Once a solo project by main man Andrew Lee, 劇變 (Jubian) sees Ripped to Shreds‘ third proper album branch out into a fully-fledged band, their first for Relapse Records. On opener “Violent Compulsion For Conquest” there is a lot of Swedish styled death metal on display as Lee rips through sections of vicious riffs in a purely chainsaw inspired fashion.
The band slows to a Left Hand Path crawl at times but fires up the blades and goes back with a full head of steam. Lee’s solos here and on “漢奸 (Race Traitor)” are spectacular in allowing his guitar playing to shine. “Split Apart By Five Chariots” has Lee channeling Autopsy’s Chris Reifert vocally in a very authentic way, changing the band’s sound on the fly, adding elements of doom for good measure.
The B-side of the album features relatively bite-sized tracks including “Harmonious Impiety,” which might be the most straightforward track on the album allowing for the band to create momentum right from the underside’s outset. The wonderfully conjured “Peregrination To The Unborn Eternal Mother” features more and more melodic experimentation, even sounding like Japan’s Coffins towards the end.
However just before that the band hits you with “獨孤九劍 日月神教第三節 (In Solitude – Sun Moon Holy Cult Pt 3)” the album’s centerpiece at 10 and a half minutes. It is far and away the most ambitious piece of theirs to date. The track starts off slowly with amply melodies and riff structures before delving into more death metal goodness.
Lee and crew have applied the scorched earth strategy when it comes to influences on this track, never buying in too much in one direction, but feeling like a musical transformation for the during this epic opus’s run time.
If 亂 (Luan) was a precursor of the band’s future then consider 劇變 (Jubian) a massive statement and evolution for the band. This is the sound of a death metal band taking every influence they already had, running it through a blender and making it theirs entirely. Ripped To Shreds are the next big thing in death metal.
(released October 14, 2022 on Relapse Records)
Heavy Music HQ Rating:
Watch Ripped To Shreds – “Reek Of Burning Freedom” Video