We live in a fantasy, but not one of our own choosing. It is a dark and frigid world, animated by power, thrills, and the undying spirit of those who have nothing but each other left in the struggle to get by. This is the world of Poison Ruïn’s Härvest; the only way out is through.
Evoking a rich tapestry of ice-caked forests, peasant revolts, and silent knights, Poison Ruin 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. These 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.
Poison Ruin have constructed a fantasy world of a better future. They do not flinch in the face of darkness or peddle in empty utopian gestures, but rather harness the energies of revenge and comradery to stoke the desire for a better world made material.
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.” With 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.
Philadelphia’s Poison Ruin first emerged in April of 2020 with their eponymous EP, which was followed shortly by a second eponymous EP the following February, both self-released. While they share a certain affinity for rough-around-the-edges, lo-fidelity stones with their compatriots Devil Master and Sheer Mag, Poison Ruin wants things bleaker. The up-tempo guitar heroics of their first two EPs (which were collectively released as a S/T LP in February of 2021) have been dragged through the trenches, emerging as a heavy morass of breathless gloom. With Harvest, Poison Ruin have constructed a richly chilling fable out of modern living. Their tale is as lurid as it is seductive, as much a promising fantasy as it is a dreary portrait of reality itself.
Poison Ruin’s Relapse debut, Harvest was mastered by Arthur Rizk and sees its release today alongside the reissue of their eponymous 2021 LP which established the band as one of punk and the underground’s newest beloved treasures.
Poison Ruin will tour extensively this year. After a successful run through the Southwest, SXSW and a sold out hometown PHL release show last night, they head overseas for a full EU / UK run including a performance at Roadburn. See below for a full list of dates.
Poison Ruin Live Dates:
Apr 15: Brooklyn, NY – Meadows
Apr 18: Antwerp, BE – Antwerp Music City
Apr 19: Tilburg, NL – Roadburn
Apr 20: Hamburg, DE – Komet
Apr 21: Leipzig, DE – ZxRx
Apr 22: Berlin, DE – Urban Spree
Apr 23: Prague, CZ – Underdogs Ballroom
Apr 25: Vienna, AT – Venster99
Apr 26: Linz, AT – Kapu
Apr 27: Zagreb, HR – Attack!
Apr 28: Bologna, IT – DEV
Apr 29: Parma, IT – Splinter Club
Apr 30: Innsbruk, AT – PMK
May 02: Geneve, CH – La Makhno
May 03: Marseille, FR – Molotov
May 04: Bilbao, ES – El Nido
May 05: Madrid, ES – Wurlitzer Ballroom
May 06: Barcelona, ES – Sala Vol
May 07: Toulouse, FR – Skatepark Le Petit
May 09: Bristol, UK – Crown
May 10: Manchester, UK – The Gulliver
May 11: Glasgow, UK – The Old Hairdressers
May 12: Newcastle, UK – The Lubber Fiend
May 13: London, UK – New River Studios
May 14: Portsmouth, UK – The Loft
May 16: Paris, FR – Glazart
May 17: Kortrijk, BE – The Pits
May 18: Nijmegen, NL – De Onderbroek
May 19: Nurnberg, DE – Projekt 31
May 20: Dresden, DE – Over The Edge
May 21: Weimar, DE – Gerber 3