Ripped to Shreds

The US is certainly upping the HM-2 death metal game here in the last few years with the likes of Fatalist, Skinfather, Terminate, Horrendous, Unwilling Flesh and just this year,  we have had excellent releases from Angerot, Boethiath and one man project, Ripped to Shreds.

The brain child of one Andrew Lee,  formerly of Disincarnation, 埋葬 (Chinese for ‘Burial’), is a interesting old school delivery of the Swedish sound with a more raw, Nihilist styled sound , tone and delivery. It has some interesting themes based on Chinese lore, rituals, history and mythology, which is a nice change and a unique concept, thought musically, you’d have no idea as its full on Swedish death metal straight from 1991- there’s no Chinese influence it instrumentation to the music- which might have been an interesting mix.

Lee performs everything with only a little help from guest vocalist ‘BW’ (Draghkar) on second track “Open Grave”, and too his credit avoids a pure cliches or homage by not throwing in any licks or leads that one would instantly recognize as blatant Entombed of Dismember riffs., but more subtle nods. Everything here is a bit more raw,  chaotic and loose with maybe more of an influence from less known bands like Therion’s debut, Nirvana 2002 or Uncanny.  Horrendous’ Damien Herring adds his mixing and mastering to Lee’s already solid recording, making this a fully American affair.

That said, there’s no real standout track or defining moment on the album for it to hang its hat on. It’s 36 minutes of musty, sinewy, buzzsaw-y death metal. However, a few good riffs to surface here and there such as the gallop in “Talisman to Seal the Hopping Corpse Before It Steals Your Qi” (which comes as close to a Entombed/Nihilist homage as any track) or “撿骨” (Bone Ritual), with its shrill, blackened mid song blast beat. “Yellow River Incident, 1938” goes straight for the throat, while “Red Annihilation” is a mid paced chugger, which is the second track that imbues early Entombed/Dismember with a nice extended lead solo. In fact, Lee really shows his soloing chops in the album’s latter stages with nice lead work in “God Worshiping Society” and closer “罌粟花” (Black Seeds).

A nice addition to 2018s American entries to the genre with the aforementioned Angerot and Boethiah, and I look forward to Lee developing and evolving this project further.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
August 8th, 2018


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