Now, over the past year or so, Portland, OR-based doom metal quartet, R.I.P has added themselves to a lengthy and eclectic list of mainstay artists I’ve written about throughout the history of this site. And as you may recall, the quartet’s highly-anticipated sophomore effort is slated for an October 13, 2017 release through RidingEasy Records, and the album is reportedly inspired by Rick Rubin’s legendary and influential 80’s productions — think Beastie Boys, Run DMC and LL Cool J among others — and Murder Dog Magazine, and as a result, the members of the band have crafted material with a streamlined and punishingly, raw ferocity, specifically meant to evoke the days when metal and hip-hop were reviled by the mainstream as the work of thugs intent on destroying the very fabric of America and its youth. Unlike their debut, Street Reaper reveals a subtly expanded songwriting approach, rooted in their belief that doom metal shouldn’t be pigeonholed into a particular tuning or time signature but rather, a particular mood that inspires doom — in this case, terror, uncertainty, chaos, war, etc.
Unsurprisingly, the material on Street Reaper is influenced not by doom metal’s typical sci-fi, fantasy or mysticism but within an inescapable, horrible and fearful present, full of what seems to be the impending collapse of democracy as we know it in the US, of economic failure, dwindling resources, increasing inequity and inequality, nuclear war, civil war, and a primal fight for survival. Album single “The Other Side” may arguably be the Portland-based band’s most blistering and impassioned playing — and while it may be a desperate howl into a growing void, there’s a feral urgency within the material that sets them apart from their contemporaries. The album’s follow-up single, “Unmarked Grave,” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as it features blistering, impassioned, face-melting power chords, a motorik groove, forceful drumming, an arena friendly hook and howled vocals, and while being equally urgent, the material manages to sound as though it were indebted to Badmotorfinger-era Soundgarden, Queens of the Stone Age and Ozzy Osbourne, complete with a sweaty, whiskey and hallucinogen-fueled frenzy.
“The Casket,” Street Reaper’s latest single (and album opening track) is a blistering bit of thrash metal, reminiscent of Ride the Lightning and Kill ‘Em All-era Metallica and Iron Maiden, thanks in part to layers upon layers of chugging power chords, forceful drumming and howled vocals and it may be among the most explosive songs they’ve released to date, but pay close attention to the expansive and ambitious song structure that features shifting time signature changes and chord progressions, as well as some incredibly dexterous guitar work. Simply put, it’s pretty fucking epic!