Being a huge fan of the talents of shred monster Andy James, I’ve been looking forward to this debut from Sacred Mother Tongue ever since I first heard that Andy had finally succeeded in bringing together a band. His solo album In the Wake of Chaos (2007) is without a doubt one of the finer moments in shred history in this millennium, and I couldn’t wait to find out how his aggressive yet melodious playing would fit in with the metalcore/melodic death genre.
With The Ruin of Man these guys have put together an album that rips and riffs its way through 13 rock hard tracks that are based mainly on some heavy, mid-tempo riffing, and singing that alternates from aggressive screaming to clean vocals. But on top of this we get some stunning guitar work by Andy James in the form of melody lines that act in counterpoint to the underlying staccato riffing, and on a handful of tracks he even lays down some of his amazing trademark solo work.
I must admit that at first I didn’t really like the singing of Darrin South, but while he hasn’t got the impressive range of Rody Walker (Protest The Hero) or the power of, say, Björn Strid (Soilwork), he nonetheless does an adequate job throughout the album. And although I would have loved to hear even more of Andy James’ soloing, I can understand why he ‘holds back’ and lets this album be more of a collaboration, a real band.
Apart from the two short interludes, I quite honestly can’t find one filler on this album. Every single track delivers, either through sheer force or a killer groove, and all the members of the band do a great job at pounding out some fine metal. Adding a second guitarist might open up some alternative avenues in the writing phase, but for the time being I believe Andy has sufficient ideas and skills to keep this from becoming monotonous or uninspired. So, if you’re into metalcore and melodic death, this gem should definitely go straight to the top of your to-buy list!
Stand-out tracks: 'The Man You Tried To Hide’, ‘The Suffering’, ‘A Final Idea’, ‘Hour Glass’.