Label: Alerta Antifascista Records
Hailing from Gothenburg in Sweden, Myteri‘s take on crust punk on Ruiner offers up something slightly different from the norm. Whilst the requisite heaviness and sense of political rage is all present and correct, with plenty of dirt and aggression that brings Tragedy to mind, there’s also an overt sense of melody and stirring octave chord led melodies and riffs that have more in common with emo than they do crust. It’s a brave combination of styles, and a very successful one, with Ruiner being one of the most immediately powerful and gripping records I’ve heard this year.
Myteri’s sound is, on the whole, one of apocalypse and dystopia – as should be the case for all good crust punk. The specter of war and man-made misery hangs heavy over each of these twelve songs, conjuring up images of half-lived lives experienced in a world of grey skies and cracked concrete. Yet, Ruiner is also the sound of resistance against such a world, kicking out against a life spent with knee bent to uncaring authority and oppression. That’s always been the best element of crust in all its forms – the way it acts as a light in the darkness, and here, the d-beat rhythms, war-torn yet unrepentant vocals, and melodic, but still powerful, guitars do just that. Despite the misery and pain, there is hope here for a better tomorrow.
Really, the importance of the emo-influenced guitars can’t be understated in this. To be clear, I’m talking about emo in the manner that some people will use the word skramz, rather than the indie-emo of later days. Throughout Ruiner I am reminded of the underground emo coming out of Europe in the years after the turn of the millennium – specifically, it reminds me a lot of the optimism of Yage, and the melodic passion of La Quiete. It does mean that Myteri’s sound isn’t quite as heavy as most of their contemporaries, but instead the bright, strong melodies help give them a sense of character and emotion that other bands will lack, and their sound is better for it. Whilst some crust bands can end up sounding as if they are content to dwell in darkness, so oppressive and lacking in contrast is their sound, Myteri sound as if they are determined to do all they can for a better tomorrow, never losing sight of the ultimate aims of their protests.
As such, Ruiner is a record that is perfectly suited for our times, filled as it is with both righteous anger at the injustices of the world, and also an optimism that they can be righted. Its 38 minute duration is energetic and invigorating, and as it closes with the slower, dramatic instrumental ‘Urholkningsprocessen’, it is difficult to deny the vitality and urgency of the album. It’s a delight to hear something that does something slightly new with the core crust sound, without losing its defiant, political spirit or musical core, it’s this which makes Ruiner is one of the musical highlights of the year.