For Ruin - Biography

This band's profile is 'invisible', meaning that it's much less prominent on the site - either because it's incomplete, or maybe doesn't entirely fit MS format.


For Ruin was formed in 2003 in Cork, Ireland as a solo venture by John Murphy who wrote some inital material for the band as early as 1997-98 and recorded three solo demos (Split, Shade and Obsidian) between '04 and '06 before establishing an initial lineup of the band at the end of 2005.

The Split demo came about by chance - Taranis (ex-Belinus) had asked Murphy to play drums/guitar on a primitive black-metal styled release under the name of Meiche. The Meiche section of the disk was recorded over a period of a few months at various weekends at Murphy's home in Cork city. A few cover versions were recorded for inclusion on the demo (including Rotting Christ's The Sign of Evil Existance (which was ditched) and Celtic Frost's Return To The Eve (which is closer to a For Ruin version than a Meiche version as Murphy played all instruments on the track, with Taranis providing vocals.)

When the Meiche portion of the disk was recorded, Taranis provided vocals on a couple of songs that Murphy had written and recorded over the previous few months/years - these became the For Ruin portion of the CD. Versions of the first two songs from Hypocrisy's "Fourth Dimension" album were included on the For Ruin part of the demo. This particular demo is the only FR recording with Murphy playing acoustic drums on it - subsequent demo releases featured part-played (on an electronic kit), part-programmed drums. While the CD was recorded at the end of 2003 and early 2004, it was released by Murphy after he moved to Spain later in 2004. The artwork was provided from an original painting by a family member and the CD was hastily put together and sent out for reviews to some local and international press. It was moderately well accepted at the time. It features some songs that were subsequently re-recorded on the second and third demo, and some made it to the first album. A later version of this same demo included cover versions of Katatonia, Amorphis and Paradise Lost songs, though these were not credited on the artwork.

Murphy moved to Valencia, Spain in May 2004 and shortly after that move the Split demo was released from Spain. He began writing/recording the what would become the Shade demo around that time. Living in an apartment made it difficult to record acoustic drums so, having purchased an electronic kit, Murphy began part playing, part programming the drum tracks. The first two songs written specifically for the this demo became Dread and Another Breed. These showed a much more focussed approach to the songwriting and the tighter drum tracks lent a far more solid sound to the tracks than those found on the Split demo. Vertigo was re-recorded and generally polished up compared to it's original version. Starling was a track written in about 2000 or 2001 for no project in particular (Jaded was written at the same time - demo versions of both of these songs with clean vocals on them are around somewhere). Starling was given a major overhaul for the Shade demo and remains a strong track to date. Finally, an old, short instrumental piece was christened Rinn Bearna (the name of a headland near Cork harbour) and a cover of Rotting Christ's 4th Knight was tracked given that Murphy was unhappy with the way the Evil Existance cover turned out for the Meiche sessions.

The Shade demo came out in 2005 and seemed to many reviewers that it had come out only a few months after the Split release but the delay in the release of the Split CD led to this perception. Shade proved to be a very successful demo in that it raised the band's profile considerably in Ireland. It was positively reviewed everywhere it went. It featured basic artwork showing a gargoyle on a bridge in the city of Valencia. Several hundred copies of this demo were sold and quite a few more were initially given away as free promos at local gigs in Ireland to raise awareness of the band.

After returning to Ireland in October 2005, Murphy wrote and recorded Wake and Into Red. A revamped version of Jaded was recorded and a vastly improved version of Treading off the Split demo was also re-recorded, featuring (real) string sections layered in orchestral fashion. These four songs were initially intended solely as label bait, and weren't to be released publicly. But around November '05 Murphy was joined by Dunnie, Ollie O'Shea (Dominus) and Steve O'Connell on bass, guitar and drums respectively forming the first lineup of the band. In early February '06 the band played their first live shows (Dublin, Cork, Limerick & Galway - in that order), playing material from all three recordings. The band also started playing a version of Death's Spiritual Healing around this time, which they continued to play until recently. The instrumental Treading was played live a number of time around this period, but has not been performed since.

