Crammed with riffs and gilded to the hilt with nerd-worthy referential treatment of late 80’s demo era Swedish death metal this latest demo from San Jose, California’s Ripped to Shreds comes smoking hot on the heels of Andrew Lee‘s (Azath, Ghul, ex-Disincarnation) HM-2 driven triumph of 2018 in the form of ‘埋葬 [Mai-Zang]’. With the debut from Skullsmasher, a joint deathgrind project between Lee and Brandon Corsair (Nameless Grave Records, Draghkar), around the corner it makes sense to punch out a quick reminder that Ripped to Shreds still kicks ass while tours and other projects take precedent. The performances also include Skullsmasher‘s literal drum machine (Gu Ji) this time around instead of Lee, the programming is a bit more loose-necked and this finds the band sounding less tightly wound; A bit more ‘Clandestine’ and a lot less ‘Realm of Chaos’ for better or worse.
For a tape weirdo like me the covers resemblance of Dismember‘s ‘Reborn in Blasphemy’ demo and the “Abnormally Deceased” (Nihilist) riffs that kick off the title track hint at Lee‘s ability to identify and recreate the magic of Stockholm circa 1989 while inserting his own taste in early deathgrind catchiness and intensity. I’m all on board for most of this tape as it recaptures that Slaughter-meets-Autopsy heaviness that Nihilist, Carnage, Dismember and even a hint of Nirvana 2002 all possessed in nascent form while still providing a very distilled version of it. Where I kinda fall off the truck is the Insect Warfare deep cut (from their 2007 split with Carcass Grinder) it doesn’t mar the tape so much as it feels throwaway compared to the other two tracks.
There are death metal musicians who bother to dig down to the heart of what made a band like Nihilist such a phenomenon and look beyond the engineered sound towards the songwriting and I think this is why Ripped to Shreds are so well received. I get it, I like it, and my only complaint is that anytime I turn around their shit is all sold out! Highly recommended. For preview I’d have to recommend the full listen with a strong preference for the two originals, the demo is just under nine minutes long so it should be an easy grab.
Bestow evil, destroy life. 4.0/5.0
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