Album Reviews

My Ruin – The Brutal Language

(chris ingold) UK release date: 7 November 2005

In case you were wondering, turning 40 hasn’t mellowed Tairrie B in the slightest. Having done the exact opposite of many ’90s rockers by wisely abandoning dodgy hip-hop to develop one of the most brutal rock screams in the business, Ms B found 2005 full of challenges far more daunting than the onset of middle age. Half of her band walked out before the release of The Brutal Language, leaving Tairrie and her real-life lover and lead guitarist Mick Murphy to re-record and complete the album on their own.

So the line-up on The Brutal Language features Tairrie on vocals, Mick Murphy on guitars, Mick Murphy on keyboards, Mick Murphy on bass and yes, Mick Murphy on drums. Oh, and it’s produced by Mick Murphy too. Most guitarists would find themselves stretched just a little too far at this point, but clearly not Mick as this heavy-metal version of Sonny And Cher seem to have pulled off one of the best albums of their career.

From the start The Brutal Language bounces between metal genres like a pneumatic sledgehammer, taking in everything from Sabbath-era stoner grooves through Mudhoney sludge, classic hair-metal guitar solos and Ministry-esque bulldozer riffs all complementing Tairrie’s trademark growl.

Although she still sounds like somebody’s trying to cut her tonsils out with a chainsaw, the lyrical content is actually a little more upbeat than usual. The Devil Walks and Spilling Open both have an almost Velvet Revolver swagger to them, while there’s some fantastic bluesy guitar soloing on Cold Hands, Warm Heart, with Murphy taking advantage of his position as sole musician without getting overly self-indulgent.

Metamorphosis kicks back down into a heavy sludge that’s perfect rock club fodder. This then leads into the grungier Summer Of Hell which, were it not for the power-tool fury of Tairrie’s screams, would be infectious enough to be a mainstream rock hit.

Next up is Vince Vaughn – a vicious but firmly tongue-in-cheek little rock ‘n’ roll bruiser that again has the swagger that sets My Ruin apart from some of their contemporaries in the scream-and-grind breed of modern metal. So far, so pretty damn good.

For My Ruin, and Mick Murphy in particular, The Brutal Language is a stunning achievement under the circumstances. Even outside that context it’s a good album – maybe not great, but certainly very good. Murphy will make most guitarists insanely jealous by putting in a creditable, if not stunning performance behind a drum kit.

Tairrie’s vocals are increasingly versatile in the brief moments where she stops screaming. All in all, it makes for an album that will please many rock fans, especially with the lively cover of Mudhoney’s classic Touch Me I’m Sick that takes proceedings to a close.

My Ruin have now repopulated the band ready for touring, and are a four-piece again. Tairrie and Murphy will always be the soul of the band though, so perhaps their claim that this is the “quintessential” My Ruin album isn’t far from the truth. Quintessential or not, it’s well worth a listen.

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My Ruin – The Brutal Language