Rat King - _The Plague of Hamelin / Larva_
(Road Crew Records, 2009)
by: Quentin Kalis (7 out of 10)
Debut _The Plague of Hamelin_ was re-mastered and re-released in 2009, even though the original release date was in 2008! I'm not sure that was really necessary. It is conceptually based around the famous tale of the Pied Piper, albeit a "morbidly distorted" version, presumably meaning they have done to the fairy tale what Tim Burton did to Alice in Wonderland. Both are similar in style and scope, falling somewhere between Ministry-style industrial metal and the unrestrained chaos at the noise end of industrial. It's doubtful whether this is metal; most songs have distinctly metallic riffs, but also a shitload of samples and other stuff. (Tellingly, no guitarist is listed and a comprehensive list of software used is provided.) It's tempting to dismiss this as sampled nonsense done by geeks in front of a PC instead of behind a guitar, but the songs each use a limited number of effects and do possess an easily discernible structure (not orthodox verse-chorus-verse, stupid!) and the "kitchen sink" feel only emerges from listening to the albums as a whole. It's a lot better than a playing a few staccato riffs over cheesy EBM drum loops and spending more time on make-up than on composing decent songs. Some of the quieter ambient sections tend to sound a bit generic (it's not like there is shortage), but most of the more aggressive sections manage to hit the spot, and I found myself listening to this more often than I thought I would when I first heard it.

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/raatkeeng

(article published 18/4/2010)

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