In case it wasn't obvious from my gushing about bands like Forced Entry and Believer, I have a real soft spot for technical thrash that's progressive without being prog. There is perhaps no better example of that style than New Jersey's finest, Ripping Corpse (and their sister band Dim Mak).
Ripping Corpse - "Dreaming With The Dead" (1991)
I am going to skip the demos because (as I recall) the songs are all on this album. I'm sure some "I ONLY LIKE THE DEMO!!" idiot will correct me on that, and of course tell me that the demos are better than the full length. Well, that's what the comments are for.
In any case, this is a masterpiece of offbeat, unique thrash. The thing that really sets Ripping Corpse apart is the way that they always seem to accent the parts you don't expect. So if you were trying to dance to it, you would always end up on the wrong foot. Maybe one of you tards can tell me the musical term for this, it could just be syncopation. For example, the second riff in the song above, "Anti-god," is all herky jerky and fucked up like there are extra beats here and there. "Chugging Pus" is another really good example of those strange accents. Shaune Kelley also has a very unique style of lead that reminds me a lot of James Murphy, only I think this predates anything James Murphy did?
The only weak spot is the cover, which is rather unfortunate. I appreciate the fact that it doesn't have an oil painting of a monster or an evil politician (with toxic waste behind him, naturally), but to me it's just an indicator of Scott Ruth being a big weirdo. I'm imagining him trying to articulate some bizarre, pseudo-metaphysical concept to the poor shmuck who had to paint the cover, who is only halfway listening and already doodling up this image of a vaguely Central American temple with some guy sitting in the middle of the floor. It makes about as much sense as the bloody saw on the cover of "Human Waste" hacking away at a single femur bone (see "Great moments in art history: Suffocation").
8/10 bloody axes
Dim Mak - "Enter The Dragon" (1999)
This will probably be controversial, but I think this Dim Mak record is what Ripping Corpse meant to be. It continues with the weird, meandering leads, off-kilter accents, and barking vocals, but adds much, much more polished drumming courtesy of Mr. Brandon Thomas and generally more interesting, complex songwriting. Sadly I can't find any of their studio songs on YouTube, so you'll have to settle for this live stuff. The quality isn't the best, but you can definitely hear the drums really well which will tell you a lot about why this record is so awesome. You should definitely download it to give it a chance with nice production. The only possible negative is that this band clearly inspired infamous merchants of Jersey shore slamming groove Waking the Cadaver, who pretty much directly ripped off the winding leads of Shaune Kelley.
Most of the lyrics are about Bruce Lee movies and other martial arts-related stuff like courage, "royal ass whippings," and dragons. Um yeah... that's a little too close to anime tentacle-rape snuff porn territory for me, but whatever. I think there's something in the water down there in the Jersey shore area that breeds nerds- just ask Kevin Smith. I went to the Woodbridge Mall once and it was full of weirdos trading Pokemon in the food court so I left in a hurry.
9/10 bloody axes
Dim Mak - "Intercepting Fist" (2002)
This record pretty much picks up where "Enter the Dragon" left off, only it's a little more stripped down and fast. Personally I like the first album better because the riffs are a little meatier, the drumming is a little more nuanced, and the songs groove better, but they're both excellent. There's not much else to say about this other than the absolutely dreadful cover art.
8/10 bloody axes
Dim Mak - "Knives of Ice" (2006)
Every one of these retroviews seems to end the same way: I say that their last album isn't that good, but I forgive them for it because the other ones are so good. Well, this is no exception. The big thing here is that Origin's John Longstreth plays drums on this, and he is one of the most boring drummers on the face of the earth. Obviously he can play fast as shit, but that's not what Dim Mak is about. They are about groove, and that's something Mr. Longstreth has a hard time with.
6/10 bloody axes