REVIEW: Of Ruins – Monarch of Secrecy [EP/2015]


Artist: Of Ruins 

Album: Monarch of Secrecy – EP


Some people deal in secrets. Of the many kinds of evil that roam the world, their breed is extortion, blackmail, perjury–making their way at the cost of the privacy of others. They thrive on lies, deceit and devilish trickery, monoliths of mistrust, as their identities are simply amalgamations of every person they’ve stolen from. However, even in spite of their EP’s name, Monarch of Secrecy, this is not Of Ruins’ brand of evil. They know no subtlety, hold no secrets back from the listener—they are a scathing whirlwind of heavy music done to perfection. Monarch of Secrecy is a collection of razor sharp riffs, flesh-searing vocals and bone-busting, brutalizing breakdowns, cohesively and expertly written to flow as smoothly as a raft on a river of melted butter. With Monarch of Secrecy, Of Ruins prove that more than just secrets, they rule the heavy music underground with an iron fist.

Monarch of Secrecy is like a never-ending feast, composed of influences and appetizing tidbits from the entire heavy music spectrum. Of Ruins’ percussion is precise and punishing, decimating the listener with rattling blast beats on “Genocide Design,” but dominating with deep, kick-heavy patterns on “Vile Supremacy.” Of Ruins’ percussion oscillated from snappy and quick to slow and smothering, while bassist Christopher Sanchez weaves low, bouncy grooves around each mammoth smack of the kick drum. Often times, Sanchez’s grimy bass amplifies the band’s percussive low end, but other times—such as the jarring, stutter-stop breakdown in “Submerge,” it works on its own, rattling and clanking independently of its percussive backbone. These times, Sanchez sounds as if he is working in tandem with guitarist John Gonzalez, who is, simply put, a tank. Monarch of Secrecy sees Gonzalez going absolutely insane, riff-driven shred one second to hyper-heavy misanthropy the next. “Tyrannical Ruling” is a brilliant example: Gonzalez spices up a sludgy, spine-busting breakdown with quick harmonics and frantic riffs, shortly before diving into a droning, dissonant groove that lets Sanchez shine on his own.

Of Ruins lay down an instrumental canvas that sprawls from downtempo devastation to skin-splitting, speedy death metal, leaving plenty of room for vocals to shift and sway between styles—plenty of room that frontman Randy Cadena has no problem filling. Cadena crushes the listener with every style and harshly spat scream imaginable. For fans of tough, riff-driven metal, Cadena and his gruff mid-range yell define the climactic portion of “Human Dissonance.” Looking for braying “bleghs” and shrieking screams contrasted with grisly growls, look no further than “Vile Supremacy.” Cadena roars with impressive stamina and unstoppable force throughout Monarch of Secrecy, quickly and creatively changing his style and tone to fit the variable musical backdrop, adding diversity to his dynamic bag of tricks. Where Of Ruins are precise and pummeling, Cadena is quick and sinister. Where they drop the technicality and steamroll the listener with a series of smothering chugs, Cadena follows suit and growls like an enraged grizzly bear.

In five short tracks clocking in at a full-bodied 20 minutes, Of Ruins do what many deathcore bands can’t do in a whole discography. Of Ruins take standard issue deathcore throw it in a cab driven by a thrash and technical death metal enthusiast and send it smashing head-on into a wall of devastating downtempo deathcore, letting the remains bake under the sweltering San Antonio sun. Each track sees Gonzalez and Sanchez working side by side to flay the listener with furiously fretted intensity, while groovy, gut-punching percussion booms away underfoot. Atop it all, Cadena rules, spitting, screaming barking and hollering every syllable better and more aggressively than the last.

Monarch of Secrecy rules all things aggressive and heavy. From circle pits to cranial evisceration, Of Ruins inflict all manners of malicious, marvelous violence with their wondrous amalgam of all things heavy, leaving them as underground deathcore’s prodigal champions.



For Fans Of: I AM, Martyr Defiled, Oceano, Lorna Shore, Thy Art Is Murder

By: Connor Welsh