Ruggine’s ear-blasting sophomore album Iceberg (Canalese/Escape from today/V4V/Sangue) emerges from nearly four years of silence. 2010’s Estrazione Matematica di Cellule introduced Ruggine as a noisy and non-shit giving post-hardcore package, intent on lathing melodic chord progressions into sharp, sensory-piercing devices. In Iceberg, the legacy continues.
The first thing that is apparent in Iceberg is Ruggine’s somewhat brutal honesty. There is no winding, complex guitar play, or scrupulous musical passages. There is raw, pummeling percussion; dirty tones and cathartic vocal aggression. The whole thing seems to evoke a phrase like “this is what I think, straight to your face!”; a task made feasible by Ruggine’s arsenal of monolithic saturated chords, desperate vocals shouting out pure poetry (which, unfortunately, will be lost on non-Italian listeners), two thick and abrasive bass lines, and a structure that is complex but not necessarily mind-bending. The whole work of Iceberg is tense and un-modulated. There’s no highs and lows in this work, no stops and starts, but rather a bursting flow of pounding, and boiling 90’s flavored melodic-core riffs. And beautiful stories.
In general, Iceberg is far less ferocious than 2010’s Estrazione Matematica di Cellule, but somehow more mature and perhaps Romantic, despite none of Ruggine’s original, genuine drive being lost. It’s an emotionally complex yet technically minimalist attack, which calls to mind the early post-hardcore of, say, Rodan or Shellac, and the abrasive noise rock of The Jesus Lizard. After all, “ruggine” is Italian for “rust”.