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I'm gonna get this out of the way before we start here, this album is really, really catchy, (almost) every song on this LP has multiple incredibly infectious riffs sprinkled throughout. Wanted to make that clear, I cannot understand the hate I've seen multiple people throughout this vast internet give this album. Sure I was a little bit apprehensive when it saw initially that the album was going to be a Rogga one man effort, but dude this albums pretty awesome.
Rogga Johansson gives a respectable performance on all fronts on these nine tracks, everything about this one is pretty solid throughout. Realistically though, Meathymns best moments come from the guitars, many of these songs are designed to be very catchy, and after multiple listens it becomes very apparent that Meathymns came out victorious in that regard. Songs like "As The Blood Flows", "Skeletonized", "Worm Infested" and "Orchestrating the Cacophony" really benefit from these killer riffing sections, they all rely heavily on a mixture of hummable melodic, tremolo riffs and a wide variety of catchy chugging riffs. The killer guitar tone (it has that "buzzing chainsaw" feeling that Dismember was most prominently known for) really gives the riffs and various crunchy chugging rhythms a truly authentic feel. The solos are also pretty cool, they aren't utilized as often as i would've hoped for but when they do come out they're pretty badass, nothing real extreme for the death metal genre, but still badass enough to get a mention here. Strangely enough a few of the solos remind me of Acid Witch's debut album in a way, the guitar tone is oddly similar. This is mainly seen in "Orchestrating The Cacophony" and "Dragged Below".
Roggas vocals here are predominantly a low growl with a vague Paul Speckmann influence (mainly the mild gurgle kind of sound they have). He sometimes uses a high pitched "scream" of sorts, but it's only heard in a few sections throughout. Rogga also utilizes a few borderline guttural vocal stylings, This can be seen most frequently in "The Ones Who Hide And Wait". The vocals overall fit the album very well although they do tend to get monotonous after a while, especially in the last few songs. The rhythm section is pretty good too, although it is far more "barebones" than either the guitar or vocals. The bass is pretty easily noticed kicking around in the low end, especially if you have a pretty decent speaker system. It pretty much just follows the guitars but it's not doing anything obnoxious or failing to keep pace, so thats a plus in my book dude. Don't really have too much to really say about the bass honestly, it almost feels like it exists solely to exist, never really doing anything out of the ordinary, but this is a a flaw that is noticed throughout a huge number of albums that I enjoy regardless, so i'm not going to give it too much shit for that. The bass does get a brief moment to shine during "Worm Infested", so not all is lost. The drum programming is pretty good, it keeps a steady pace and adds a cool, speedy drive to most of the songs. It's not overly flashy, but it's more than adequately programmed and is very professionally handled. I do feel like they could benefit from a live drummer, but to be completely honest, if Metal Archives hadn't mentioned that this album featured a Drum Machine I would've though that it was a legitimate actual human drummer. So obviously the drum programming really does its job in all departments.
The albums production is pretty good as well although I do have some (minor) problems with it. The guitars sit pretty high in the mix and the bass is somewhat buried in the whole thing as well, but it's not enough of an issue to really do much more than detract a few "points" off the review. The whole thing overall has a very obvious old school feeling to it, even though the sound and mix is very clear and clean. The production is decent if not mildly flawed, but isn't anything worthy of a paragraph flowing with praise.
After many listens I've picked up on a few flaws that are hidden throughout Meathymns. I really do enjoy this album, but there are a few chugging riffs that almost hit the point of being abnormally generic, this is most notable in "Cemetery Of Dreams" and "Asylum of The Rotting", but it comes out at least once in most of the songs. Another thing that really bothered me was the boring and completely unnecessary three minute outro, the most baffling thing about this to me is that the outro is the albums title track, seriously I wonder what the fuck Rogga was thinking when he tacked that on there. One other thing that kind of bothered me was that the songs have started sounding a whole lot like Roggas other band Revolting. I love Revolting so it's not an issue for me really, but it does make one think, "Why didn't he just release this as a Revolting album, it sounds just like one". Thats about it for the negatives on the album, and since it's obviously pretty easy to skip the outro track that one is really not a major issue.
Overall I have to say, Meathymns is a very cool album. Catchy melodies are consistently noted throughout the album (usually backed by an equally catchy D-beat drum pattern for added effect), the artwork is pretty awesome and keeps true to the Ribspreader lineage, as does the music itself. The album has a few issues bogging it down and it probably won't be mentioned on too many "TOP TEN OF 2014" lists or whatever, but it's worth 12$ for sure. If you are familiar with any of Roggas previous works then you'll almost certainly enjoy this one.
Rogga Johansson's death metal proliferation certainly leaves him at the disadvantage of spreading himself a little thin, and Ribspreader itself seems to have been a victim of the process. This was actually one of the first of his projects I got heavily into, but beyond the first couple albums I felt there were some diminishing returns as far as my excitement level. Recently, The Van Murders and the Kult of the Pneumatic Killrod double album were both decent offerings, but nothing to whip me into a frenzy like his work with Putrevore or Revolting, and Meathymns sort of continues this process of meting out solid, competent but ultimately somewhat ineffectual death metal with a heavy emphasis on the Swedish sound that so inspired Rogga in the first place.
This is a concise record that knows exactly what it's on about. Beefy rhythm guitars with a lot of thrash and punch to them which I'd liken to a blend of Heartwork-era Carcass, Dismember and Entombed, though the riffs are about 50/50 hit or miss in terms of becoming engraved on the listener's memory. A handful of more melodic tremolo picked riffs strewn about the grisly landscape, and a lot of low-end to the album in general thanks to Rogga's impenetrably consistent guttural which anyone used to Ribspreader, Revolting or Paganizer would be intimately familiar with. The drums generally shuffle along at a d-beat clip or similar pace which works well with the sinewy muted guitars, with a snappy enthusiasm to the snares. Lead guitars don't play a major role here, apart from some sporadic melodies, and I also felt like the bass lines weren't heavily involved in building an atmosphere, rather just adhering to the guitars and amplifying that bass. There are a few atmospheric breaks with dirty but less saturated sounding guitars, but they're not quite effective, and I'd have a hard time imagining Ribspreader go any further down this route...though I admit that the thought of several of these tunes with "Chapel of Ghouls" style synthesizers added might be refreshing.
Anyway, as the album title clarifies, this is meat & potato old school death metal which bears the loyal seal that its creator has stamped on dozens of records in the past decade, and there's not a lot more to rave on about. If you've been listening to the genre for that amount of time or longer, then it's easier to dismiss this as another jaunt down memory lane, a singular direction which lacks nuance and distinction among even Rogga's own body of work. That said, there's very little of this guy's output which lacks at least some capacity for charm, and though a lot of the tunes suffer from excess sameness, it was fun to headbang along for 20-30 minutes. Not much of a transition or progression from that 2004-2005 period in which Bolted to the Cross and Congregating the Sick were unleashed (still the best from this project), but fans of Grave, Unleashed, early Dismember/Entombed or the first two Bloodbath discs might find in this a reliable backup to their favorites. I continue to admire Rogga's zeal for the genre, but I can't help but think that if he trimmed down the number of creative outlets he was involved with, the remainder would be that much more inspirational. Meathymns was a pretty average experience among his considerable canon.