Things were going smoothly. It was the same drive you’ve made one thousand times before: the same dull countryside with the same vacant fields and bland scenery. You twiddled your thumbs in the passenger seat, relishing the car’s heated interior as you gazed at the winter outside—frosty and unforgiving. Without warning or reason, there was impact—your entire chest lurching against the seatbelt, ripping the flimsy metal buckle from the clasp, slamming your head against the dashboard as the driver erupted through the windshield like a test dummy.
If you, the car and the driver collectively represented metalcore and its linear, predictable path to over saturation, the obstacle and the resulting crash are Eavesdropper—a band with one foot planted in aggressive, angry ruthlessness and another planted in dreary, depressive dissonance. Ruin is the story of a crash and the resulting discord—a tale mirrored by the vast disruption it casts upon the heavy music community as it skyrockets to the top of many album-of-the-year lists.
The crash is intense—broken glass shreds skin and bones buckle under the force of the sudden impact. What only takes mere milliseconds feels as if it takes hours to finally subside. Eavesdropper’s instrumentation follows this lead—with bold, bouncy musicianship that follows a loosely repetitive structure to keep the listener hypnotized. The work of Logan Beaver, Ruin is a head-on collision between crushing, quick grooves and dreary, dissonant sections of surreal atmosphere, spiced up with portions of bruising, bone-bending brutality in the form of straightforward and savage breakdowns. The lead single, “TwentySeven,” as well as the mile-per-minute “Six-Foot-Notning” are excellent examples of the former. Jittery drumming serves as a dynamic foundation for furiously fretted grooves that dive into eviscerating breakdowns without a second thought. The introduction, “Overture” as well as the first full track, “Ruin,” are an excellent example of the latter. Here, Beaver is still bouncy and energetic, but only in brief segments split up between moments of immersive, atmospheric dissonance. The album’s closing number, “Dust,” does the same thing—tying the entire Eavesdropper experience together with an emotional, awe-inspiring climax that will leave listeners breathless with their hearts beating out of their chests.
Hanging half-out of the shattered car window, your life leaking down the obliterated side panel, your past begins to play before your very eyes. Things you’ve done—things you wish you’d have done—begin to roll one after another like a perverse cinematic feature. This is the true majesty of Eavesdropper’s Ruin. Beaver’s vocal and lyrical talent is nothing short of legendary, combining lyrics that are emotionally dense and intimate, simply to shout them with boundless fervor and sincerely-spat harshness. From the first bitter howls of “Overture,” throughout the catchy shouts of “TwentySeven,” “Six-Foot-Nothing” and “You’re Dead” Beaver’s vocals are top notch. His range—which relies primarily on a grating mid-range yell—varies with the severity of the lyrics he screams; however, his endurance and candor are simply unstoppable. Using Seussian, suspended and complex rhymes with remarkable patterns and placement, Beaver casts asunder the stereotype that plagues solo projects and their typically lack-luster vocal element. Beaver uses the entirety of Ruin to tell a story of the perverse past and distorted death of Eavesdropper’s “character,” keeping the album loosely conceptual but still fun and furious.
When is the last time a conceptual album has been both emotionally intimate, dense and depressive, while still maintaining a backbone of flexible, fun and mosh-inducing instrumentation and catchiness? Sure, several bands have tried, but not many have gotten even close to what Eavesdropper have achieved on Ruin. Beginning the album with a literal bang, the release fails to slow, even during the more atmospheric and dreary tracks. Here, Beaver boasts more than open chugs, bouncy kick patterns and sinister shouts—proving his talent as a remarkable songwriter and brilliant lyrical composer. Eavesdropper is a band with a brief discography and a small-but-dedicated following, but that is sure to explode after Ruin is released into the wild. Passion, punishment and pure aggression combine in a master’s melting pot to provide metered, marvelous metalcore that leaves no set of ears in want.
What Ruin lacks in run-time, it makes up for in dense content that crushes the listener just as easily on its 100th play as it does on its first. In a year already packed with album of the year contenders, Beaver tosses in his hat—which may be the most promising one of them yet.
For Fans Of: Desolate, Sworn In, Yüth Forever, Barrier, Kingmaker
By: Connor Welsh