There was no saving the film. Too much blood had seeped its way over the cells and dried to a dark brown crust. Besides, who has a reel-to-reel projector anymore? Luckily, the audio accompaniment was intact on an old but otherwise pristine 12” vinyl record with no identifier save for “The Ruin Death Metal Cult” etched into the label area, matching that of the similar inscription on the film canisters. There is no way this is real. It can’t be real. Snuff films are just urban legend…right? And if they were, one would expect them to be from somewhere foreign and exotic, perhaps old Eastern Bloc countries or war-torn Middle Eastern nations, but certainly not Phelan, California. But if the rumors are true, then there are some sick and disturbing things going on out in the deserts at night. Rumors of a cult that took sick pleasure in dehumanizing it’s victims, documenting the darkest of taboos into twisted perversions before brutally slaughtering them, all captured on 8mm reel-to-reel tape. With a hand shaking from a mixture of anticipation and fear, you drop the needle on the audio recording of the Human Annihilation murder film.
The second half of the recording shows Ruin opening up their style a bit and expanding their sound. “Putrification Rite” opens with a trudging riff that morphs into a rapid frenzy of tremolo riffing and blast beats. It makes for a sound of mid-heavy black metal that immediately brings bands like Void Meditation Cult to mind. The solo, which is essentially just a few hits of the whammy bar, cuts through the grime like a screaming chainsaw, splattering sonic gore in macabre delight. “A Grisly Fate Awaits” explores more of these stylistic tweaks, showcasing more of the noisey lead work as the cinematic serial killers succumb to full bloodlust. The distorted screeching pops like cigarette burns on a film, adding an extra aura of eeriness to the whole endeavor.
The slow, softer opening to the album closer, “Shadows,” sends shivers down the spine as the weight of the guitars churn towards the inevitable fate of the victim. So much mutilation, so much gore–what once seemed to be a person has been reduced to a quivering husk, begging for death before being silenced. Only the ominous chimes of a music box are left as the sounds of the forbidden film draw to a close. It feels dirty just to listen to, yet, like man’s macabre fascination with the mortality, pain, and suffering of its own kind, hard to pull away.