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The Van Murders
(Vic Records)

I was thrilled when I laid ears upon the first RIBSPREADER album "Bolted To The Cross" back in 2004, a well delivered punch to the face in form of good old school Death Metal, topped with Rogga Johansson's insanely great growl, and guitars by one of the deities of Swedish Death Metal, Dan Swanö. The follow up "Congregating The Sick" didn't really catch me and from that point I lost interest in the band. I've given the EP "The Monolith" a good deal of spins, and that's decent Death Metal, though it's only three tracks, and I guess that's why I never grew tired of that release, and the Lovecraftian thematics does of course good as well! We are now writing 2011 and Rogga and RIBSPREADER is ready with the fourth full length release "The Van Murders", a concept album about 2 killers by the inventive names of The Cleaner and Mister Filth. Through 9 tracks of vintage RIBSPREADER Death Metal we are being lead through the doings of the couple, from the four first tracks where we are introduced to The Cleaner and Mister Filth, over the greatly composed and bass driven instrumental intermezzo 'Going To L.A.' to the last four tracks where the killings begin (that is my qualified guess at least, judging from the music and song titles, as I haven't seen the lyrics, a lyric sheet would have been good to have while reviewing a release like that, a damn shame that only a very few labels include lyrics in the promotional packages!). Musically there isn't much new under the sun. RIBSPREADER delivers their brutal slab of Death Metal with intensity and a good ear for jaw crushing hooks, we are getting through a lot of well written and effective riffs, crushing rhythm patterns and good melodic leads, just take the one that builds up in the background of 'Sick Minds Think Alike', precious, or the straight out classic Swedish melodic Death Metal lead in 'Morbid Journey'. The always audible, though subtle, bass play is also very good, and works well both when it follow its own path and when it connects to the guitars and adds depth. Productionwise the nail is also hit in the head, heavy, almost doomy, organic and powerful, a package that compliments the music perfectly. That said, the album fades a bit too quickly out, the first four tracks, together with the instrumental are the most powerful and catching tracks. They are embraced in an eerie and grinding sick atmosphere that demands attention. The last 4 tracks do fade a bit in the distance in comparison, even though they are a bit more progressive and aggressive compared to the first half of the album. We are getting some great music, the grinding won't stop, and the technical aspect is also higher, though the compositions and delivery just become a bit too rehashed, and the atmosphere isn't as gripping. Sometimes it just works better to keep it simple. Nevertheless "The Van Murders" is one of the best plain gory old school Death Metal albums I've heard in a good while, and is worth more than a good couple of handful of spins. Some of the tracks have a gripping and skull splitting atmosphere, and Rogga's growl is still one of the best on the scene! Though I'm sure the experience of the album will be somewhat better if the tracks are digested together with the lyrics, so one can get into the heads of The Cleaner and Mister Filth and follow their adventures. "You Hack it, I slash, You kick it, I hammer it down, You stab it, I use a sword!", as one of our friends express it in 'Sick Minds Think Alike'. I think I'll just give the album another spin, and let the knife be for now!,

Anders Peter Jørgensen

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