Review: A-Sun Amissa – Ruins Era

We are, unequivocally, within a world too burned and broken to indulge any residual hopes of repair.

Review: A-Sun Amissa – Ruins Era


Ruins Era is a weary migration between the bleak and the bleaker. The album title points to a state of ruin that has become, well, just that – a state, prolonged until it adopts an identity of its own, no longer defined as the aftermath of a before-time, but enduring until memories of the era prior have perished. All sounds resides somewhere upon the spectrum of decay; guitars crumble into distortion, clarinets vaporise into smoke. The last remaining pillars of structure, as rendered in lurching emergences of doom-paced rhythm, seem helplessly unstable under peals of screams and incessant overdrive. They haul themselves to the next beat until they can’t. We are, unequivocally, within a world too burned and broken to indulge any residual hopes of repair.

“I was looking to create sounds I’d never heard before, something new that could barely, if ever, be repeated,” remarks Richard Knox in the album’s accompanying notes. “So many elements of this record were fed back through pedals and re-amped and torn apart via aux sends in the computer”. Indeed, there’s often the sense during Ruins Era that you’re hearing process more so than source – distortion and signal decay in the abstract, with woodwind breaths and plectrum plucks reduced to mere impetus for quivers of low-end and feedback. Any residues of clarity, such as the voice of Claire Knox or the pools of piano – are beautiful in a vacant sort of way. Estranged vowels, idle keys, imprinting themselves upon the reality of the record with phantom translucency. 

The centrepiece is the 21-minute “A New Precipice”, which feels like a sudden flashback to the apocalyptic fires that heralded the record’s ruin. Owen Jones of post-metal outfit Wren screams from within a cyclical hydraulic beat, a slow rotation of guitar chords and a birdlike frenzy of clarinets. The track’s latter half is a slow dismantling; a real-time demonstration of how the last traces of societal coherence withered away, leaving only these expanses of eternal sunset aridity.