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Ripped To Shreds - Mai-Zang

Ripped To Shreds
Mai-Zang
by Kayla Hutton at 17 April 2018, 3:48 AM

RIPPED TO SHREDS has released “Mai-Zang” via Necrolatry Records and Craneo Negro. Astonishing that all you hear is from the mind of one man. From San Jose, CA Andrew Lee is the man behind the music. He has a pretty brutal sound that holds its own and could easily be mistaken for an old Relapse band. Lee has been playing guitar for 12 years, drums and bass around 4 years, and vocals for 2 years. The only help he did have comes from BW of DRAGHKAR/GRAVE SPIRIT who contributed vocals on “Open Grave.” Not only is he the jack of all trades but he is also giving the world some insight into Chinese culture. “Mai-Zang” translating to English meaning “to bury.” Lee covers a lot of subjects that dive into Chinese culture and past; a lot of which is actually very fascinating. Touching on the topics of the Taiping Rebellion, which was led by Hong Xiuquan who claimed he was the brother of Jesus Christ. He formed a sect of off-brand Christianity named "God Worshipping Society."

The song “God Worshipping Society” is as ruthless as the war itself. Comparable to the likes of CARCASS, DISMEMBER, and DECEASED, Lee inserts a fresh and diverse twist as the song nears its end. The guitar solo isn’t just a random speed picking of notes within reach. Similar to his subject matter there is a methodical placement that seems to line up perfectly with the events of the war. “Bone Ritual” begins like a blender filled with rocks. As the force dwindles down and the long note held out by the guitar starts to fade a slow-paced riff settles you in for what lay ahead. Out of nowhere and as heavy hitting as a car crash the tempo is kicked back into overdrive. Sounding a lot like CARCASS. Still, I have in the front of my mind CARCASS was 4 guys, this is one. And it’s actually hard to tell a difference. I love the actual attainment in his leads. It’s really not traditional death metal style. It’s not chaotic. It’s not just thrown together. “Bone ritual” also has a lot of false endings that regroup and come back in as if they never left.

Finishing out “Mai-Zang” is “Black Seeds”. Yet again Lee comes in with a fortified lead. Melodically rich and well structured. The main riff on the track is also very well assembled, grabbing pieces from a couple of different scales and played out like John Petrucci (DREAM THEATER). Hard to believe he has only been drumming for 4 years. His percussive skill ad a dynamic that makes the slower note holds more dreary as if a tired group of soldiers was sludging through the trenches using their last bit of energy.

RIPPED TO SHREDS is maybe made more formidable by the fact that its one guy, maybe even considering that he is Asian. You really do not see a lot of Asian death metallers. Those things considered it makes it easy to forget about the audio quality that isn't universal, meaning it sounds great on small P.C. speakers and my T.V., but didn’t hold up to well in the car. There are a lot of note holds as transitions which you typically hear during practice until something fills the gap. Those being the only downsides, everything else about “Mai-Zang” is exactly as it should be, if not better. His lyrical topics spark curiosity to research and come to find are just as brutal as his music. There is a great mixture of death metal sub genre’s that its unpredictably galvanizing, and the fact that you can hear how much effort was put into each track speaks volumes. The other disappointment is that because it is a one-man band there will likely be no live shows unless he puts a live band together.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Craven Blood
2. Open Grave
3. Talisman to Seal the Hopping Corpse Before It Steals Your Qi
4. 撿骨(Bone Ritual)
5. Yellow River Incident, 1938
6. Red Annihilation
7. God Worshipping Society
8. 罌粟花 (Black Seeds)
Lineup:
Andrew Lee - All Instruments and Vocals
Record Label: Craneo Negro Records
     


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Edited 16 December 2018
 

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