I guess the band’s name speaks for itself, right? Derogatory, distasteful and confrontational. No surprise then to discover that that is exactly what you get on Ruiner, the debut EP from the Atlanta, Georgia-based trio. Produced by Kyle Spence of Harvey Milk fame, and slathered in a very apt buzzing dissonance, Ruiner sets out an opening gambit of five inflamed carbuncles of noise, smothered with molasses-thick sludge.
Neo-monolithic noise-rock, that’s how Whores describe their sound. And being as they’re the ones making it, they should know. But there’s more to it than that, it isn’t that simple. Sure, there’s a primordial palpability to Ruiner, the five tracks that make up the EP are gut-punches one and all—visceral and tangible celebrations of the power of stripped-back noise-rock. But to say they are simply uncomplicated might imply they are painless, or superfluous in some way. They are not.
There’s a legacy at work here, with Ruiner being indebted to a long tradition of sonic insurgents such as The Jesus Lizard, the Melvins, and yes, Harvey Milk. That’s not to suggest Whores have merely studied those bands’ playbooks and plucked the best ideas, they haven’t, but there’s that familiar sense of recalcitrant, belligerent noise being used to test the audience. An admirable “fuck you” sentiment that bands so desperate for fawning fans fail to employ.
It’s really all there on track one, “Daddy’s Money”. That wall of distortion that kicks things off, the rudimentary feedbacking riff and crashing cymbals that sketches out the intro before Christian Lembach’s vocals come howling in. It’s a faceoff between you and the band. You’re either on board with the fury and spite or not, no messing about, and there’s a fantastically unhinged feeling that the band couldn’t give a fuck either way. As if, audience or not, they’re going to be pumping this bilge out regardless.
“Fake Life” arrives next, and finds the band building on top of that unstable, messy foundation with Travis Owen laying out the pounding percussion and Jake Shultz’s bass mercilessly thrumming. It’s a doubled-up pummeling start to the EP, no doubt about that. And while the tracks zip by in a scant few minutes, there’s enough in there to get your hooks into. Could they be longer? Well, yeah, obviously, but that would defeat the purpose, which is, shock and awe, right?
Jazzed-up angular riffs arrive on the next track “Shower Time”—at least they do at the start, before the caterwauling and enshrouding sludge chocks it out. It’s here that the band’s most obvious noise-rock references take hold. That juxtaposing of pandemonium and breathing room, it’s sharp and cleverly arranged—sorry guys it just is. Of course, that takes nothing away from the fact it’s also rotten to the core, and the trio work some serious ferocity out through a superb mix of instrumentation.
Which brings us to the bass-heavy, thunderous dirge of “Straight Down”, where the song seems to run at half-speed, as if while listening, the cough medicine misuse you’ve been indulging in has just taken hold. It’s a great track—and all substance abuse jokes aside—the band’s decision to slow it down to a funereal pace is a smart one, highlighting just how much restrained power the trio can produce when they leach out the kinetics.
And then we arrive at the end with “Tell Me Something Scientific”, an amp-fusing and tawdry slow-grind with Lembach howling, “I don’t want to hear about redemption”. Of course, that’s really no surprise, after the 20 minutes of clamoring noise that comprises Ruiner it’s abundantly clear that Whores don’t deal in regret or absolution. Hell no—Whores deal in cruelty, antagonism, filth and scorn. At least, that’s certainly how they made me feel in the buzzing silence when the EP finished.
Are Whores for you? Well, ignoring the schoolboy seediness inherent in the question, why not. You’ve only got one life, might as well make it as rich and full of varied experiences as you can. You can get all the love and affection you like elsewhere, but for those times when you need to be beaten down, have your day soured, and want to feel truly disgusting about yourself, well, great news, Whores are right here willing and waiting.