PREMIERE: Ripped to Shreds – Red Annihilation
How do you folks feel about a certain English OSDM band? Name rhymes with Colt Blower? Anyone?
The thing about Bolt Thrower is that they were very, very good. So good, in fact, that their sound served as a template for rad acts like War Master and later era Slugathor, among many, many other imitators. Ripped to Shreds, the product of one-man multi-instrumentalist Andrew Lee, isn’t the least bit afraid to wear his influences on his dork suit sleeve. Combining big ass chunks of Bolt Thrower and liberal heaps of Entombed, Ripped to Shreds is unapologetic OSDM worship. And y’know what? It whips sack.
Now that’s some tasty solo-age.
Andrew Lee’s lyrical content focuses on war, rebellion, and battle – a common lyrical trope. But where Lee’s peers have a Euro-centric perspective, Ripped to Shreds is entirely about Chinese history. “Red Annihilation”, the track we’re stoked to premiere today, is centered on the Kuomintang of China’s attempted purge of communists that led to the Chinese civil war. Andrew himself explains, “It’s a song loosely based around the KMT’s attempt to purge the Communists in the April 12 Shanghai massacre. The KMT went from door to door in Shanghai looking for communist associates to arrest and disarm them, and many protesting workers and students were killed during riots. It was one of the precipitating events that kicked off the Chinese civil war which split China into the CPC controlling the mainland and the KMT in Taiwan.”
“Red Annihilation” appears Mai-Zang, out March 27th. You can pick it up on cassette via Malaysia’s Necrolatry Records or CD via Mexico’s Craneo Negro Records. Follow Ripped to Shreds on Facebook and pick up the digital album right here. I hate to lazily copy and paste promotional copy, but the origin of Mai-zang and its cover art is just too interesting to leave out. Check it out:
Mai-zang means ‘burial’ or ‘tomb’, is a reflection of the turmoil, strife, and chaos of late 19th to early 20th century China as she dealt with multiple internal uprisings and foreign invasions. From the religious purges of the Taiping Rebellion to the mass famine in the wake of the Yellow River flood, each track presents a harrowing vignette of death and horror.
The song “Jiangu,” which was performed in Mandarin, informs the themes in the cover art and tone of the album. Taiwanese people are traditionally buried sans embalming to let the flesh naturally rot away. They are exhumed years later to remove and clean the bones, which are placed in a funerary urn, and that urn then reinterred. This practice is called jiangu or “picking up bones.” Andrew’s great-grandparents were buried in this manner, but in the last 20 years population growth and space concerns prevent full coffin burial so people are cremated instead. Jiangu in the modern context refers to transferring the bone fragments left from cremation into the funerary urn. Worship of those remains is culturally important; what if during the cremation process a mistake was made and the family was handed the wrong person’s ashes and bones? “Bone Ritual” then depicts the deceased’s impotence in bringing good luck to his descendants as they pay false obeisances to the remains of a stranger.
The cover art shows a traditional grave; for Han Chinese, sweeping the grave is an important annual ritual, so leaving a grave to rot as drawn is an act of supreme disrespect to one’s forebears.”