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Ruins!Ruins! (note the odd punctuation and spacing in the name) are a post-rock band from Siberia. That's a rather large area, but i suppose that people must live there. I don't really know a lot about it.

Mammock is actually one of the more engaging post-rock records that i have heard lately. The genre is, well, kind of stagnant. Too many bands make by-the-numbers post-rock that takes Explosions in the Sky and a little Godspeed and mixes them together. It can be fun, but is largely unchallenging.

Ruins!Ruins! include a healthy does of post-metal in what they are doing. Specifically, i hear a little Russian Circles in the music here, more metal influence than is typical in this genre. That seems an odd coincidence -- a band from Russia being influenced by a band from Chicago that name-checks their home country. But i have no evidence that these Siberians have ever heard Russian Circles, there is just a certain heaviness to their music that stretches beyond post-rock and, with its instrumental nature, makes me think of Russian Circles.

Metal is certainly popular in Russia, so i suppose that the influence might go back a layer. That is, the metal bands that Russian Circles drew from might also be some of the same bands that Ruins!Ruins! draw from.

But this line of speculation will get me nowhere. There is some metal in the post-rock here, and i find it refreshing. This is a solid listen.

Serene starts things off with a cello drone and picked guitar, faintly moving along as drums slowly chug up from under the haze. And yes, Ruins!Ruins! apparently use cello as the bass layer in their music. This is pretty typical of post-rock, but not something you see in things with such a large metal influence. At any rate, this song grows slowly, and then suddenly the drummer hits a fill and the guitars start a thick metallish chugging. This is actually a different track, called Hurricane and it reminds me a lot of Russian Circles. It has that intensity, that chugging fury to it. Of course, Ruins!Ruins! modify it a bit, making the density pause and separate with slower, more melodic passages, a la post-rock by the numbers. But i still enjoy this song, the ferocity of the fast sections is underscored by the times that the music parts and becomes slower.

Distress is an aptly named song, as the plinking guitar and spastic rhythm make the song seem tense. It moves along nicely though, the guitars really grinding in a way that seems almost math-rock, as if a little Rodan is added back in to the Explosions in the Sky blur of the music here.

Grab has a really nice part towards the end where the chugging stops, the cello saws away and the guitars pick a nice little melody, a la the latest Explosions in the Sky record. The whole band does some really powerful hits, everyone chugging along, on the "choruses", but the verses are full of guitar histrionics and droning cello.

The next tune, Arch features a chugging, seesawing rhythm with lots of fuzz on the guitars. The drummer does a fast martial beat while the guitars chug through distortion. This is really nice.

Kurta is more like an Explosions in the Sky song. What i mean is that the guitars here do not have that metal sound so much. The cello is wonderful though, making a really nice layer behind the guitars. Ruins!Ruins! continue their excursion into Texan post-rock with Szorstki, which really grinds with rhythmic histrionics and deep guitar riffing. This song gets really epic, the band hammering at it.

For Collumns (sic) this is more Russian Circles like, one guitar droning long slow distorted bluesy notes while another chugs as the drummer really pounds his kit.

Polynya, which wraps up this album, is really nice. The guitars hit a grinding groove, a really nice sound that just chimes and chugs along as the drummer goes berserk with his cymbals, his bass drum kick that flat sound that Metallica's Lars Ulrich uses so well. On top of this, the cello saws deeply, almost forlorn as it floats over the music. This is really nice, the contrast between the metal drumming, the distorted guitars, and the melancholy cello works really well.

I am rather impressed. This Siberian band has made a very engaging album that blends post-rock and post-metal very nicely.

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