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With a name like Chris Violence one would expect nothing less than hard-hitting, raw, in-your-face metal and American Ripper does not disappoint. From the first note to the last this album delivers on all points, both musically and lyrically. As a matter of fact, I have this album on my iPod and I’m here to tell you I do not put any album on my iPod unless I can listen to it continuously without skipping over any of the songs. With that being said, let’s talk about American Ripper.
The first song on the album, the title track “American Ripper”, is nothing less than good old fashioned thrash at its best. Monkey had to do some serious warm up exercises before playing this one, as all four limbs worked overtime on those drums. Guitars were on point, with this being one of four songs featuring Jamie Page on lead guitar, and Jon’s bass line was killer. Chris has the perfect vocal pitch for thrash and holds nothing back. Song 2 - “Soft Mothers Embrace” and song 3 - “Anatidaephobia” are just as thrashlicious (yes, I invented that), with a slight hint of death metal incorporated into “Soft Mothers Embrace” by periodic low growls from Chris. “The Working Dead”, the seventh track on the album, is a beautiful combination of thrash, doom, and death. It is also the perfect choice to have as the final song.
The other three tracks: “Down The Hall” (song 4), “Burning Children” (song 5), and “Fuck Shit Up” (song 6) all have Jamie Page on lead guitar. These three also lean more toward the progressive and doom metal side of the album, while still retaining thrash and death elements. Jon’s bass is a little more amplified, adding a richer sound and a heaviness that I feel was necessary for these three tracks in particular because of the message they are conveying. I would also like to note that these are the longest songs on the album and I, for one, always appreciate musical shifts and instrumental solos which these do contain. Jamie cranks out a ripping guitar solo on “Fuck Shit Up”, while “Burning Children” and “Down The Hall” also have solos but take on a slightly different tone. “Burning Children” has an impactful message, one that I am not going to tell you, as you will need to hear it for yourself. What I will tell you is that Jamie and Jon really stand out on this track. It is 10:35 of some of the best playing I have ever heard.
My favorite track on the album is “Down The Hall”. The second longest song at 7:54 long, it contains everything I love about a great metal song. First and foremost the lyrics are about death, which is always a plus. Chris demonstrates his vocal talent very well throughout the entire track. Monkey is yet again consistent with his drumming techniques, and Jamie has a screaming solo that packs a big punch. I was most impressed with bassist Jon, who really shined on this particular song. His playing grabbed my attention the first time I listened to the album, and he really outdid himself here.
The time and effort the guys put into this album were not in vain. In my opinion, American Ripper is nothing short of a masterpiece and is an essential addition to anyone’s collection. You can download the album by visiting either http://www.chrisviolence.com or http://chrisviolence.bandcamp.com. There is a “name your price” option, and I strongly urge everyone to support the band and contribute something as a token of appreciation for all their hard work.