Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
The World Will Burn - RuiNation
Musical Style: Hard Rock Produced By: Alan Zaring
Record Label: Retroactive Country Of Origin: USA & New Zealand
Year Released: 2017 Artist Website: The World Will Burn
Tracks: 12 Rating: 85%
Running Time: 52:32

The World Will Burn - RuiNation

A little more than a year ago, when The World Will Burn independently released its full-length debut Severity, jaws dropped.  It had to do with how the album stood apart in an all too predictable hard music scene with its ‘expansive and rumbling modern to grungy to straightforward hard rock sound reminiscent to Bride’s 1997 release The Jesus Experience’ (quoting the 85% Angelic Warlord review of Severity).  Furthermore, ‘Severity proves relevant musically from staying true to the hard rock side of things - the album surprises in terms of overall heaviness! - while not emphasizing the modern to a fault.’  That relevance reveals itself from the manner in which The World Will Burn will ‘change the way you look at hard rock music: New, fresh sounds combined with classic influences and thoughtful lyrics; power merged with grace; explosiveness married to innocence; rage fused with compassion’ (noting the groups press material).

The Bride comparison comes as no surprise in that The World Will Burn features iconic front man Dale Thompson, whom in a four-decade spanning career recorded 14 studio albums and 7 live albums with the Louisville, Kentucky based act.  Subsequent to the retirement of Bride following its final album from 2013, Incorruptible, Thompson moved to New Zealand, re-married and joined forces with United States based multi-instrumentalist Alan Zaring to form The World Will Burn.  In putting together Severity, the two worked remotely to ‘create music that transcends culture, language, and genres while focusing on emotion and passion rather than commercial success’ (again referencing The World Will Burn press material). 

The World Will Burn returns in the spring of 2017 on Retroactive Records with its sophomore effort RuiNation.  The album picks up where Severity leaves off with a sound both current and that remains true to the past at the same time.  Yes, RuiNation is modern but not to the point of coming across contrived due to sidestepping the vocal trappings that can turn many away from the current hard music scene.  In other words, no rap, core or screamed vocals but rather Thompson’s signature gritty and passionate blues soaked delivery.  If anything, his RuiNation performance mirrors that on Severity in featuring some of his most powerful and aggressive vocals to date.   

Also similar to Severity, RuiNation finds The World Will Burn delivering a bold guitar based inclining that hearkens back to old school Bride.  When placed side by side, I find RuiNation heavier than Severity, albeit slightly in that Severity by no means comes without its share of muscle.  This attributes to Zaring, whom decorates RuiNation with riffs and harmonies that resonate from the dark and weighty to the richly melodic in lending to that heaviness in question.  The point being that Zaring’s work is not that far removed from what fans have come to expect of founding Bride guitarist and brother Troy Thompson.    

Opener “Love To Hate” delivers the trademark ingredients that prove uniquely TWWB: angst and vehemence in equal portions backed by complementary growls from Thompson and the rumbling bass heavy presence to match.  In between, the song gives prominence to some slow to even slower time signatures (but without crossing the progressive threshold) alongside melody of an understated quality (a TWWB staple).

“We All Die Alone” further plays up the hooks while not backing from the guitar driven propensity.  The song starts relaxed and eerie, gradually drifting and building momentum until forceful guitars step forward and set the pummeling tone moving ahead.  An almost anthem-like aura reveals itself - chorus is of the distinguished variety - that fully complements the bone-crushing feel at hand.

“Welcome To The Freak Show” represents a joining of the dramatic and aggressive.  The song makes a reserved statement for its histrionic verses as tempered guitars lead the way only to break out forcefully for the churlish refrain delivered with near extreme intensity.  Thompson really reaches down low on this one and lends some firm resolve to his delivery.

“King For A Day” also delivers its share of slower to more forthright contrasts.  Preeminent bass and guitars that chug in and out of the mix carry the haunting verses, with momentum not picking up until guitars abruptly step in to impel the commanding ‘king - for a day!’ refrain.  The overall feel is fierce and focused but also creative, which the group takes to the next level (either way). 

A return to a more aggressive direction manifests on “Burn”.  The song moves its first minute instrumentally to ethereal keyboards and bluesy guitars, not taking off until rhythm guitars assert themselves and set the sharp tone its remaining distance.  A near doom-like setting is the upshot, with initiative thick and plodding and low-end bottom heavy as it gets.  No, this might not be the albums catchiest but certainly rates with the most powerful.

“Time” takes the more reticent tone, with distorted bass carrying things from the get go as tons of assertive groove and an over the top melody play defining roles.  TWWB might not place a high priority on soloing (neutral observation in light of its modern but not to a fault slant) but the fitting bluesy lead guitar helps build up the moving scene at hand.  Some of Zaring’s best-recorded bass helps “Time” further stand out.

