Album review: DEAD CITY RUINS – Never Say Die

DEAD CITY RUINS - Never Say Die

AFM Records [Release date 13.04.18]

Now here’s something of a novelty, a rock band from Australia who actually don’t sound like AC/DC – meet Dead City Ruins from Melbourne and their third offering Never Say Die.

Built on very solid riffage and the monster vocals of lead throat Jake Wiffen, Dead City Ruins are pouring everything – body, soul and every last dollar – into breaking out of Australia and achieving significance in a very crowded marketplace.

Certainly the PR function of the band has done a great job of getting them exposed as the band can so far claim support slots to the likes of Skid Row, Ugly Kid Joe, Fozzy, Orange Goblin, Wolfmother and Mastodon.

Often straddled somewhere between Glenn Hughes/BCC and Budgie on the riffmeter, stand-out tracks include the excellent, heavy-blues lament “Rust and Ruin” and the full-on “We Are One” which features a rolling Maiden-esque mish mash and a chorus ready-made for when and if they get to playing arenas.

“Devil Man” immediately signals the band’s furious intent to ruffle rock’s feathers with a nice tip of the hat to Thin Lizy’s twin guitar assault in the solo. A gorgeous rumbling bass kicks off “Bones” where Black Stone Cherry meets Monster Truck and ask Nickelback to kick in with the chorus.

You can’t help notice the similarity with Ozzy’s trademark nasal whine on the likes of “Rust and Ruin”, “Dirty Water” and “The River Song” (hell, check out the tassles on Wiffen’s sleeve

in the promo video for “Bones” – Sharon could have picked that shirt out of a thrift store in the ‘90s).

The album is a bit of a slow burn and does dip a bit in parts before the band goes for the epic album closer “Lake of Fire” with some success I have to say….feeling initially a bit like a Dio-era Rainbow track before crashing to thunderous coda – belting track this one.

There is all the thrusting power and in-yer-face energy that you’d expect from a bunch of hard-touring and harder-drinking Aussie’s who tour in a bus called the “Blue Bastard” – there isn’t a song about that on the album but if it pulls up in your town, tie down any loose belongings and prepare to have your ear wax re-arranged.  ***1/2

Review by Mark “Mad Dog” Shaw


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