JUST BEFORE DAWN - In The Realm Of Ash And Sorrow (2021)



úterý 24. března 2020

Home » » Interview - RIPPED TO SHREDS - I like the speed and the wicked grooves and brutal but still catchy riffs.

Interview - RIPPED TO SHREDS - I like the speed and the wicked grooves and brutal but still catchy riffs.

Interview with death metal band from USA - RIPPED TO SHREDS.

Answered Andrew, thank you!

Translated Petra, thank you!

Questions prepared Jakub Asphyx.

Ave RIPPED TO SHREDS! Hi Andrew, I went to work this morning for the first time after the weekend and you know it, I didn't feel very well. But I played your album "亂 (Luan)" and it was become better. It gave me the great energy I needed. How was the album created? 

From 2018 to mid 2019 I was pretty much writing new songs non stop. I wanted to explore some new things that I hadn't tried on Maizang, but still keep it old school and maybe a bit less weird than Demon Scriptures. On the new record, big inspirations were Intestine Baalism, Obliteration, and Funebrarum. So lots of weird melodies, a lot of skanking, and a lot of low end brutality. Originally I had an idea to feature 8 different guest guitar players, but my friend and partner-in-crime Brandon (we play together in Azath and Serpent Rider) talked me out of it, so I just pared it down to three very important players: Takafumi from Gridlink, Phil Tougas from Chtheilist, and Damian from Horrendous. Luckily all of them were into the idea of playing guest solos. I wasn't regularly practicing drums again when this record was being made, so I brought Justin from Trenchrot on to play drums. Trenchrot is easily one of my absolute favorite death metal bands of the last 10 years, so I was very happy to have him on board. I wrote most of the drums, but he took the parts I wrote and really brought them to life with his own personality. 

I’m just listening to your new record "亂 (Luan)" and I feel like as if I am closed in some tomb together with GRAVE, DISMEMBER, ENTOMBED, BOLT THROWER, ENTRAILS, WOMBBATH. The record has a great dark sound. Where did you record it and how satisfied you are with it? Did you have the "last word" concerning the resulting sound? 

I recorded vocals, guitar, and bass in my basement "studio." Rhythm guitars were done with my Strandberg 7 string, EMG 707x pickups, into a TC Electonics Eyemaster, into an AxeFX2 on a 5150 amp sim. Solos were either that guitar, or my Ibanez RG1527 if I needed a whammy bar, into the Axe on a Marshall SLP sim. I'm not sure what Takafumi used for his solo, but Damian recorded his solo through his own 5150, and I reamped Phil's solo through a Dr Z 38 sim. Bass was an Ibanez SR505 using a clean DI blended with a 5150. Vocals were done with a Shure SM7b. 

Justin recorded drums at his friend Matt's project studio. There was some trouble with a storm taking down power on the day of recording, so they only had one day instead of two, but they knocked it out and did a fantastic job. I had Greg from Earhammer mix this album because I was going for a darker and more aggressive sound than my previous material, and of course Damian mastered it since he has a fantastic ear. I think everything turned out pretty much exactly as I expected it to, since I had control over most of the recording process and was in constant contact with Greg and Damian, so I’m very pleased with the final result.

"亂 (Luan)" has dark cover art. Who is an author? I really like his work. How did you actually choose the idea of the cover and what exactly illustrates? 

Guang Yang, a painter from China, made the cover. The song Opening Salvo on the new record is about the Battle of Lugou Bridge, which is the start of the Second Sino-Japanese war, and by that extension one of the major causes of World War 2. I thought the battle would be a good dramatic visual for the cover of the album. I gave Guang Yang very broad instructions; I told him that I wanted a depiction of the battle of Lugou Bridge, the iconic stone lions of the bridge to be a major part, and to have dramatic contrast in lighting. 

Could you reveal us who is an author of the lyrics and what is their background? Where did you take inspiration for certain topics? 

I wrote all the lyrics. I don't have a deep background in Chinese history, but I wanted to explore my heritage since I'm born and raised as an American, in America, and any history classes in mandatory schooling are 90% about history of America and the Western world. So I wanted to examine some common themes in death metal but through the lens of a Taiwanese American. Some specific topics I cover in the new album include the Boxer Rebellion, the KMT's drug trade in Burma, and wuxia novels like The Smiling Proud Wanderer.

