...

You know the death metal's going be good when the intro sounds like a soundtrack to an RPG made absolutely no later than 1993, and Ripped to Shreds' second full-length 亂 (Luan) is infallible proof of this. It's searing death metal that revels in brutality and musicality without trading away either. Stream it in full below now.

...

...

In keeping with Ripped to Shreds' preferred subject matter, 亂 (Luan) loosely follows an ancient Chinese war-themed folk tale. Judging by the album art, I'd surmise it involves fire, chaos, and destruction: all ideal material for some gut-ripping death metal. And rip it does, as Ripped to Shreds constructs potent sequences out of a broad palette of cadences and temperaments -- every song tears its way through the less-important stuff in your brain to find a more permanent residence. Drums, bass, guitar and vocals all play a part in the meta-rhythm, stopping and starting in tight coherence with just enough interplay and deviance to tantalize.

Whether engaging in funeral-doom-tier dirges or sheer blasting annihilation, the riffs aren't likely to disappoint -- and neither are the solos, an oft-neglected piece of the essential old-school death metal formula. On top of project mastermind Andrew Lee's own creative guitar work, he's brought in Takafumi Matsubara (Gridlink), Phil Tougas (Chthe‘ilist), and Damian Herring (Horrendous) to add a multidisciplinary sprinkling of solos to the album -- the highlight for me being Phil Tougas' contributions to the wild, lead-packed, and genre-bending ride that is "Opening Salvo," one of the singles for the album.

It's a little weird to think about when the vocals sound like the last gasps of a dying corpse and the guitar tones were crafted to rather closely emulate a buzzsaw, but 亂 (Luan) is just fun to listen to -- pummeling, intense, brutal, yes, but captivatingly so. It's a difficult trick to master, but Ripped to Shreds has continuously excelled at it, injecting melody and the nebulous aspect of "feel" into death metal without losing the menace that defines the genre.

...

亂 (Luan) releases April 17th via Pulverised Records.

...

Support Invisible Oranges on Patreon and check out our merch.

...