Sound — 10
A Wilhelm Scream is a very quality punk/melodic hardcore band that has a unique sound that is very refreshing for current music. Ruiner features some of the finest musicianship in any genre of music with 14 killer tracks clocking in at just over 36 minutes. Relentless riffs and unforgettable guitar harmonies begin with the opening track "The King Is Dead" which starts off with a clean intro of just two guitars and a bass that leads into a thrashing song that doesn't let up. This is one of the best songs on the album and is a perfect opener. "Killing It" and "The Pool" stick with the same formula of incredibly technical musicianship and precision that is unmatched by most bands out there. Every instrument (two guitars, bass, drums, vocals) contributes to these songs very well and the skill is noticeable on all levels. "In Vino Veritas II" is the slowest song on the album, but it still features quality guitar work and is still a decent song. It stands out with all of the faster songs on the album and seems oddly placed on the track order, but listening through the album it is certainly not filler and shouldn't be skipped over. The energy kicks right back in with "Me vs. Morrissey in the Pretentious Contest (The Ladder Match)" and "Congratulations" which are two of the best songs on the album. The former track features an especially good harmony solo and some crazy guitar fills that work very nicely. "The Kids Can Eat a Bag of Dicks" (interestingly funny title) is a unique song on the album as well and I really like the way the riffs are ordered. The verses start with a primarily drum driven sound then transition into a "mini" breakdown for the second part of it which sounds really cool. The final track, "Cancer Dream," has some of the best guitar work, which begins with another great intro that is divided into different sections and the last riff of it is the most memorable. Just another awesome song and perfect closer, ending with "nobody needs nobody after all." This is an extremely technical album, especially for a punk band, and I would think that most guitar players would be pleased with the riffs that are showcased here.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are smart and appropriate for these songs. Some really good lines are found in these songs such as in "The King is Dead:" "To absolve the joy from me is to erase what made me a slave. I'm a king to be. I traded my life for art and the guilt is weighing down my arms." This song is probably the best on the album lyrically. In the song "The Soft Sell" actually makes use of the line "I am so f--king bored" to be more than some unintelligent complaint and works well in the song. I just can't think of one poorly written song on this album. Vocals: The singer, Nuno Pereira, does a great job on this album and I find this to be their greatest release to date mainly because of his voice on this album. The back up vocals are great and really add a good dynamic to each song. This album was produced by Bill Stevenson (of the Descendents, one of the most melodically genius punk bands of all time) and the vocal melodies on this album are dead on (it would be a shame to ruin these outstanding guitar riffs with sub par vocals). One minor downside that I can see in this department is that the vocals on these songs may seem to blend together by the end of the album and sometimes do sound very similar. By the end of the album people may be thinking "I've heard this vocal melody before," but it would be extremely difficult to take anything away from the musicianship on any song.
Overall Impression — 10
I know I've said almost all positive things about this album, but I really can't think of anything negative to say, apart from the similarities in vocal patterns/melodies. This is just one of those albums that you put on and from start to finish never think about skipping a song. Best songs: "The King is Dead" "The Soft Sell" "The Kids Can Eat a Bag of Dicks" "Cancer Dream" "Congratulations" I would compare this band to Propagandhi, as that's the first band that I thought of when I heard this cd. Any Propagandhi fan would most likely enjoy this album. Hopefully this convinces people to at least listen to this album, look up some songs on youtube or anywhere online to check them out. If I lost this album I would buy it again, even though I use Itunes, just to have this CD as it is one of my all time favorites. Thanks for reading. Enjoy!