A Wilhelm Scream - Ruiner
Record Label: Nitro Records
Release Date: August 16, 2005
A Wilhelm Scream is an interesting beast. Starting off in 1996 as Koen and quickly moving on to Smackin' Isaiah, they made two albums before changing to A Wilhelm Scream. They made this name change, legends say, to quit being mistaken for a ska band. Thomas Carvalho left the band, only for them to find Christopher Levesque. This became a turning point for the band as Levesque so happened to be the Yang to lead guitarist Trevor Reilly's Ying. What spawned was the album Mute Print, which was a nod to technical guitar playing, while still displaying fast and loose like a punk record. The album was widely praised by punk critics for its stellar musicianship and honest but thought provoking lyrics. The pressure was put on the shoulders on the boys in A Wilhelm Scream to top their best album yet.
What they brought forth was a cold, dark machine.
From the second you turn on Ruiner, there is no turning back. It is fairly noticeable that the musicians in this band have stepped up their game in the intro to "The King Is Dead", which is now widely known as A Wilhelm Scream's defining track. Starting with a fairly quiet guitar intro before kicking into a storm of fast picking and stop-and-go drums, the band has dragged you into their album, and they aren't letting you go. As you go through the album, you are treated to sweet guitar licks ("God Loves a Liar", "Cancer Dream") and bombarded with walls of power chords ("Killing It", "The Kids Can Eat a Bag Of Dicks"). Everything is extremely tight and necessary to every track. Every second counts and A Wilhelm Scream are not wasting it. The tracks fly by and each flows with the next.
Musicianship? Sure. Guitarists Reilly and Levesque are the champions of this album, and for good reason. While there aren't a lot of "solo" moments for the guys on this album, there are plenty of extremely difficult sounding parts that are satisfying to hear. The intros to "Speed of Dark" and "Cancer Dream" sound like something Iron Maiden would have written. The rhythm section of Nicholas Angelini and Jonathan Teves is very tight but can explode at any second, keeping on pace with the whirlwind of guitars. The strengths of this band are completely realized on the hilariously titled "Me Vs. Morrissey In the Pretentiousness Contest (The Ladder Match)", with everything going full bore and at their peak. The production is not too flashy, but it's not weak either. It is perfect for the album.
Nuno Pereira's vocals are a weak point on the album, but they're not necessarily weak. The man was born to bark with an chip on his shoulder. His vocals are complimented with Trevor Reilly's backup vocals (which are used to lead the song "In Vino Veritas II") which actually add good call and response moments between the two and add to the layering of the vocals. The lyrics they sing are very dark, stirring up clever lines about autoerotic asphyxiation ("The knife or the rope or the lemon, this brain and I") while tackling other subjects along the lines of self loathing and realization.
My only real gripe with this album is "Mercy Day for Mr. Vengeance", which sort of drags near the end of the album. While the song is initially good, it overstays its welcome with needless repetition at the end. Otherwise, what you have here is a solid technical punk rock album. While Mute Print fans may cry that their album is the better of the two, all of the aspects of this album point to a step up in A Wilhelm Scream' game. Ruiner is highly recommended if you like gnarly, fast, and angry music.