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Vault Excavations vol. 3 : Unearthing Ripping Corpse's forgotten rehearsal tape

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

The 90's New Jersey Death Metal scene was an absolute goldmine. While everyone's eyes and ears were turned towards New York, Florida & Sweden at the time, New Jersey had bands like Revenant, Mass Psychosis, Human Remains, Symphony of Grief, Mortal Decay, Deteriorot & more putting out some of the sickest and weirdest death metal in the world. So many high quality bands came out of there, it makes you wonder whether they put hallucinogenics in the tap water. If it was the case, it would explain why everyone there wrote such psychotic riffs. However, if I had to pick a favorite band from that era and that scene, it would certainly be Red Bank's Ripping Corpse. They do not need any introduction. They are the greatest death/thrash band that ever existed and their influence on the metal scene is often understated. By combining the sounds of US Heavy, Thrash, Speed and Death Metal together with an old school hardcore punk edge, Ripping Corpse created a sound and an atmosphere that was truly their own. Aside from the sheer savagery & primal aggression behind Ripping Corpse's music, there was a deep layer of complexity and a unique sense of intricacy behind their compositions and in the way they did things. Even the way Shaune Kelley & Erik Rutan played guitar was unlike anything people had done before in death metal. The process was something like this : They often layered several guitar tracks on top of each other and then played the riffs with their thumb slightly pressed on the strings to create a constant stream of semi-natural harmonic notes, the same way one uses his thumb to play pinch harmonics. It was made more obvious when the riffs shifted into tremolo picked melodies though. I dubbed this way of playing the "Corpse picking" technique, which I use in my bands as well. At the time though, it was something no one had done to this extent before. The overall result is often dizzying and almost hypnotizing, thus giving a unique texture to the band's twisted soundscapes.

After the release of several demos and their legendary debut album "Dreaming With The Dead" which was met with great success and enthusiasm Ripping Corpse released an EP titled "Industry" and almost immediately begun recording their 2nd full length album. Their label at the time went out of business, causing the band to break up during the making of their 2nd album which was being recorded at Soundspa Studios. Because Ripping Corpse were extremely prolific songwriters, the band had also recorded a series of rehearsal tapes featuring material not present on any of the scrapped Soundspa Studio sessions. All of these files would only re-surface decades later on various filesharing forums alongside the unfinished album. In the current age, most Ripping Corpse fans have already familiarized themselves with the unreleased album as it is quite easy to find on youtube and various blogs. Finding the unreleased rehearsal tapes is another story, however. By sheer coincidence, I happened to stumble upon one of these tapes in my old external hard-drive the other day. I don't know exactly how or when I got ahold of these files, but let's just accept the fact that these files were there all along for the world to hear eventually. Please note that these are NOT the same rehearsal session as the other video titled "rehearsal 1992" already up on youtube. I could only find these 5 tracks and the titles are missing. I have taken it upon myself to upload the files for your listening pleasure below :

Interestingly enough, the band Electro Quarterstaff borrowed some of the riffs from the second song in this rehearsal tape on their own song "Titanium overlords". It seems these guys were also quite the connoisseurs and have access to the goods very early on. Even when presented in the rawest, most lo-fi and basic format possible, Ripping Corpse's music remains timeless and is instantly recognizable. The aforementioned techniques I mentioned above that made Ripping Corpse such distinct musicians, as well as the band's eclectic mix of influences, can all be found within this rehearsal demo. It is safe to say that alongside Dim Mak, Ripping Corpse are in a class of their own, with a sound that transcended all eras and subgenres. I hope you enjoyed this demo as much as I did. Written by Phil Tougas // The Vault

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