Dreaming with the Dead reviews

Arise212 on January 21st, 2013

Underrated and Brilliant

The only full length release by Ripping Corpse is nothing short of amazing. “Dreaming with the Dead” is filled with outstanding musicianship. It's a shame that Ripping Corpse didn't stick around long enough to release more albums. The guitar duo of Shaune Kelley & Erik Rutan compliment each other well with incredible guitar riffs. They fit well right along with Scott Ruth's menacing vocal lines & Dave Bizzigotti's bass. Brandon Thomas was a solid drummer, delivering amazing double bass and drum lines through out the album.

“Dreaming with the Dead” has a very raw tone, but that is expected for an underground death metal band with many thrash elements. The lyrics are full of references to the writings of HP Lovecraft, especially within the song “Anti-God”, which happens to be my favorite track on the album. The song is both insanely heavy & fast, but it also has a catchy vibe to it. I can't help but bang my head to the song every time I hear it.

“Cthulu, dread Cthulu!

It darkens the sun.

The ancient, the anti god.

Lord of the unholy ones!”

Another one of my favorite tracks is called “Through the Skin to the Soul”. The effects and almost groovy-like sound of it seems so original and different to me. It just blows my mind. These guys were almost ahead of their time with the songwriting. Shaune Kelley is just awesome on this album and his talent makes this album the gem that it still is today.

“Dreaming with the Dead” is an album that pretty much stands on its own in the metal world. It's unfortunate that it doesn't get the credit it deserves and typically goes unnoticed among thrash and death metal fans. The only other album that I believe sort of resembles this one in different ways is the first Dim Mak release, but that is because Shaune and Scott have also played in that band, so the music & vocals are similar. Anyway, I urge any fan of old school thrash metal or death metal to get a hold of “Dreaming with the Dead” by Ripping Corpse. You surely will not be disappointed.

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Nightmare_Reality on December 23rd, 2011

Sacred, Yet Profane

The death metal scene during the nineties in New York and the upper east coast was one of the stronger American metal scenes, and the thrash scene wasn't too shabby either. Well, Ripping Corpse proves to be the best of both genres. After releasing three monstrous demos, the band unleashed what is quite possibly the greatest death/thrash album ever, "Dreaming With the Dead." This isn't your typical death/thrash album, though. While most death/thrash bands made their mark by pushing the limits of extremity for the thrash genre, Ripping Corpse had a sound that hasn't really ever been duplicated.

One of the major reasons why the band's sound hasn't been completely ripped off by dozens of new bands, is because of the absolutely evil sounding guitar tone. Think Infernal Majesty on "None Shall Defy," only much darker and sinister. In addition to the tone, the riffs throughout this record are top-notch and have a lot of variety. The opening track "Sweetness" has an amazing arsenal of riffs on it's own. The song opens with some morbid sounding chords and Scott Ruth's vocals which sound like a much more understandable version of John Tardy, before turning into a nice midpaced riff that eventually transforms into an amazing riff that is impossible to not headbang to. The title track and "Rift of Hate" utilize the awesome guitar tone the best by bringing in some more doomy riffs and melodies to accompany the blistering fast thrash riffs. Another small, yet vital part of the overall atmosphere created on "Dreaming With the Dead" comes from the inclusion of the fast, one to two bar solos that guitarists Rutan and Kelly manage to weave in randomly throughout the album. The song "Beyond Humanity" is the best example of this.

Another real highlight of the album are the vocals. As mentioned earlier, Scott Ruth sounds like John Tardy of Obituary, but less throaty and with some slight vocal tendencies similar to those of Max Cavalera on the early Sepultura albums. His vocals really stand out during the more midpaced moments, where he can add his voice to take the parts over the top, especially during the chorus of "Anti God." Brandon Thomas' work behind the drum kit on this record has got to be one of the most underrated performances on any kind of death or thrash metal record. The drums add an intense amount of speed, whether Thomas is blasting away or just destroying his double bass pedals, the speed on "Dreaming With the Dead" reaches tempos faster than some grindcore records.

In the end, there will never be an album that can capture what Ripping Corpse did on this one. The evil and dark atmosphere, the speed, solos, riffs, melodies, vocals and everything in between. This album is just flawless in every way and I can't find anything to complain about, other than Ripping Corpse not continuing on, but that's for another day. If you haven't heard this album, get on it ASAP.



"Anti God"

"Through the Skin to the Soul"

Originally written for Nightmare Reality Webzine.


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Daemonlord on July 12th, 2011

I love this album

Ripping Corpse are one of those bands who, although they were appreciated at the time of their existence, gained more reverence and admiration after their downfall. Despite only being renowned by some as the band that nurtured old big-lips himself (Erik Rutan) into the burgeoning death metal scene, Ripping Corpse actually had an excellent thrashy death metal trademark of their very own, with 3 top notch demos paving the way for this, their only full length release before their untimely demise.

