'Meathymns' is the fourth album in six months involving Rogga Johansson. Clearly he never sleeps and yet despite this punishing level of output the quality of work remains consistently high across all his releases.
It's also the sixth full length from Swedish old school death Metal trio 'Ribspreader', just one of about sixteen active projects Rogga is currently involved with. The line-up is completed by Andreas Karlsson (guitar) and Brynjar Helgetun (drums) and it's an intense, chugging, mid paced offering that is relentless but at the same time has a subtle groove which makes it such an enjoyable listen.
There is nothing I can find fault with in this release. Rogga's deep rich growl is superb, well intonated and lyrically clear. The drum work is pace perfect with some nice patterns dropped in here and there, adding that little something when required. The guitar work is intense and if, like me, you are a fan of the 'Rogga riff', there's plenty of those to keep you happy also.
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The album is nine intense tracks crammed into thirty minutes and the opening scream of 'Orchestrating The Cacophony' had me smiling. I knew that everything I love about the 'Ribspreader' albums, not least the dark morbid humour, was waiting to unfold before my ears.
Almost all the tracks fit into a tidy three to four minute window, the one longer track 'Skeletonized' is slightly different from the rest, it has a longer, slow and darkly reflective opener but within a minute that insane mid pace is reached. Lyrically the track is graphically yet creatively descriptive of the transformation from corpse to skeleton: "No breath coming from his lungs, only coughing maggots, no words to describe, the sickening festering." A superb, standout track.
Even though I love the whole album and it can listen end to end repeatedly there are several other standout tracks for me; 'Cemetery Dreams', I do love songs about graveyards, and particularly this line: "...like a maggot eating flesh" ending with the fabulous blood curdling closing scream of "Cemetery Dreams!!".
'As the Blood Flows' is an intense, chugging track that just runs away with you, leaving you feeling like you have to hang on for dear life every time there is a swift direction change. This almost constant intensity with the briefest of breath grabbing pauses around the midway point that gives it the excitement of a runaway rollercoaster.
The repeat riff across 'The Ones Who Hide And Wait' just says "Rogga is in the building!!" 'Asylum Of The Rotting' is a very dark track, even by Rogga's standards it has the best drop away of the album, longer and darker and with the stunning lines: "The place where insanity, breeds like a fire, this is where you dwell, your own stinking hell!" The final and title track 'Meathymns' is a sinister, simple yet ear searing, effective instrumental closer.
The cover art is by Finnish artist Turka Rantanen (Demigod, Torture Pulse, Demiurg) and has the usual wonderfully sacrilegious humour found on previous album covers and is as enjoyable to look at as the music is to listen to.
Personally I think this is a superb album but then I love all five of the previous 'Ribspreader' releases, if you really want to know how good it is, you need the opinion of the bands biggest critic, Rogga himself who says: "I think this is the album that should have followed up the 'Ribspreader' debut (Bolted To The Cross). It sounds like that anyway, I love it myself, and that's strange, ha ha".