome metal like that.
Has music at all been therapeutic for you, is there a particular artist or type of music you go to for comfort?
I’ve been listening to some NIN lately. I started putting together some Spotify playlists pulling from all sorts of influences that bring me back to certain times throughout my own musical discovery. Being a kid in the ’90s had its perks. I have Rollins Band playing, Faith No More, Suicidal Tendencies, Sepultura, Fear Factory, and Slayer…. All of which brings me comfort and therapy…. Ha
What was the first music you bought, what was the first concert you saw, where was it and who was it?
I do remember buying Metallica’s Load album. I was expecting a sequel to the black album, and I was shocked. I later found that I do like that album a lot, it’s just nothing what I had expected. You might laugh to know the first real concert I was at was Meatloaf at the Civic Center in Portland, ME.
Top 5 albums or songs released in the last 12 months and all time?
I haven’t been staying too current lately, but I do dig that new Slipknot song, “All Out Life.” Those guys always deliver. I am going to skip to the top 5 albums of all time…. I will keep it Metal… Best of all time is such a tall order but here are some strong records in my life… Hmm, gotta throw up “Vulgar Display of Power” as a top tier album. “Master of Puppets” is a masterpiece. “Chaosphere” by Meshuggah. “Ashes of the Wake” by Lamb of God…. and I’ll go ahead and throw a curve ball at you with Infectious Grooves album “Sarsispius’ Ark.”