Opening with 'Sweetness', the guitar tone is quite a jarring thrashy oriented one, fitting the semi-technical music perfectly, allowing the riffs to be pushed to the forefront so every note can be heard clearly through the generally muddy production. Scott Ruth's vocals remind me of a cross between Paul Baloff (high pitched screams of the highest order, and swift vocal exhortation) and a more intelligible John Tardy (the inhuman howls and barks) - quite a combination I'm sure you'll agree, which is why I think that he was one of the most overlooked vocalists of his time (although he's still shredding his throat for Dim Mak nowadays, albeit sounding nothing like he did back in his Ripping Corpse heyday).

The shredding riff-work is interspersed with flailing solos, as well as melodic Rutan-esque echoing licks and intelligently arranged almost progressive compositions (progressive in the way that they don't follow the usual standard death metal song structures) harking back to Altars of Madness era Morbid Angel. Rather than relying on destroying your senses with blastbeats, the drum work is varied and interesting with early Death drummer Bill Andrews being a good reference point for a similar styled of fast drum work without the use of constant double bass. The generally short song lengths add to the powerful frenzied attack this album hits you with (being on average 2-4 minutes long), with songs like 'Chugging Pus' and 'Anti God' managing to encompass just about every tempo, varied drumming, and cramming technical riffs into every available nanosecond. Thus, although making it nigh on impossible to bang your head to without looking like a special needs person, it still manages to flow perfectly well, stretching your metal boner to bursting point with its overwrought possessed sound.

While not being an immediate classic upon first listen, this is a definite grower which to this day still stands proudly on its own two feet in the annals of death metal history. Another 'must own' for your death metal collection.

Originally written for www.metalcrypt.com

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DeathThrasher91 on September 24th, 2010

Seducing the innocent since 1991

In 1991, the thrash scene was on the decline, and death metal was starting to gain some popularity. While there were many good albums realesed in this period, it was clear that the thrash movement was coming to an end. For a band called Ripping Corpse, from New Jersey, this would be their shining moment, as they released one of the best death/thrash albums of all time.

This band has enough speed and aggression to beat any other band from their period and beyond. And this is more than just death metal. This band is in fact Death/Thrash of the highest caliber in terms of speed, and complexity. With numerous tempo changes, and technical thrash riffs, you can see why the band was so dynamic. first off, let me try to describe the ferocity of this band, even though that is a nearly impossible feat, as this band occasionally plays at speeds that are beyond comprehension.

Anybody who likes the chaos that is heard on Terrorizer's World Downfall, will like the speed of this band, who match and even surpass the band I just mentioned. This is the first and so far only Thrash metal band I have ever heard flat-out defeat grindcore bands in the speed category. When not blast-beating away at what I believe to be record holding tempos, even their thrash beats are fast as ****, and easily over 380BPM. Take for example the song glorious depravity. This band makes everything from Sadus, to Kreator and everything in between sound SLOW!!!!!!!!!

In addition the extreme speed, the band has a profound technical, and even progressive side. Songs might start out extremly fast, but then slow down to a midpaced groove, and then speed up again, so this album is far from one dimentional.In addition, it also makes the album much more intersting, becuse it changes tempos at random, when one would least expect it, meaning this album is never predictable, or boring. This also shows the great diversity of the band. The oppening track, Sweetness, is very progressive in nature, starting off very slow, with a blasting section in the middle, while the title track is in many ways, Grindcore influenced, but also has a couple thrash breaks. Technical gutair riffs are heard all throughout the album, but honestly the technicality is more prevalent on the secound half of the album. The last song on the album, Seduction Of The Innocent, has riffs that are easily technical enough to fit on Erosion of Sanity from Gorguts. Its is a crime that hardly anyone knows about this band.

For anybody who wants to hear the very fastest that Death/Thrash has to offer, while still being technical and progressive all at the same time, this is for you. Make no mistake about it this band has absolutely no competition in terms of speed, except Attomica and Wehrmacht, maybe. And the fact that they were able to make it so complex at the same time is amazing. I gave this album a 5 for its innovation, mastery, and speed, but honestly, I believe this deserves an even higher rating. It's no wonder one of the members of this band would later join Morbid Angel, because of his mastery at the gutair. This band was very unique compared to many other other Death/Thrash bands from the same era, and was just as good as Death, Atheist, Gorguts, and many other technical Death Metal bands at the time, although much more extreme. The only thing i didnt like was the production, which could have been a little bit better, but the muscial value is so high that it makes up for this. Althought this band is unsung, and hardly known by anyone, they easily prove why metal should be taken seriously as a genre.

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Where_Are_The_RIFFS on February 22nd, 2006


First of all, I’d like to say this album is definitely an acquired taste. When I first heard DWtD, I preferred music that was furious, but still relatively easy on the ears. In turn, I dismissed this band for its unpleasant guitar tone and shoddy production. After recently coming back to this after over a year of being in queue, I realized that I’ve been missing out on a timeless Death Metal classic; and, quite frankly, I am now addicted to this album’s production and guitar tone. It’s one of those albums you’ll find yourself listening to back to back while doing something else. I say this because if you try to concentrate on the music the entire time, you might find yourself getting bored (I blame the production [and musical ADD]). To describe the tone, I say this: it’s very morbid sounding, as if meant to be played at a funeral or in a morgue with the intention of necrosodomizing a relatively fresh cadaver as sloppily as possible in the most passionate manner. At times, the tone is very doomy sounding, almost hypnotic (see slower sections of Rift of Hate and tell me that doesn’t give you the image of dead things trying to claw their way into your ribcage). To describe the production: combine Possessed’s Seven Churches with Death’s Human and you’ll get DWtD.

I disagree with the other reviewer(s) that the guitars are too quiet. The leads are extremely clear and the rhythm guitar is no less prominent in the mix than most 80s Thrash bands. I do, however, agree that the bass is practically non-existent. You can’t so much hear it as much as you can simply feel its vibrations in your head, letting you know it’s doing SOMETHING; but it’s definitely not too clear what that something is. From what I can tell, the bass is mainly following the guitar riffs. In that case, the bass is technically good, but since it is scantly heard, it’s a waste of talent.

Another clearly noticeable aspect of DWtD is Scott Ruth’s outstanding vocal performance. Although it MAY get a bit monotonous if you fully concentrate on the music (another reason I suggest not doing so), for the most part, Ruth’s vocals are intense and, surprisingly, easy to understand considering it sounds like he’s churning blood in his throat while trying to talk (yes, talk. His vocals are quickly spoken rather than sung). The best comparison to it I can think of is Jeff Becerra from Possessed; but that trait is not what makes his voice so special. Ruth is one of the few Death Metal vocalists who actually scream in falsetto; and it’s not just some average high pitched scream like something Chuck Schuldiner might do. One of the highlights of the album, and quite possibly a highlight in all of Death metal, or, hell, even EVERY genre as a whole, is toward the end of the song Anti-God, when Ruth emits one of the highest, most ear piercing screams I’ve ever heard. It’s easily higher than Araya’s typical “I’m unleashing the dormant Amazon bitch warrior within me” scream, and about on par, pitch wise, with, but faaaaaaaaar more intense than, the legendary scream Kai Hansen did as guest vocalist on Blind Guardian’s Follow the Blind song Valhalla (and a hell of a scream THAT one is as well). I haven’t heard every Death Metal band ever, and neither have you, but I think it’s safe to assume that a scream of that caliber has rarely been matched (when you combine Ruth’s intensity, pitch, and emotion) since.

What of the drumming? The drumming is pretty damn interesting. There is a minimal amount of blasting, usually reserved for the high-speed tremolo picked riffs. Which brings me to another point, the drumming on this album is very appropriate according to the riff being played. You won’t hear blasting during a mid-paced riff; and you won’t hear tons of fills during a super fast riff. In other words, the drumming accents whatever the riffs are doing – if the riff is fast, the drumming is also fast and vice versa. Simply put, the drummer is VERY competent. For example, listen to the drumming on Feeling Pleasure Through Pain, or the opening of Sickness of the Will.

What of the riffs? That’s what makes DWtD. As a matter of opinion, I don’t think there are too many memorable riffs on this album simply because a majority of them are technical as all hell and, when coupled with the old production, not incredibly “standout-ish”. Once again, I’d bet that if the production were clearer, this might be a very catchy album (although not the same because the production gives this album its unique character). What I like most about the riffs, though, is the fact that they all seem to flow into one another. There are a shitload of them in each song. A lot of them are slow and melodic, but there are a good amount of thrashy, Death Metal riffs too; and, once again, many of them are technical. There are also tons of solos put in here and there. Sometimes, they just come in out of no where or mimic the riff for a short while, then go back to shredding. I don’t want to say they’re completely random, but rather spice things up whenever they appear. Think of it this way: if they weren’t where they are, the song wouldn’t be as good. Don’t expect one huge solo at the end of the song. Expect a short solo every here and there.

This album sounds like: a combination of Possessed, old Death, Pleasure to Kill era Kreator, and even a bit like the outlandish Demilich.

You’ll like this album if you: like those aforementioned bands, muddy production, and old school Death Metal/Deathrash.

