EP review: RANDOM CONFLICT – Ruined Nation

[Release date 30.03.18]

Muscle Shoals Alabama punk stalwarts Random Conflict have followed up 2016’s brilliant Black List EP with a brand new EP entitled Ruin Nation. These guys have been a consistent favorite of mine since coming onto my radar back in 2013 with a live performance touring for the album Tradition Is the Enemy. I loved how the expertly melded the hardcore punk with an almost thrash metal approach. To me, they always struck me as the band Jeff Hanneman of Slayer would’ve wanted Slayer to emulate with his love of punk and metal combined. Black List saw more of a metal approach (at least to my ears,) but this go around Random Conflict has gone full-on punk rage with Ruin Nation.

Bill Reeves (guitar/vocals) and Brian Murphee (bass/vocals) are joined by new drummer/vocals Ian Nash, and I’m not sure if his addition reinvigorated the band, but there is a forceful aggression on every song on this EP that seems to have been missing prior. Or maybe it’s a different aggression. Whatever it is, the speed and intensity of the music is amped up. From the break neck pace of opener “Total Resistance” to the brutal closer “She Only Wanted” Random Conflict show they are unrelenting in their attack, with a definite take no prisoners attitude. Whereas Black List had nuanced moments, Ruin Nation is simply about the propulsive attack of their punk rock assault.

I absolutely love this album, but I think I found Black List to be a tiny bit better. They’re two albums that one is incapable of comparing though, because both are drasticly different from the other, though both killer in their own ways. Clearly, Random Conflict are a bruising punk band that are full on ragers, and it’s refreshing to have a band demonstrate versitality from album to album, as it keeps the band fresh and the fans wondering where the band will go next. Ruin Nation is easily one of the best punk albums I’ve heard in ages, and certainly fulfilled my enjoyment of what these guys do. If fast paced, in your face punk is your thing, then Random Conflict’s Ruin Nation EP is a must have. ***1/2

Review by Chris Martin

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