JT Ripper
Gathering of the Insane

Generally speaking, average and/or mediocre albums can be quite the proverbial bitch when it comes to reviewing. Much like a dining experience that is merely decent and all around adequate, how does one go about recommending something that is just basically sufficient? Seriously, how many times have we either told someone not to go to a certain place because the service is so bad, or oppositely, to go to a certain place because what they offer is so damn good; but have you ever told or been told to experience something because it is so awesomely average? Yeah, me niether.

Germany’s JT Ripper and their sophomore album, Gathering of the Insane, unfortunately tends to fall into this conundrum of averageness more times than not during the album’s thirty-six minute run time. Plying their brand of deathly thrash with the influences of the standard Teutonic powerhouses, i.e. Sodom, Kreator, and Destruction, as well as some strong nods to Possessed, Slayer, Pestilence, and the mighty Deceased, the framework for something truly killer is easily and unarguably present and accounted for. The problem though, is while JT Ripper makes quite an impression in genuineness and does a decent job at getting in there, slapping you around a bit, and then getting the fuck out, all of the album’s tracks tend to have a sameness to them that ultimately kills the flow of what is actually some tight/solid, well-played and proficient thrashings.

If the songs simply had some variations to them in regards of overall tempos, the album would benefit by ten-fold. As they stand, the material on Gathering of the Insane has some nice hooks and licks, some interesting noodling, as well as a few ripping solos, not to mention some rabid, blasting drumwork propelling much of it all. Yet most of it doesn’t really offer too much or truly grab you by the balls (or tits, or whatever the fuck you got…) or ever really break the monotony that holds the band and the album back from being more. Like most albums, repeated listens start to open things up and shine light on minute changes and flourishes, but they’re never really enough to save Gatherings… from itself and honestly, tend to wear the album out at a faster rate.

Having said all that, I did think that Gatherings... latter half offered up the more engaging material, with “Second Skin” probably being my personal favorite and what I would dub as the album highlight. Yet the unfortunate decision to put it as the second to last track further hurts Gathering… as a whole. Though I didn’t have lyrics to any of the album’s tracks, the song titles, (“Cult”, “Child’s Play”, “Nightstalker”, “Feast” ) and cover art clearly point to fascinations with serial killers and other macabre (Macabre?) offerings. I imagine that this power trio puts on quite a fun live show, and the material most likely works in that live setting rather successfully, but translated to the physical medium, Gathering of the Insane leaves me wanting a bit more. As they currently stand, JT Ripper simply doesn’t hold a chance of standing out in today’s congested and sometimes convoluted metal scene, especially considering that both Sodom and Deceased just released new material within two weeks of Gathering of the Insane‘s release.  Fortunately, I believe the guys have the talent and ability to really up the ante on their future material and give us something that is as memorable as Gathering... is vicious.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
December 18th, 2018

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