Home Read Albums Of The Week: The Flatliners | New Ruin

Albums Of The Week: The Flatliners | New Ruin

It's the end of the world as we know it — but the Toronto punk vets are determined to go down swinging on their uncompromisingly powerful, pointed & polished sixth LP.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The follow up to 2017’s critically praised full-length Inviting Light, New Ruin is a shot of pure adrenaline from a band striking out at outdated institutions and ideologies via “impeccably” crafted pointed lyrics. Featuring their heaviest songs to date, New Ruin sees The Flatliners attacking each new track with a ferocity and intensity that will surprise even long-time fans. From the monstrously discordant hits that open the album through the de facto thesis statement of Heirloom, it’s clear that The Flatliners are angry in a way we’ve never heard before.

At the same time, they’ve never been more in control. Produced by singer-guitarist Chris Cresswell and the rest of the band, songs like Performative Hours and Recoil boil with wiry post-hardcore energy while Souvenir and Big Strum offer a more tightly coiled aggression that hints at the band’s anthemic punk past. Recorded at Toronto’s Noble Street Studios and Genesis Sound with long-time friend and engineer Matt Snell, the album sounds both open and immediate, the cumulative effect of two decades performing together.

Brought to life by what Cresswell calls a “dream team” with mixer Anton DeLost and mastering courtesy of the Blasting Room legend Jason Livermore, New Ruin deftly combines the pop ambition of Inviting Light with an aggression the band has only hinted at before, giving in to their gnarliest tendencies. It’s an approach the songs — and the moment — demanded.

Take Heirloom. “It’s hate mail to the previous generation,” says Cresswell. “All their brilliance and ingenuity has just left our generation and future generations in the dust and unable to afford the world we live in, with this enormous emotional and environmental toll. It’s so demoralizing.” But amidst the rubble of the modern hellscape, the band isn’t without hope. Album closer Under A Dying Sun offers its own version of solace and salvation, bringing the crashing album to a close with a thoughtful grandiosity that hints at some light at the end of the tunnel.

It might be because, despite the darkness, The Flatliners were having fun for the first time in a long time. Producing themselves, recording with friends, and playing music together after almost 600 days apart — their longest stretch since forming in 2002 — New Ruin is also the sound of a band rediscovering the joy of making something meaningful together. Cresswell calls it a gift.

“There is another side to the negativity that lives on this record,” he says. “It’s also a powerful time. So many more people are talking about things that really should have been talked about a long time ago. It’s one step in the right direction. Art and music can be part of that. We all kind of fucked up, so we can try to fix it. It’s not too late, but it’s almost too late. It’s almost too late.”