The Scandinavian countries have been seriously dominating death metal as well as black metal since the '90s, but many of the early death metal bands were from the United States--and one of them was Ripping Corpse. The New Jersey-based outfit was never a huge name in the metal world, but they enjoyed a small cult following in the late '80s and early to mid-'90s. Like so many of the early death metal bands, Ripping Corpse was obsessed with horror themes and loved playing at ultra-fast tempos; they were greatly influenced by Slayer and Death, and their thrashy, brutal approach sound owed a lot to the reckless abandon of punk and early hardcore. Thrash metal/speed metal was also a strong influence, which stands to reason because death metal came out of thrash. Ripping Corpse was formed in Red Bank, NJ in 1987, when lead singer Scott Ruth (formerly of a New Jersey-based thrash metal band called The Beast) got together with former Black Dragon bassist Dave Bizzigotti (who was replaced by Scott Hornick in 1992), guitarist Erik Rutan and drummer Brandon Thomas. Ripping Corpse's first demo, Death Warmed Over, was recorded in 1987, followed by another demo, Splattered Remains, in 1989. A third demo was recorded in 1990, and Ripping Corpse's first official full-length album, Dreaming with the Dead, was released by Maze Records in 1991; that album was followed by another demo in 1992. Ripping Corpse's first full-length album turned out to be their last; although they started working on a second album, they never finished it. After Rutan left Ripping Corpse to join Morbid Angel (his replacement was Shaune Kelley), Ripping Corpse laid down the instrumental tracks for a second album; however, the tracks were never mixed, and no vocals were ever recorded. Ripping Corpse broke up in 1995, but all of the band's former members maintained their involvement with metal. Ruth, Kelley, Thomas and Hornick all went on to become members of Dim Mak--a metal band that, like the Wu-Tang Clan in hip-hop, has had a passion for Asian martial arts themes--and Bizzigotti played with a band called Cursed. Kelley and Rutan (who left Morbid Angel) both became a part of Hate Eternal, and Rutan surprised headbangers when, in 1996, he founded a melodic, nuanced band called Alas; featuring female singer Martina Astner, Alas favored progressive metal and didn't sound anything at all like Ripping Corpse, Hate Eternal or Morbid Angel. In 2005--after Thomas had left Dim Mak--the drummer joined the band Burnt by the Sun.
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