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My Ruin - A Southern Revelation


by Morley Seaver

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Some people learn things by being educated via a traditional route; a book or instructor. Others require hands-on experience to be able to grasp the information or by feeling/seeing the effects and committing the results to memory.

It would have behooved My Ruin's former label boss to subscribe to the former method rather than the latter. Unfortunately, instead of taking the cue from others who have chosen to cross swords with Tairrie B Murphy, said executive has elected to experience her wrath first-hand. The following story sounds like it should have come from a Spinal-Tap-tinged Friday night who-dun-it (or in this case, why-dun it?) but sadly it's a real story.

Right out of the blue, the owner of Tiefdruck Musik curiously approached the husband and wife team of Mick and Tairrie B Murphy in 2010 to record something for his label. Upon delivering the finished product, the wickedly excellent Ghosts and Good Stories, the duo quickly found out that alleged promises were not being kept. The release schedule was askew as fans protested loudly from various countries that product was not available. Then adding insult to injury, tour support for a promised campaign in My Ruin's prime stomping grounds, the UK, mysteriously vanished on the eve of the tour. The atmosphere became adversarial. A flurry of pointed emails were exchanged and things went quickly downhill from there. Why the executive decided to derail the My Ruin train just as the passengers were boarding is a source of great mystery.

The pair found themselves in the unenviable position of having to promote a new record that was coming out on a label they were unexpectedly divorcing themselves from. After they had recovered from the shock of the events, an idea began to take shape; why not make a record about the experience?

The Murphys retreated to their respective corners to vent in their own inimitable styles and did what they know how to do so very well. Mick reached deep into the creative well and cultivated his most limber set of riffs yet; heavy but with some buoyancy that makes the songs roll as much as they rock. Tairrie, no stranger to venomous wordplay, utilized her poisonous tongue as she addressed the treachery which had just taken place.

The result is quite simply My Ruin's finest hour of recorded music. A Southern Revelation is a lethal combination of art, revenge, and catharsis. Absolutely stinking of hatred, the record can only be considered more of an exercise in psychotherapy than music for the sake of creativity. In fact, the whole thing is like one big fist fight with the band looking to beat the snot out of their muse in order to extract some revenge.

In fact, in a twisted way, this record could be subtitled My Ruin's Fight Club. As a nod to that gloriously f**ked up movie, you could group the songs the same way Tyler presented certain ideas. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, go rent the movie, kids!

I am Tairrie's epic sense of rage

A Southern Revelation --- so named because it was recorded in Mick's hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee --- contains some of the band's most savage dressing downs but is strangely not as musically brutal as the previous release. And that's a good thing, folks. Taking the foot off the pedal once a while is good for the preservation of engine and transmission. Yet the overall effect doesn't diminish the anger that emanates from the record. The word rage doesn't do the sentiment of these songs justice.

Highly Explosive is a great case in point. While not as cement heavy as, say Ready for Blood, the song still packs a wallop. More straight-ahead, the music allows the lyrics to take centre stage.

I've read those ugly things you said
And I just can't get em out my head
I've heard about your nasty mouth
The trash I know you talked all over town
It makes me sick to think we ever trusted or believed you
So stay the f**k away from us cause we no longer need you
I'm so ready - yes I'm ready - to unload again
Highly explosive - You were warned I might explode again

Moving on, no can accuse of Tairrie of being obtuse with Reckoning. If you weren't clear on her feelings about the label boss, this puts it into perfect perspective. Spat with the conviction that has put others on death row, Tairrie puts to rest the ancient mantra that sticks and stones will break my bones but names can never harm me. Here's a sample: Woke up today and saw the light flash right before our eyes
We're done with all your poor excuses and your dirty lies
The world will know the man is nothing but a little bitch
We've burned another bridge and this time we don't give a sh*t.
So arrogant, your power trip let's you believe you're right
So sick inside your egotistic, twisted little mind
You're just another motherf*cker and a lesson learned
This is our reckoning, you've said enough now it's our turn.

Just as direct is the new unofficial Screw You anthem, Middle Finger. Although largely effectively delivered via spoken word, the fury cannot be harnessed even though it's not delivered in a scream.
You'd like to think that you know me well - You never thought I would ever tell
Signed a deal with the Devil - Then I told him to go straight to hell
I'd like to take you by your hand - And bash your skull in with a bat
I'd like to cut you down to size - While I pray for your demise
And this time I won't be nice - I'd like to end your f*cking life.
You're all talk but your words are empty – The big shot you pretend to be
You're all talk but your words are empty - My middle finger is all you get from me

I am Tairrie's pain of betrayal

They say the only thing more dangerous than a lion is a wounded, trapped lion. My Ruin has certainly endured the slings and arrows of the life of an indie metal band. Adding fuel to fire are record label collapses, car accidents and other incidents that might have sidelined less-committed bands. Betrayal ranks high on the list of transgressions which the pair have faced.

Previous targets have mostly been highlighted in songs, mercifully sheltered from exposure by the obscurity of Tairrie's lyrics. Insiders and true fans can usually figure out who the victim is, however. Witness Spilling Open's, I know when I stab her, it won't be in the back and Saviourself where Tairrie delivers some pointed lyrics like Well I guess it's true what they say. Friendship is a fashion. Might there be some burning ears among former bandmates per chance?

