Enter the Dragon
Released: 1999, Dies Irae
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Fans of Ripping Corpse pay heed! Three former members of the band have re-surfaced in Dim Mak! Mad-vocalist Scott Ruth, hyper-drummer Brandon Thomas, and self-destructive guitarist Shaune Kelley have arisen from the tomb and, along with new bassist Dennis Carroll, continue the legacy of brutality!! That's right…CONTINUE, meaning "Enter the Dragon" is angry, fierce, and heavier than your Grandma's meat loaf! Thus, this new album will appeal to fans of Ripping Corpse's "Dreaming with the Dead". But "Enter the Dragon" is quite different, however. Scott's vocals, still intense as ever, aren't as death-like as those found on "Dreaming…". In fact, they sound a bit too hardcore-ish. But the attitude is still there, and coupled with their musical brutality, Dim Mak crush anything that any hardcore band could ever even think about being! Shaune's guitar work is downright awesome! Each song is chock full of tempo changes and energetic, complex riffs. Not too many leads are present on the album, which is surprising (RC fans will remember the abundance of leads on "Dreaming…"). Shaune is a brilliant soloist, and although leads are lacking, the music's interesting enough to keep you on your toes. But probably the biggest step taken forward was by Brandon. His skills behind the drum kit have increased ten-fold, incorporating all-out metal rhythms with hardcore beats, jazz progressions, and a number of blast beats. His performance is truly amazing. Just listen to the snare attacks on the opening track "Spirit of the Dragon" and the cymbal work on "Warchild" and "Level the Plane", the latter of which also includes some classic Ripping Corpse-type riffs from Shaune. Dim Mak waste no time on "Cobra's Eyes", opening with a blast beat and some devastating melodies. This song never lets up, and Brandon throws in some amazing fills and tom-rolls. "Between Two Fires", one of the best tracks, contains some really wacky guitar work, another one of Shaune's unique traits! Another highlight, "No Rope a Dope", begins with a nice, apocalyptic, trudging riff alongside a killer lead, but quickly picks up the pace before whipping into a furious blast beat. But the most creative use of the blast beat occurs in "Gas Poured on Flame", where it's broken down into small spurts.
"Enter the Dragon" is a must for Ripping Corpse fans and any metaller that wants something fresh and brutal that contains top-quality musicianship. The album's out on Singapore based Dies Irae Productions, but Dim Mak does not have US distribution yet. If you want more information, write Scott Ruth at: Scott Ruth, 94D Throckmorton Avenue, Red Bank, NJ 07701, USA. Bow to your masters, Dim Mak have arrived!