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Empire of Rats
Empire of Rats
I feel like I grew up in the golden age of heavy hardcore. Hatebreed’s Satisfaction is the Death of Desire came out when I was 14 years old, I got to open for bands like Most Precious Blood, and I’ve been able to see bands like Sick of It All and Madball more times than I can count. All of that is to say that although I have an affinity for melodic hardcore, and I love anything with a punk-influence, when it comes down to it I want my hardcore heavy, distorted, and as angry as possible. I want chunky breakdowns and songs about alienation and violence. In short, I want bands like Empire of Rats.
This group of Ohio natives have cut their teeth in bands like Palehorse, Under One Flag, and the ever-infamous Pitboss 2000, so it’s no surprise that they are able to deliver such a well-crafted debut LP. Each song is brutal in its own right, from “Society’s Zero” tale of disillusionment to the high-pitched lead intro and crushing riffs of “Sinking” there doesn’t seem to be a moment of rest on this entire record.
As a disclaimer, I must say that I did go into listening to this record with pretty high expectations. Fortunately, all of my expectations were met and exceeded. I thought their No Peace EP was some of the best metallic hardcore I had heard in years, so I figured that their LP would just be more of the same I-wanna-hit-someone-in-the-face music. And while the similarities are there, only certain tracks like “We’re Dead” and “Exposed” sound like direct descendants from the band’s earlier work. Most of the tracks, including “Leeches”, “Bottomless Pit” and “Rats Reign” sound more beefed up and sludgier than what their previous record had offered.
Alright, let’s cut the ball washing and state it simply: Empire of Rats has put out a monster of a record. It’s one of the most aggressive, hard-hitting, and fun to listen to albums that I’ve heard this year. This will no doubt feature prominently on any top 10 list for 2013 that is worth its salt. In addition, proper thanks should go to A389 for putting out yet another impressive and important record.
Buy it here.