About a week ago we were contacted by a lovely polite chap named Asher Johnson who just so happens to be the guitarist for Texan doom outfit Ripis. He wanted to know if we would be keen to do a review of their recently released new album “Shadow Dies in Morning Light”, and after he explained more about the whole thing I could not help but be moved to do one as soon as possible. To explain even more I will put it into his words.
“This album is particularly important to us for a couple of reasons; we believe the music is the best we’ve ever made, and the lyrics are a pretty vulnerable take on our own personal struggles with mental health. A few weeks before the release of our first album (Monolith), one of our own was doing pretty poorly. He ended up admitting himself into a mental health facility to avoid ending his own life.
After that experience, our philosophies were adjusted. We decided that writing riff-centric music with “tough” lyrics felt insincere. Don’t worry – there are still some great riffs on this album. We’ve just added some new elements that hit a little closer to home.”
So here I sit after listening to the album several times to take it all in, and I can only describe this album to you as exceptional. This is not one for the faint of heart or the easily saddened though, it is very heavy going in more ways than one. Dealing with the subject of depression and mental health is in itself not a very uplifting thing to tackle head on, and there’s very little that could be even remotely compared to joy to be found here folks. You have been warned.
With that out of the way, musically this is one big slobbering monster of an album. It slowly drags itself across your consciousness to the tone of sludgy doom laden riffs, lead heavy bass and slow, methodical drumming. The wall of sound produced is almost hypnotic at times, check the passage between the end of “Water in the Basin” and the title track for a prime example. This sort of thing just drills itself into your psyche. The vocals are more of a clean example, no death growling or furious barking to be found, more of the spoken misery of a broken soul, at times droning along with the wall of sound to create the soundtrack to utter despair.
Yes indeed, this is one heavy, relentless dirge from start to finish, and you know what? It is also very very good. I can only hope that by putting these thoughts to music that the band found some respite from the harshness of the everyday world. I for one would not listen to this if I were feeling down, as it does not offer much in the way of solace, but when approached from the right angle, this is a beautiful thing to behold.
Check it out, miserable, wondrous bleakness awaits you. Great stuff Ripis, thank you for baring your souls for all to see. Shadow Dies in Mourning Light would also have suited quite well.
You can find this one right here.