‘Isn’t this our harvest? Isn’t this our feast to share? Wiser ones are asking, who’s swinging the scythe?’.
Calling in equal measure on post-punk, anarcho-punk, and doom metal, filtered through an explicitly hardcore prism, enables Poison Ruïn to continue to forge their distinctive and immersive sound. The dungeon synths remain, but their role is essentially atmospheric and a link to the medieval lyrical imagery. This imagery acts as a carefully constructed allegory for how rampant, entrenched socio-economic inequality is currently recreating a society more akin to the feudalism of the past.
Philadelphia Punks Poison Ruïn make their Relapse Records debut with their new album, Harvest!
Evoking a rich tapestry of ice-caked forests, peasant revolts, and silent knights, Poison Ruïn stab at the pulsing heart of what it means to live under the permanent midnight of contemporary life. With Harvest, the band aligns their sonic palette to their godless, medieval-inflected aesthetic symbolism, creating a record which strikes with an assured sense of blackened harmony.
“I’ve always found fantasy tropes to be incredibly evocative,” vocalist Mac Kennedy notes, “that said, even though they are a set of symbols that seem to speak to most people of our generation, they are often either apolitical or co-opted for incredibly backwards politics.”
Kennedy reworks fantasy imagery as a series of totems for the downtrodden, stripping it of its escapist tendencies and retooling it as a rich metaphor for the collective struggle over our shared reality: “Instead of knights in shining armor and dragons, it’s a peasant revolt,” Kennedy explains, “I’m all for protest songs, but with this band I’ve found that sometimes your message can reach a greater audience if you imbue it with a certain interactive, almost magical realist element.”
The title track invokes images of feudal peasants, tithes, and money-hungry lords, sounding the horn of labor with the rallying cry, “Isn’t this our harvest? Isn’t this our feast to share?” Tales of the undead rising to take revenge upon those who have unknowingly wronged them spin out like pleasantly cathartic folktales (“Resurrection II”), while other tracks address the profound beauty and spirit of those making ends meet in the forsaken ends of Poison Ruïn’s hometown of Philadelphia (“Blighted Quarter”). The band stares into the abyss of modern living with a sober and empathetic outlook, portraying our cracked reality as a complex and difficult to parse miasma of competing desires.
With Harvest, Poison Ruïn have constructed a richly chilling fable out of modern living. Their tale is as lurid as it is seductive, as much a promising fantasy as it is a dreary portrait of reality itself.