Punk, at least at one point during its existence, meant catchy rifts, political agendas, anti-authoritative ideologies and powerful music. I’m not sure when it happened or how it happened but somewhere along the line the Punk community stopped caring about what made the genre so special for me: the music. There was a phase-shift toward the mentality of “being punk for punk’s sake” and a lack of emphasis on the music; the agenda became the forerunner and the music took a backseat to that.
A Wilhelm Scream’s release, Ruiner, has proven to me that there are still those out there who care about the music more than the agenda. Ruiner is the best punk release I have heard since Rise Against’s ’04 release. They are a breath of fresh air in what was becoming a rather stagnant and dying punk scene. So, what do they sound like? I’ll tell you. A Wilhelm Scream is Hot Water Music meets Jawbreaker meets Dinosaur Jr. meets progress. The best part about this album is its ability to hold traditional punk structures to its songs while taking a bold step forward. A lot of modern bands feel they have to latch on to a certain genre to survive and it just isn’t true anymore. The Internet, and the socially-expanding entity that it is, has presented us, as a society, with a unique opportunity. It has broadened the reach a band has, in terms of initial audiences, as fledgling beings in the music world. You don’t have to sound just like someone else to be noticed. I love to see bands take the collective influences of their members and then take a step or two forward with those notions; A Wilhelm Scream has done just that with Ruiner.
If you have read any of my articles before, you will know that I have a problem with short album releases. I feel short albums are the primary, legitimate defense any media-pirate has for pirating instead of buying. You might also recall that I do not hold this belief against punk bands; A Wilhelm Scream has finally given me an album to showcase exactly why I feel that way. Many songs on the album are very short in length; by shortening the length, it allows for the accelerated tempos and flurry of lyrics, found in these songs, to become non-repetitive. The production quality of these songs stays intact; whereas if they were any longer, I fear they would start to lose their identities as songs and just become repetitions of verse/chorus combinations.