Poison Ruin’s highly anticipated album Harvest follows the release of their S/T debut which spread like wildfire throughout the punk and DIY community throughout the past two years. The Philadelphian band quickly amassed a following for their lo-fi, catchy metaphoric revolts that stab at the pulsing heart of what it means to live under the permanent midnight of contemporary life.
Harvest gazes at the world with a sense of grave seriousness, its stare softened only by the alluring seduction of a dream world’s open-ended possibility. Its songs move with a type of uncanny confidence, assembling an array of references to past styles and sensibilities that collapse in on one another, congealing into a truly unique sonic landscape.
Just ahead of its release, Poison Ruin share their melodic thrasher, “Torture Chamber” which questions the limits and conviction of one’s own beliefs: “What is a truth for which you’d die? And what are the words that could set you free?”
With Harvest, Poison Ruin 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/guitarist 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.”
Harvest’s lyrics and imagery, 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,” he 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.”
These are not superficial or self-aggrandizing political statements. Rather, Poison Ruin stares into the abyss of present-day life with a sober and empathetic outlook, portraying our cracked reality as a complex and difficult to parse miasma of competing desires.
Poison Ruin’s Relapse debut, Harvest was mastered by Arthur Rizk. It sees its release on April 14 alongside the reissue of their eponymous 2021 LP which has established the band as one of punk and the underground’s newest beloved treasures.
Photo Courtesy: Kevin Gray