With this record, the bulk of the record has one intended victim, but a prevailing sense of pain of betrayal stems from other sources as well. Former friends cannot escape the ire of Tairrie as illustrated in Vultures: The line is thin and red - Between the love and hate
The Sky is far and wide - To London from LA
Where there's a carcass there's a vulture - Picking bones of flesh and minds
The devil's drawing in the details – Where friendships go to die.
Regular readers of Tairrie's posts will recognize the perpetrator of disloyalty (at least I think so).

One of the more explosive tracks, musically speaking, on the record is Deconscrated. The riffs are concrete heavy and one where Tairrie goes full bore at the mike almost all the way through. One of the best moments of the whole set is the part of the song where Tairrie declares This is a southern revelation and Mick slams down a riff that sounds like a metal war dance. Intensity guaranteed. On the subject of betrayal, the sentiment of the record can be summed up in one line from the song, Every friend…..is a future enemy.

Equally telling is The Soulless Beast:
The soulless beast, he came to feast upon our hearts with sin
He took the form of many men and called himself a friend
His charming words they lead us to believe and follow him
We couldn't see his teeth but we could feel his grin

The soulless beast appeared so confident to gain our trust
Born of a jackal but disguised himself as one of us
He changed his face and shape when we would start to realize
He was as evil as the book of Daniel prophesied.

I am Tairrie's sense of reflection

With any great tragedy there is a grieving process with the final step being acceptance. The record begins with Tennessee Elegy and lyrically Tairrie talks about coming to terms with the whole sordid affair and filing it away in the file cabinet marked Another Bad Experience.

Under a black and starry sky
Make my peace and say goodbye
Dig the grave and watch it die
Bury this in my mind
Gone but not forgotten.

While the song is of putting to rest the past, the music is anything but. Like a battering ram, the duo refuse to go softly into that good night, setting the bar high for the rest of the record.

Seventh Sacrament talks about how A Southern Revelation acts as their version of a head shrink's couch. The record is their seventh release and the means by which they dealt with the events of the last year.
January screams bring back memories
Ghosts from the past and other good stories
Immortalized in a Southern lament
The hills of Tennessee won't let me forget

The seventh sacrament – Body and blood
The seventh sacrament – Art that I bleed
The seventh sacrament – Flesh and the word
The seventh sacrament is setting us free

I am Mick's sonic revenge

While the emphasis on the record is the lyrical matter which helps paint a compelling picture of this monumental occasion in My Ruin's timeline, the musical contributions of Mick Murphy cannot be overlooked.

Rock's best kept secret once again shoulders the load of all guitars, bass and drums for the record and A Southern Revelation might describe how newcomers to the band might view the mighty maestro. Once again, Murph throws out riff after tasty riff and manages to avoid repetition or boredom.

There are also a few surprises such as my favorite song on the record, Walk of Shame which is a total left turn. Instead of blasting straight ahead, the song boogies along with a snake-like charm that is positively to-use-a-now-passé expression Winning! To further add to its winsome nature, it shifts into a fantastic bridge in the middle of the song that just slams it out of the park.

Shaking up the lineup, Mick conjures up a riff with the The Soulless Beast that rivals the best Iommi has to offer. Scary and dense, it lumbers at your ears much like the title track of Throat Full of Heart before erupting in a double-time maelstrom featuring one of his traditional humming-bird solos. Through this whole record Mick Murphy wears his credentials on his sleeve with every single riff.

I am Tairrie's sardonic sense of humor

No one can accuse My Ruin being serious all the time. Like its cousin Money Shot from the previous record, Walk of Shame sees Tairrie wryly observing life in Los Angeles and the actions of those who only seek the limelight and what they'll do to get it.

Now I can tell by the way you came in - You're just dying to be famous
Strung out on your own reflection – In desperate need of attention
So high on hope you're wasted - So close you can almost taste it
So yesterday you're faded - Welcome to LA….you've made it.

Tairrie and Mick always tackle covers that fit them like a glove and this time is no different. Tackling Van Halen's Mean Street, the band could be continuing their love/hate relationship with LA or they could be referring to the boulevard that My Ruin always seem to find themselves on. Either way, the result is a tremendous way to close out the record. Mick handles the guitar god's six string fireworks with ease and Tairrie, while not a conventional singer per se, gives a solid performance echoing DLR's whiskey-soaked voice with conviction.

And I haven't even got to the most exciting part of this examination, kiddies. As a big Middle Finger to their old label, My Ruin has offered up A Southern Revelation to the world as a freebie. That's right. You can pick it up here Due to overwhelming encouragement from their fans, the band has set up a donation button on the website so you can contribute for your freebie should you feel the desire.

Whether it be from the considerable inspiration that played a part in the creation of this record or just the natural evolution of a determined band, A Southern Revelation is simply stellar. It's becoming tradition for me to say this but it's tough to imagine My Ruin sounding any better than this.

Visit the official homepage here

My Ruin - A Southern Revelation
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