Sound — 9
Hailing from the Bay Area in California, Ruffians produce pure American Power Metal. Slower and heavier than your typical power metal bands like Blind Guardian, HammerFall, and DragonForce (ugh), Ruffians' style is more like Iced Earth mixed with Iron Maiden. Their sound is very guitar driven and as such there are some great riffs and solos on this record, that being said, nothing seems out of place. All of the songs are beautifully constructed and there is not one boring track on the disc, even the acoustic "It Ain't Over" manages to be powerful in its own sense.
Lyrics — 7
Lyrically, it's not anything special. However, the lyrics are much more enjoyable and less "fantasy orientated" (I guess that's what you'd call it) than those of Manowar or some of the other bands out there. Most of the songs are well written, conveying primarily personal struggles with a bit of a defiance. Rich Wilde's singing style is primarily a harsh, but clean style, occasional hitting falsetto.
Overall Impression — 9
Despite the fact that this Ruffians has been in existence since 1983, they have only put out two studio albums in that time (one in 1985 and this one in 2006). This album is extremely impressive when you consider the fact that they were completely inactive for 15 years from 1989-2004, reuniting after a large amount of support from fans. I actually discovered Desert of Tears, and thus Ruffians, because I accidentally clicked the wrong link trying to download another album. I thought what the heck and gave it a listen, I was instantly amazed by the sheer power the music. On a personal level, I rate this up there with Iced Earth's Something Wicked This Way Comes, it is an amazing album from a band that has remained relatively under the radar. Pick this up or download it, youwon't be disappointed.