There have been times when this writer finds themselves having to resort to the ol’ back catalogue to fulfil those thrash yearnings, looking to Kreator, Destruction, Sepultura, Whiplash et al to get the blood pumping. Happily, there are a bunch of younger bands coming through on the scene that are more than able to hold their own against such lofty company and Chilean crew Ripper are once such band. They’ve been on the go since 2007 and have an impressive eight (nine including this one) releases under their bullet-belts. With each passing album, their playing, songwriting and overall dynamics improve immeasurably; it’s almost like they want the thrash crown for themselves or something.

Sensory Stagnation then, is a relatively short affair with only five songs on the album, the whole thing lasting around 20 minutes. It kicks things off with ‘Dissociation’, a short instrumental which highlights some hefty all-round rifferama, twin guitar attacks and thundering double bass drums. Next up, ‘The Unreal’ starts off as a mid-paced chug-along before lighting the fuse and exploding everywhere. The album is chock-full of seriously brutal riffs, seamless time changes and searing solos that are actually part of the song, rather than feeling like an add-on to fill space. The bass playing is a particular highlight – not for the first time, Pablo Cortes’ playing really stands out on a Ripper album not only adding to each song, but to the whole feel of the album. The remaining songs fizz by in a blur, the album closing with ‘Terror Streets’, a spiralling, mosh-pit mangling, neck-snapping thrasher. 

Ultimately, there’s nothing trailblazing or staggeringly inventive about Sensory Stagnation, but sometimes that’s really not the point. Indeed, the album gives this listener the same shivers that Pleasure to Kill, Beneath the Remains, Seven Churches and Bestial Invasion first did all these years ago. And that is a very good thing.

Sensory Stagnation is out 30th September via Unspeakable Axe Records and can be purchased here.

Words – Scott Crawford

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