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Vic (2014)
Rating: 7/10

Some of you will be disappointed when I state that Ribspreader’s sixth instalment is every bit as Swedish as the last. Yep, these Gamleby-based guys are high on those buzzing, chainsaw riffs, and those guttural vocals which we’ve heard countless times before within the Swedish scene but, and it’s a big but, I do really like this nine-track offering.

The trio have been making minor waves since their 2004 Bolted To The Cross debut, but with so much of this style of death metal around they haven’t really made a huge impact on the scene. Sure, they are masterly when it comes to those grooving riffs and behemoth drums and there’s so much to get your teeth into here, but with this sort of metal at first being appreciated back in the early 90s, it’s going to take a special band to reinvent this genre.

Ribspreader may not be that enigmatic as a combo, but Meathymns is as solid as the day is long. With Rogga Johansson still barking out those orders above those catchy riffs, it’s difficult not to take note. While it could be said that Ribspreader’s earlier records were better, Meathymns still offers us enough flesh to succeed, and by keeping the structures relatively simplistic it means that this 30-minute affair hits home hard but doesn’t leave a bruise.

There’s a juggernaut feel about most of the tracks on offer, as Johansson combines that now seemingly generic Swedish brutality with a Floridian old school feel, especially with the raging symphonies that are ‘Orchestrating The Cacophony’, which opens the record and features some fantastic loose, guttural vocals and crushing rhythms. ‘Cemetery Dreams’ continues the chaos, upping the speed a tad but following the same rugged course, before we’re battered by the frenzy of ‘As The Blood Flows’ right through to the blood-gurgling title track.

Most of the songs clock in at around three minutes so the opus has a concise feel about it, with the trio eager to sucker punch the listener before quickly moving on. Only ‘Skeletonized’ breaks the mould by reaching five minutes, and it actually remains one of the best tracks on the record, featuring punishing drums courtesy of Brynjar Helgetun.

Of course, when the band slow the tempo they become a real tour de force, but whereas the solos try to weave their way out of the sludge, there’s an all too familiar feel about the record with touches of Autopsy creeping in as well.

Having said that, Meathymns is still an enjoyable grotesque listen that is more appealing than countless of other bands of this ilk. Although I’m not really sure why Ribspreader are more rewarding, it just might be worth you taking the time to injecting yourself with a dose of their dirt to see what I mean.

Meathymns is a decent effort from a band in the long line of Swedish death metal disciples eager to resurrect a corpse that has been flogged more times than a dead horse.

Neil Arnold

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