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Album Reviews : Dead City Ruins – Never Say Die

By on June 15, 2018

If there were a competition for who best carries the flame of beat driven, blues inspired, Black Sabbath style riff’n’roll… Dead City Ruins certainly have earned a spot on the podium. One may argue that Wolfmother have the commercial end of that scale wrapped up, so it’s for Dead City Ruins to offer the equivalent of an indie response.

Borrowing the last album title that featured the original Black Sabbath line up, Dead City Ruins certainly show their hand early. Vocalist Jake Wiffen also wears a tassel bound shirt on the album avatar/ sleeve cover, ala Ozzy himself as he so often did through the 70’s and early part of the 80’s. If this were poker, the band are virtually giving up the entire game. That’s part of the plan obviously, because before you know it nine cuts of some truly entertaining hard rock has gone by and well, it’s an enjoyable listen.

Album opener “Devil Man”, offers a nod to a Deep Purple alumnus, through the David Coverdale vehicle, Whitesnake and their epic, “Still of the Night” (Whitesnake– ’87). I wouldn’t blame rock’s most underrated guitarist, John Sykes, who performed and co-wrote “Still…” if he was just a bit jealous of the play-off between Wiffen’s vocal and the ‘boner’ riff of the verse. “Rust Ruin” is the fourth cut, and after some raucous riffage across the first three tracks, this is the first opportunity for the listener to hear Dead City Ruins provide some musical shade against the blazing heat of the album. “Bones”, the album cut that lends itself to a music video, honours the Bob Daisley penned Ozzy Osbourne track “S.A.T.O” (Diary of a Madman– ’81).

We Are One” is the albums likely sing-a-long moment and “The River Song” sounds like a heavier musical cousin to the rock’n’roll Jon Bon Jovi contributed to the western film, Young Guns II, and the inspired album, Blaze of Glory (’90). Compliments assured… Dead City Ruins are offering an album of familiar riff rock that’ll do great business on stage.

That’ll do for the comparisons, younger readers may have no idea of the musical references in the review so far, but I’d urge them to check them all out. Dead City Ruins are obviously schooled, proficient musicians who get which music is worth borrowing and repurposing for their own musical narrative.

The band have gone to a fair effort to offer the audience some very classy looking vinyl and Compact Disc editions through the label website, although I couldn’t see the album on Bandcamp even though they do have a presence on the platform (probably address that lads… the kids love Bandcamp).

Overall, an excellent album that may act as the gateway for inexperienced listeners to dive deep into some of rock music’s all-time greats.

Band: Dead City Ruins
Album: Never Say Die
Year: 2018
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: AFM Records / Dinner For Wolves
Origin: Australia


Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith