[7/10] After two years based in London and two EP releases under their belts (2007’s Lost In London and 2010’s self titled effort), hard rock outfit Dead City Ruins decided to call it a day. But after relocating back to Melbourne, Australia in 2010, both vocalist Haggis Jake and bassist/backing vocalist Mick decided not to give up on the band, and consequently recruited new members into the fold (guitarist Tommy and drummer Drewsy), and started hitting the road taking their bluesy based brand of old school rock and roll out to masses. Twelve months on and a revamped and reinvigorated Dead City Ruins are back with their debut full-length album Midnight Killer.
Mixing influences from acts such as Buckcherry, AC/DC, Guns ‘N Roses and The Poor Boys, Dead City Ruins are an energetic rocking outfit that deliver hard rock in the classic vein, which is more than evident in the album’s opening track “Where You Gonna Run.” The guitars certainly deliver plenty of heavy riffing that is essential to any huge sounding rocker, but it’s the water tight rhythm section that keeps the song from falling apart that really impresses as well. While vocalist Jake may not have the grit of most hard rock vocalists, he does manage to get the best out of his vocal range, and add his own flavour to the band with his higher range.
“Damn My Eyes” is a definite favorite with its catchy riffing, driving rhythms and catchy as hell chorus, while the thick and rumbling bottom end on “My Lai Massacre” adds an extra bit of heaviness to the band’s sound that isn’t otherwise found on some of the other tracks on the album.
The title track “Midnight Killer” is another killer catchy effort with its sparse verses and big choruses, while the slower and more groove-like “Blues” provides a bit of a breather from the more harder rocking efforts on the album, as well as showcasing the exceptional work of Tommy on the lead guitar.
Despite some cool slide work on the guitar front, “Go To War” doesn’t stack up well as some of the band’s other offerings, as Jake seems to struggle a little out front, but the band do manage to finish out the tail end of the album with all guns blazing on the thumping “Highway Girl” and the metallic punch of the infectious “Fallen.”
Dead City Ruins’ debut is hardly a masterpiece, nor anything revolutionary given Australia’s tradition for producing classic heavy rock ‘n’ roll. But despite this, the band have produced a solid and thoroughly enjoyable release in Midnight Killer, with enough songs to fill out a live set to get punters rocking hard, and walk away after having enjoyed every last minute of the show.
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