Album highlights include: every single song is well worth hearing if you like what I said you’d like, but standout tracks (off the top of my head) include Seduction of The Innocent (which is probably the most distinct track on the entire album), Anti-God, and Feeling Pleasure Through Pain; although every single song has at least ONE section that will kick your ass.

…and one important thing to remember: this album grows on you. If, like me, you don’t enjoy it at first, go on a thinly produced music binge and then come back to this. You might be pleasantly surprised that it kicks more ass than you originally thought.

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Yashka on February 22nd, 2005

Overlooked, intricate yet pummeling Thrash/Death

I would like to start this review off with a joke. It’s not one of those ‘haha’ funny or even ‘weird’ funny jokes, but a joke nonetheless. The joke is the production. The guitars are way to quiet, the bass in non existent, and the vocals over ride everything except the drums. I’m not even one of those people that have to have that slick, Neal Kernon produced sounds. I listen to a lot of grind and death metal albums with murky productions. The sound that this album has just does not fit with the riffs and style of music. One positive is that that drums sound decent. That all said, on to the review proper.

The songs don’t seem to follow one particular structuring. None of the songs follow the verse/chorus/verse/chorus/break formula. In that regards this sounds quite progressive to me. The guitarist also throws in little solos here and there just to perk things up. The riffs alternate between fast, thrashy riffs, and slow to mid-paced crushing ones. A good example of this alternating between speedy and crushing is on the song Rift of Hate.

The drums don’t seem too varied on the surface, a lot of blast beats mixed up with double bass/snare and bass/snare/bass. However the drummer throws in little flourishes here and there that seem to indicate a mastery of his instrument. The drummer also shows a good sense of groove. I would say his groove sense is more developed in his work with Dim Mak though. The bass, as I have said is non existent.

The vocalist has only one style of articulating; A screamy voice that’s a bit reminiscent of Evil Chuck. He knows when to shut up and let the band just jam too, which is always a welcome respite from his at times monotonous style.

All in all, if I had to describe this album’s sound, I would say it sounded like a beefier Kreator mixed with early Morbid Angel. That description doesn’t really do them justice though because I haven’t heard any album that sounded close to this. The only reason this album does not score 100 is because of the production. Other than that, it is highly recommended. It may be a bit hard to find, but if one were to take the time to seek it out, the rewards vastly outweigh any difficulties in acquiring it.

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corviderrant on March 31st, 2004

Ripping Corpse Attaaack!!!

It's a fucking injustice that this band had to break up due to Kraze/Maze Records being such a fly-by-night operation. They got screwed so hard! And they were one of the best and most distinctive USDM bands out there, too. Unlike the typical death growler, Scott Ruth's vocals alternated between a guttural midrange bark/scream and occasional high-pitched squeals a la Schmier (Destruction), with deeper growls here and there. He was quite a character vocally, and the band matched him with top drawer musicianship.

Brandon Thomas' drumming was outstanding all around, and his insanely fast double kick at the beginning of "Anti-God" (my fave tune here) gives you reason as to why no less than the mighty Pete Sandoval himself called them "The New Gods". The guitars...whoa. Shaune Kelley and Erik Rutan shredded like madmen, with solos flying left and right everywhere in every song, and bassist Dave Bizigotti, though somewhat buried in the mix as per usual, kept right up with their complicated riffing note for note.And did I mention that even though the production is less than perfect, this album has one of the most EEEEEVIL guitar sounds ever recorded? It's a combination of a lower, less defined tone and a higher, crunchier tone that makes a single huge wall of death which rivals the old school Swedish death merchants in terms of flesh-crawling intensity and macabreness.

Standout tunes? Opener "Sweetness", "Anti-God", "Chugging Pus" with its scathing lyrical attack on mainstream society's hypocrisy, "Seduction of The Innocent", "Through the Skin and Through the Soul", "and "Beyond Humanity" with its Lovecraftian lyrical theme (along with "Anti-God") and crushing slow part near the end, all these and more are parts of a whacking great whole that is infinitely worth hunting down/downloading! The arrangements were almost too complex at times, but that's part of their charm, the fact that they made it work and how. This is one of the best USDM albums of the early 90s, and Dim Mak, their current project, doesn't hold a candle to it, I fear. Hunt this fucker down, did I say?

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Dreaming with the Dead track list

2Dreaming with the Dead01:46
3Anti God03:08
4Glorious Depravity02:00
5Beyond Humanity04:18
6Feeling Pleasure Through Pain03:34
7Through the Skin to the Soul02:28
8Rift of Hate03:58
9Deeper Demons01:52
10Sickness of Will02:17
11Chugging Pus02:25
12Seduction of the Innocent03:39

Dreaming with the Dead lineup

Scott RuthVocals
Shaune KelleyGuitars
Erik RutanGuitars
Dave BizzigottiBass
Brandon ThomasDrums