The decision was made around Nov '06 to release the 4 songs above publicly as the Obsidian demo/promo, so it was designed and packaged (using a photo of a skull taken by Murphy in the catacombs beneath Paris as well as manipulated photos looking upwards from under the Eiffel Tower to form the cover for the promo. Obsidian was extremely well received, and raised the bands status considerably both nationally and abroad. It was packaged in an unconventional envelope-style sleeve with all copies hand numbered. Three or four hundred copies of this demo were sold. It was the final release to feature a mixture of programmed and played drums again, and also the final release to be solely performed by Murphy. It was around the time of the Obsidian release that Murphy recorded Black Winter Day, Brave and Pity the Sadness which subsequently were tagged onto the end of the Split demo for a second print. The band played their final gig with this lineup in Dublin with Reverend Bizarre in mid 2006, having also recently played with Decapitated.

In the Summer of '06 the band changed drummers to Barrytron (Ill Eat Your Face) with his first gig being with Destruction at the Day Of Darkness that year. Subsequently the band changed their guitarist and bass player with Barry O' Sullivan and Drew Myers joining for a Halloween debut gig in Cork at the end of October 2006. The band filmed their performance at Winterfest 2006 in their home town of Cork on December 23rd '06. The result is the "Live at Winterfest" DVD, which was given a limited release in January 2007.

The Obsidian release was sent to various labels at the time, and generated some interest with 3 basic offers being considered by the band's new lineup at that time. One of those being considered came from Irish label Sentinel Records based in Dublin with the others coming from Germany.

For Ruin announced the start of their relationship with Sentinel Records in January '07, signing a 2 album deal. Deciding to go straight into recording, the band opted to record the debut album themselves, tracking the drums in Secret Garden Digital in North Cork around March 17th 2007. The band finished the recordings at Murphy's home in May '07 and the album was to take its name from a popular instrumental featured on the album titled December. It was a particularly busy time for Murphy who's wife gave birth to their son in August '07. The debut album was released on September 15th 2007. During late August 07 the band returned to gigging, playing a warm-up show with Napalm Death before their tour in support of the album in October of '07.

December was an interesting release; it includes several old songs re-recorded, as well as a number there-to-fore unheard newly written songs Frailty, Eyesore and Towards an End. Two other tracks were recorded for inclusion on the album but it was decided to keep these for the following album. A cover version of Death's "Spiritual Healing" was also tracked at this time and is available on the band's Myspace. It was a low-budget album recorded by the band and the production suffered as a result. It documents the band at that point in their career and is notable in that it's the first FR release with more than one band member and shows the full band's interpretation of some of the older songs which had evolved from many gigs. Murphy was also responsible for the artwork/design of the album.

Murphy: (from Drop-D interview in early 2009) I have mixed feelings at this stage about December. The songs on it are largely good and I still enjoy them, but I bit off more than I could chew with recording it and the production suffered as a result. It was a particularly stressful time for me with our first baby due at the same time so it didn't get the attention it deserved understandably. We have had 1 song from it remixed and it sounds great, but I hate the snare sound on the album, it doesn't suit our style. But at the same time, an album is a snapshot of a band at a particular time - our line-up wasn't stable then and there was various other factors that influenced that record. The songs on it had mostly been around for a long time so we may have been a bit tired of them. Also there's only one person's music on there so it's missing, in my opinion, the variety that another person's style of writing and influence brings. It's nice to have your first album in your hands for sure, but at the end of the day it should have been better sonically. We may re-record it some time, or at the very least remix it. I think I'd like to re-track it with the current line-up someday maybe, but not in the next few years. It's time to look forward now, not back.

