The women of My Ruin are playing by the boys’ rules. Growling and snarling through the songs on A Prayer Under Pressure of Violent Anguish, they are unrelenting in their fierceness. Embracing the male dominated world of metal without backing down into any sort of vulnerability, My Ruin should have the boys running scared. While the band’s guitarist is male, it’s easily apparent just who is in charge here.
Incorporating the traditional dark theme of the intersection of sex and religion, My Ruin is on the surface about what you’d expect the band to be. The band plays hard and it plays loud, with oppressive guitars and hammering drums, and their energy is unequaled. Spooky-voiced lead singer Tairrie B screams the lyrics with a dedicated passion. You’ll listen to her because you fear the consequences if you don’t. Although she more or less raps most of the lyrics rather than sings, the effect works. Her whiny-voiced male peers could learn a thing or two from her.
While My Ruin may seem to tackkle the same topics that most bands of this sort do, the lyrics are surprisingly insightful and sometimes slightly tongue-in-cheek. The opening spoken word piece “Morning Prayer” recounts a dream of obsessive love, before ending with “Then all my teeth fell out . . . I hate it when that happens”. The band’s self-awareness also carries over to an understanding of the sort of message they want to communicate. Far from just laying in the darkness, songs like “Letter to the Editor” show true strength. “In a world of lies, I find myself advised to just pretend I’m nice and not to say what’s on my mind” Tairrie B says of the role too often given to women before she rejects it with a string of well-placed profanities. “Beauty Fiend” also discards the constant pressure to be beautiful with forcefulness. Although generic lines like “My lungs gasp for air because you stab this” from “Sanctuary” sometimes bog down A Prayer Under Pressure of Violent Anguish, mostly My Ruin rises above and actually says something genuine.
The unyielding sound is broken up with a few slower paced songs, and while most of the tracks resemble each other, everything feels balanced while still maintaining intensity. My Ruin isn’t going to let you off easy, though, and while mostly anger is communicated, it always feels like anger with a purpose.
By playing by the boys’ rules in the world of metal, My Ruin reveals what it feels like to be a woman without every descending into trite roles. The ladies of My Ruin aren’t ones to mess with, you really want to be the one to not show your gratitude to them for that.