Release DetailsLABEL Spinefarm
RELEASED ON 1/20/2004
The Black League
Man's Ruin Revisited
posted on 4/2004 By:
OK, I admit it. When I first saw this album, my first thought was, “Did these guys record an album of covers from former Man’s Ruin bands?” I found it odd that a Finnish goth-metal group featuring ex-Sentenced vocalist Taneli Jarva would pay tribute to the now defunct American home to many stoner rock bands. So I immediately went to the band’s bio. Yup. Way off. Turns out that “Man’s Ruin”, according to said bio, is one of the central concepts in Classic American Old School Tattoo Art – the unholy trinity of Drink, Gambling, and Wild Women.
What we have here, then, is one of the most severe musical transformations since ex-Testament shredder Alex Skolnick gave up his metal for progressive jazz. As of this moment, The Black League is now a “21st Century Downer Rock” band. Or, if you have trouble swallowing that, simply a dirty rock-n-roll band. Henceforth, Man’s Ruin Revisited is likely to alienate the majority of the band’s core fanbase, while continuing to appeal to others and attracting a whole other demographic.
Musically, the band definitely has the chops to pull it off, and Jarva’s voice doesn’t sound nearly as out of place as you might expect. In fact, he can rock out with the best of them. The band at times sounds like different combinations of the Hellacopters, newer Corrosion of Conformity, Clutch, and AC/DC, without ever sounding too much like any of them. Unfortunately, this is a very difficult genre to stand out in, and The Black League misses the mark in that regard. Not that this album is entirely bad – it just isn’t very creative. Tracks like “Old World Monkey”, “Cold Women, Warm Beer”, and “Ain’t No Friend of Mine” rock hard with enough hookiness to infect your brain for a time. Slower tracks like “Hot Wheels”, “Mad Ol’ Cowboy”, and “Lost in the Shadows” plod along at not-quite-doom paces, but are ultimately more of a downer.
Ultimately, this album is a double letdown. First of all because this is not The Black League you’ve been a fan of, and secondly because the new material and sound is not quite up to par with other bands of the genre. The stuff that rocks, RAWKS! What does not rock, though, does not rock, and will have you reaching for the fast-forward button – or perhaps a copy of their debut album Ichor.
Register to post comments.