“Nothing At All” also reinforces a melodic aspect.  The song takes a mid-paced heading, resolves in terms of the backbone of solid groove buttressing its verses, but also burnished from the teeming commercial essence to its sinuous refrain.  The offbeat (and very cool) backing vocals help buttress the twisting scene, not to mention the ‘it’s all about love or nothing at all’ lyrical slant.

“Child Of Tomorrow” kicks in at once, full and resounding in terms of an upbeat aura that refuses to yield but dominant in light of its every bit impertinent guitar presence.  From the non-stop hooks to the blistering guitar leads to the hard charging verve, everything about the song speaks of play at the loudest volume possible or not at all!  Put this one on classic Bride album Kinetic Faith (from 1991) and it would sound right at home.

The first minute and a half to “What Comes Across” maneuvers instrumentally to a melding of acoustic guitar, sound effects and narration.  The song plays up a mishmash of styles its direction, laying a metal based foundation but backed by heaps of accessible melody and the group’s innate bass driven groove.  An almost progressive element comes to the forefront as the various bits and pieces vie for contention its five-minute length.

Closing RuiNation is “All Things”, a short instrumental that moves its short direction to keyboards and portent vocal melodies to create an unnerving effect.

Also included are bonus track remixes to Severity cuts “Torment” and “Why”.  “Torment” translates in the weightier manner as more pronounced drums align with guitars that deliver added edge and bite, but otherwise it does not differ significantly from the original.  “Why”, on the other hand, comes across as the completely different song with funky bass and industrial keyboards resonating an infectious dance groove slant.  This is the manner in which remixes ought to be done- turning the original into something next to unrecognizable but still very good in the process!

Production is near perfect as it gets in taking things to the next level in comparison to Severity, which sounds quite solid in its own right.  Everything stands out in a BIG manner- big drums, big bass, big vocals and even bigger guitars.  RuiNation sets the stands in the area as far as self-financed releases are concerned.

TWWB lyrics communicate truth while coming across witty and well written at the same time.  Consider “Time” in this capacity -

Stop wasting time before time wastes you
Time has no color, time has no taste
Time has no sound, time is yours to waste

Stepping on the sentences that define me
Like an open book for every eye to see
The road to nowhere keeps me coming back
Right on time to touch the hand of Christ

- and “Nothing At All” as well:

I have nothing more to say
I am wishing all of my wishes away
If you see me bow my head
It is only to Jesus I pray

It’s not about right
It’s not about wrong
It’s all about love
Or nothing at all

Best statement of faith is made on “Love To Hate”:

I’ve shared in His suffering
Persecuted, not forsaken
Afflicted in every way, not crushed
Perplexed, not driven to despair
Struck down, not destroyed
In this nightmare

Let’s fight
Let’s rise up
Break the chains
We bring the truth
He will be heard
I am the Christian you love to hate

“Welcome To The Freak Show” follows suite:

The day love was crucified
In a psychedelic flash
The day all mothers cried
The day the music died

Paint his back with a whip from a strong hand
Blood red drips the color the sand
Gave His body like graffiti for the soul of man
Press a crown of thorns upon His head

Dale Thompson and Alan Zaring continue to prove a winning combination on The World Will Burn sophomore album RuiNation in presenting with similar top of the line performances while composing nine equally good full-length songs.  This also leads to the lone constructive comment regarding RuiNation in that rather than the short closing instrumental, I wish a tenth full-length track had been included instead.  Yes, I understand that good songs do not necessarily grow on trees, but perhaps the two could have taken a classic Bride cut and re-imagined it TWWB style.  That said RuiNation proves more than a match for Severity in upping production quality and heaviness in continuing to place emphasis on a modern to hard rock amalgamation.  If a fan of TWWB as a result of Severity then make RuiNation a priority purchase; likewise, if RuiNation is your first exposure to the group, Severity comes highly recommended as well.

Review by Andrew Rockwell

Track Listing: “Love To Hate” (4:01), “We All Die Alone” (4:37), “Welcome To The Freak Show” (4:28), “King For A Day” (3:53), ”Burn” (4:50), “Time” (4:49), “Nothing At All” (4:22), “Child Of Tomorrow” (5:04), “What Comes Around” (5:04), “All Things” (2:39), “Torment” (4:57), “Why” (3:47)

Dale Thompson - Lead Vocals
Alan Zaring - Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Drums & Drum Programming

Additional Musicians
Tim Bushong - Guitars & Keyboards
Lawson Zaring - Keyboards


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