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Ribspreader's a great band to listen to if the only thing you value in a band is how relatively oldschool they manage to be. If you value anything else, they're pretty tepid. Ribspreader is a band mentioned frequently in the same breath as Drawn And Quartered (though neither of them seem to be as frequently name-checked as they were a few years ago) as one of the most staunchly traditional and oldschool (and supposedly, for that reason in and of itself, good) death metal bands out there today. The word 'saviors' has been used an uncomfortably large amount to describe them in relation to what is apparently the scourge of modernity in the death metal scene. Ribspreader remains ostensibly unchallenged to the throne of oldschool death metal in the new millennium.
Well, they are oldschool.
Whether they're good or not is much more questionable. Ribspreader is excellent at emulating the Autopsy style of death metal, but unlike a band such as, say, Murder Squad, that's ALL that Ribspreader does. Take one part Autopsy and one part Dismember, have them recycle old, occasionally doomy death metal riffs, and you have Ribspreader. They're not bad riffs, but they lack a really compelling nature. It's as if someone gave a bunch of studio musicians a series of 'For Dummies' books on how to sound like this style of oldschool death metal; they replicate the pieces of the puzzle pretty nicely, but seem lost on what picture they're supposed to actually form. The weird and out of place vocals don't help; the normal growls aren't offensive, but occasionally the band decides to pitch-shift the fuck out of them for no reason at all. The drums and bass are just sort of there, perpetually following the pied piper of sludgy, overly distorted (Axis Powers-style) guitars. The later tracks (which I suppose are chronologically earlier, with rawer production) are more blast-heavy, modern, and, ironically, better than the mid-tempo Swedeath ripoff stuff.
I don't find the material here bad really, but I do think it's very uninspired and deeply overrated. I'm not sure if decidedly mediocre late '80s tribute bands like this are getting worshipped merely due to their oldschool credibility or for a perceived songwriting prowess, but either way, I'm not buying it, in the same way I don't buy most of the details about this compilation's creation (none of this stuff was done in the mid '90s, nor were the drums added later, or at least not in all cases). Yeah, this album is full of oldschool credibility, but none of the members can remember any relevant details about the making of the tracks. Fantastic. And we're supposed to put up with dumb bullshit like this why?