is: Joey Edwards
- Drums, Danny Porter
- Guitar, Stephen Smeal
- Bass, Rob Sullivan
- Vocals, Dustin Thornton
“I learned the value in wanting nothing because then no one can take anything from you.” As these lyrics from the song “Dead Weight” are screamed by vocalist Rob Sullivan, the listener has a good taste of the emphatic bleakness he or she is about to experience throughout Ruiner’s new album, Hell Is Empty. Equal parts cathartic and confrontational, Hell Is Empty showcases Ruiner at the most realized point in their career both musically and lyrically.
Formed five years ago in Baltimore, MD, Ruiner came from humble beginnings. The band got together and released their first demo in ’04 and went on to release two more EP’s and toured the East Coast and Midwest several times over. Ruiner played over 200 shows in their first year and half in existence and in their second year, the band headed to Europe for 31 shows in 10 different countries. Their hard work paid off as Bridge Nine Records took notice and released their critically acclaimed full-length debut Prepare To Be Let Down in 2007. With press outlets like Stuff Magazine singing their praises, (“…you won’t be disappointed. When your full-length record is only 21 minutes long you have to make every second count; and this Baltimore-area hard-core outfit has done just that.”), Ruiner continued to tour across the globe in their tried and true DIY fashion, hitting the road with everyone from Pulling Teeth to Sinking Ships to Broadway Calls.
Fast forward to 2009 as Ruiner took a much needed break from their time on the road and holed themselves up back in Baltimore to work on writing their new album. “We took a pretty long time writing this LP. The idea was to stay home and not be distracted with being on the road. I think for the most part we were able to do that”, commented Sullivan. The band, currently comprised of Rob Sullivan (vocals), Stephen Smeal (bass), Danny Porter (guitar), Dustin Thornton (guitar), and TJ Catalfo (drums, while Joey Edwards played drums on the recording), headed to the studio in July with acclaimed producer J. Robbins (Jets to Brazil, Against Me!, Modern Life Is War) and laid down the tracks for what would become Hell Is Empty. Sullivan went on to say, “This was the second time we had worked with J Robbins so we already had a rough idea what it would be like. He is very professional but still wants you to sound like your band, which is much different than some of our past recording ventures. Usually ‘producers’ want things to have their personal sound to it. J focuses on you sounding more like you.”
Hell Is Empty showcases Ruiner at their finest – capturing the sound of modern hardcore, punk, and straight-up rock as the band dabbles in more diverse vocal patterns and songwriting that will produce just as many stage dives and singalongs that the band has become known for. Lyrically, Ruiner touches on personal sentiments such as disillusion with the world, desolation, lost love, self-loathing and disappointment. One of the most sonically and emotionally punishing records of the year, Ruiner has truly found their sound on Hell Is Empty. Sullivan said, “…this new record still holds some of the same things we have always done, but the songs are slightly longer and we added some new elements. The addition of our new guitar player Dustin had a very positive change on the writing process and that’s evident on the new record.”
Ruiner has become well-known for their extreme work ethic when it comes to touring and have played everywhere from New Mexico to Sweden with intention of stopping now. Vocalist Rob Sullivan commented, “I always felt the purpose of being in a band is to write music and tour. That’s about it. If you consider yourself a punk or hardcore band you always know there is a ceiling above you. The stars are very fucking far from the limit and you just have a good time. I know I will never be out of debt until this band ends but I also wouldn’t trade a single negative thing if it meant I wouldn’t experience the last 10 years of my life.” With the release of Hell Is Empty, Ruiner will keep their main goal as a band to simply play music and tour the world.
Hell Is Empty will see the light of day on September 22nd, 2009 and following its release Ruiner will head across the United States on the first ever Bridge Nine Records Tour alongside Strike Anywhere, Polar Bear Club, and Crime In Stereo. In true road-dog fashion, Ruiner will span the globe in promotion of their new album as they intend to hit up Central America, Europe, and Australia next year as well. With a strong D.I.Y work ethic, an honest and realistic outlook and a machine-like touring regiment, 2010 shows no signs of Ruiner slowing down.