December was reasonably well received, with the band agreeing with the bulk of the reviews which were pointing at the flawed production but strong songs. The band supported Massacre and Extreme Noise Terror around this time before parting ways with bass player O'Sullivan. In November '07 bass player Peter Lawlor joined right before the Winterfest '07 show (during which the band played the only other cover version they have played live, a version of At The Gates' "Blinded by Fear".) At that Winterfest show the band played main support to Primordial and supported them again a few weeks later. The January 19th '08 show was a landmark night in Irish metal with Primordial launching their latest album on the night - it had a huge international audience and a full house in the Button Factory in Dublin. For Ruin were the main support act and it was a milestone for the band to play such an important show after such a relatively short existance. The Button Factory show was to be the band's final show with drummer Barrytron and in Feb '08 the band welcomed back original drummer Steve O'Connell and headed to London for the first time, playing at the Camden Underworld in May '08 with Skyforger.

2008 marked a publicly quiet year for the band, playing only 3 shows (Dublin in January, London in May and a last minute confirmation of another Cork Winterfest gig in December which the band had not intended playing at until asked to do so the week before the show). Murphy had been writing new material since August '07 and had assembled 4 or 5 new songs by mid 2008. Working for the first time now with Lawlor and Myers, five new songs were written with writing credits being shared between Myers/Murphy on one song and Lawlor/Murphy on two others. By the end of August '08 ten songs were ready, including two short instrumentals. Much of the material was significantly faster than some of the earlier songs. All lyrics were again written by Murphy. Since January 08 the band had been in talks with Komodo Studios (Co. Down) about producing the new album, and had initially settled on doing the recording during October 2008 but this was then pushed back to early 2009 for a variety of reasons. At the end of August '08 Murphy and O'Connell tracked drums for the ten songs for a pre-production demo before O'Connell moved to Switzerland for the academic year. Between August and October the guitars, bass and vocals were added to the demo which was finished in mid October. By now the band had settled to record with Alwyn Walker of Komodo Studios (Co. Down), who would travel to Cork and record the album on location in North Cork. The pre-production demo was sent to Alwyn and following intensive rehersals, the band were ready to record on Jan 1st 2009. The band wrapped up 2008 by a show with Amon Amarth in December 2008 at the Cork Winterfest, which included the live debuts of a number of new songs which were to be recorded the following week.

In January '09 the band recorded their second album Last Light in 12 days in Mallow, Cork, Ireland with Alwyn Walker as the on-location co-producer. It features 10 songs and is 40 mins long. Only one song on the album could be regarded as "old", a song called "Cold Call". The album marks the recording debuts in the band for Lawlor and O'Connell and artwork for the album was designed by Paul McCarroll (Scald). On June 30th 2009 two tracks from the album were available to hear from the band's MySpace - "In Suffering" and "Care of the Dead". Last Light was released on September 23rd 2009 via the band's own label and was be preceeded by a digital-only EP release titled "Enlightened" during early September 2009.

For Ruin played with Paradise Lost and Rotting Christ in Belfast on April 25th 2009 and shortly afterwards new drummer Pete Alcorn replaced O'Connell behind the kit. The band featured in an article in Irish music magazine Hot Press and Metal Hammer (UK) gave the band a featured review slot in their December 2009 issue. Terrorizer's January 2010 issue features "Care of the Dead" from Last Light on the covermounted Fear Candy CD and the Feb. 2010 edition (Issue 193) of the same magazine features and interview with For Ruin in their Choice Cuts section.

In late 2010 the band completed writing 4 new songsand around this time, Drew Myers decided to return to the US - the band knew that before long a new guitarist would be needed. During March 2011 the band recorded the 4 songs over a single weekend at Westland Studios in Dublin; the 4 songs would not be for public release but rather for gauging label interest in a 3rd album. In Autumn 2011 the band announed Ronan Hayes as their new guitarist and put Mere Mortals on YouTube for people to hear the first of the new material. Some warm-up gigs are planned with Ronan and time will tell what the 4-track promo brings!