• RIPPED TO SHRED - 亂 (Luan) LP/CD
With a year and a half spent in the throes of rabid experimental songwriting and an impressive fellowship of collaborators reinforcing its realization, the second full-length album from San Jose, California death metal project Ripped to Shreds presents a fresh stretch of the road ahead where the anomaly inherent is embraced one league deeper. Their at-a-glance typical HM-2 buzzsaw driven ‘old school’ death metal throb was previously a necessity of tasteful conveyance, war paint worn to communicate intimidation and violence, and now it is wielded with a more studied and capable hand, broadening not only what ‘亂 (Luan)’ can say but how it is said. If tone is not the anomaly in question then it is surely the collective sensibilities of musician Andrew Lee (Azath, Skullsmasher) who brings a unique Taiwanese-American perspective, and some adjacent historical/mythological themes, to classic death metal forms that now stretch towards the extremes of grind and doom within each release. If last year’s ‘魔經 Demon Scriptures‘ felt too wildly experimental and the grinding slap of ‘Eight Immortals Feast‘ (2019) before it was too much of a departure in your ears no doubt you’ll appreciate them even more in hindsight as ‘亂 (Luan)’ makes good use of each step taken beyond straight death metal classicism for its greater good.