You play music as old as death metal itself. How do you perceive new directions in the death metal? I mean mixing with death core or technical death metal? Do you have any favourite bands in “modern metal”? 

I don't follow mainstream bands that are on labels like Nuclear Blast or Metal Blade at all, so I don't know what the trends are for those. But in the underground, I don't really see a trend of technical or progressive bands... there are a couple of weirder bands like Unaussprachlichen Kulten or Suffering Hour that are starting to gain some popularity, but I think that technical bands are going to remain either a brutal DM thing or a mainstream thing. In modern metal... it's hard to say, it depends on how you define "modern metal." Maybe Power Trip for a "mainstream" band. 

What about RIPPED TO SHREDS and concerts? Do you play a lot? Are you going on tour or you are choosing only bigger festivals? And what about touring over Europe? 

We just played Oakland and Los Angeles a few weeks ago. We were planning to go to Portland/Seattle in the next couple of months but that whole COVID19 virus started so... Hoping that our festival and tour dates in Asia in November won't be canceled but we'll see about that. I'd love to go to Europe but we'd need a decent invite from a fest first to make it financially worthwhile I think. I don’t have the luxury of choosing only bigger festivals when I don’t have any invites! Haha

Nowadays, many people download music online and they only use its digital form. How do you feel about this as a musician? 

I think it's fine. Times have changed, I grew up pirating all my music, and it's impossible to force DRM onto digital music with the current Internet. Bands need to make cool merch that people want to buy, whether to rep your shit or out of nostalgia. Do I wish the actual music itself was worth more? I guess, but I basically only remember a world where music is free, I can’t even begin to imagine what living in the 70s and 80s would be like. 

There are many young bands who try to ply the “old school death/doom/black metal”. Most of them are not really good, but we can find some good bands which understand what it is about. Do you know any bands which would be able to “bring back the old days”? 

Sure, some very "old school" ones that come to mind are Bastard Priest or Torture Rack. Most bands in the underground are called "old school death metal" but I feel like it just means any DM band that isn't trying to be tech or brutal these days. Those two bands, to my ears, sound legitimately old school without just blindly cloning records from the 80s. 

Can you recommend some new albums, which impressed you at the latest time? 

Too many to choose from... I'll stick to only 10: 

Horrendous - Ecdysis 

Trenchrot - Necronomic Warfare 

Vastum - Hole Below 

Contaminated - Final Man 

Reptilian - Perennial Void Traverse 

Cerebral Rot - An Odious Descent into Decay 

Siege Column - Inferno Deathpassion 

Dead Congregation - Promulgation of the Fall 

Ripper - Experiment of Existence 

Ritual Necromancy - Disinterred Horror

Do you know and listen to some metal bands from the Czech Republic? 

I've heard of Lykathea Aflame and !TOOH!, but they are not really my style. I like Contrastic and Gride, but they aren't death metal. 

We are slowly approaching the end of the interview so I would like to ask one more philosophical question. How would you define the death metal style? What represents this music for you and why did you choose exactly this genre? 

I think it's difficult to accurately describe a music genre without just comparing to other bands... for me I very much enjoy death metal bands that sound like Autopsy, Entombed, Repulsion, or Bolt Thrower. I like the speed and the wicked grooves and brutal but still catchy riffs. My blastbeat obsession comes more from grindcore than death metal; bands like Insect Warfare, PLF, Sulfuric Cautery, Archagathus, Assuck, etc...

What RIPPED TO SHREDS is planning for the next few months? 

We have the new album ‘Luan’ coming out in April through Pulverised Records, and hopefully this virus lets up in the next few months so we can play some shows!! We have plans for more West Coast shows, a tour in Southeast Asia at the end of the year, and maybe another longer tour in China in 2021... all depends on how COVID develops and turns out. Stay safe and keep blasting! 

Thank you for the interview and I wish you a lot of sold CDs, hundreds of crazy fans and tons of great ideas. 

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