Review Summary: Fucking filthy.
You would be forgiven for mistaking Ribspreader (of Sweden) as another Swano side project; he did guest work on their first two albums. Roger “Rogga” Johansson, the actual mastermind behind Ribspreader, acquired Swano’s help after performing vocals for Edge of Sanity
’s Crimson II. Swano assisted Rogga in starting Ribspreader; Rogga let Swano perform solos and take care of the drum work until Rogga found permanent members. After the release of their second album the band went on hiatus due to line-up problems; they have now returned with their most unique release yet, Opus Ribcage.
Rogga apparently takes after his friend, and is involved in many projects of his own. Unlike Swano, who delves into multiple genres, Rogga strictly sticks to death metal. Rogga does switch it up, however; his bands usually play different variations of death metal: for example, Paganizer
combines thrash and death metal whilst Demiurg
’s music is more melodic. With Ribspreader, Rogga pays homage to the filthiest form of old school death metal somewhat similar to Nihilist
, Morbid Angel
and early Entombed
. Ribspreader’s music has aslo often been compared to that of Swano's former band Bloodbath
. This is not just because of the way they used to play and/or because of Swano, but also because of Rogga’s vocals. Rogga’s insane gutturals have often been compared to those of Akerfeldt’s and the similarity is quite easy to spot when one listens to Ribspreader’s previous albums. Here, on the other hand, they’re a tad bit different. For this album, Rogga brings out a raw quality in his voice that makes his vocals sound much heavier and deeper, kind of like he's possessed. This newer approach to the vocals fits quite well with this brand of death metal and makes the music sound even more evil.
Those who've listened to the aforementioned bands will know what to expect, that is, death metal stripped down to it's bare bones. The listener is hit with waves of riffs, which maintain their heaviness throughout the album, even incorporating some catchy melodies here and there. The guitar and bass duties are shared by Rogga and Andreas Carlsson and though they've provided the album with an ample amount of great riffs, the album is missing the better solo work that Swano provided for the previous albums, like Congregating the Sick. Another aspect of the instrumentation affected by Swano's departure would be the drum works as new recruit, Ronnie Björnström's drumming is downright boring. His lackluster drumming is usually kept mid-paced with uninspired blast beats, some good fills and a clearly evident lack of double bass work. Although his skill as an entertaining drummer can be questioned, it can be observed that he provides enough to keep the rhythm section intact. The grittier production was also a helpful factor as it keeps the listeners' attention on the guitars and vocals rather than the monotonous drumming. The album starts off with a dark and ominous acoustic intro which is basically a warning for the listener to take a deep breath before being plunged, head first, into the chaos of Ribspreader's music. Dying Death Decomposed starts the album off and begins the barrage of riffs followed by Rogga's inhumane vocals which include growls as well as banshee like shrieks. The album moves along at a steady pace, the vocals and the guitars mixing quite well to create a very evil atmosphere and after all this evil the album ends on a much more fun note with Blitzkrieg Pop which is a knock-off cover of The Ramones
' Blitzkrieg Bop.
The album may seem repetitive after a while and even with minor flaws like the drumming and lack of solos Ribspreader were able to put out a solid and enjoyable slab of death metal. Now free from being under Bloodbath's shadows, the band have fianally embraced their own unique sound making Rogga a happy happy camper as Ribspreader can now spread their wings (or ribs) and join the ranks of other elite death metal acts.