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Anything but - 82%

Cosmic Mystery, August 20th, 2019

Why would you want to name your band Pathetic if your metal is anything but that? Released independently through digital and physical formats, Rat King sounds like a near veteran effort. Hailing from Canada, this three chambered canon has put their first full length recordings for the multitudes to try digesting if their appetites are up for a plate-full; as this record is one that takes the longer path to marinate the effect into the mind of the listener/s. Neither over-produced, nor under-produced, Rat King is a record being tugged by the old and pristine era of death metal; dispensed prudently by three capable musicians, the music here is an ornate representation of death metal that highlights the grim and disastrous possibilities looming, that are magnified daily and forgotten easily.

Heavily guitar driven songs with graveling vocals and carefully managed tempered drumming; this debut from Pathetic combines these three elements to formulate an attentive though still vitriolic body of sounds. Rat King being a 57 minute long album is packed with memorable tunes that is devoid of any flatness.‘Natural Born Losers’ ‘Going Postal’ ‘Frozen to Death (The Starlit Tours)’ and ‘Empty Threat’, are all well composed songs that make good use of their respective lengths when factoring in the musical abilities of each member. Occurring within the waves of guitar riffing is a distinct focus on actual song structure with the primary aim being channeled towards efficiency and efficacy. Through the engineering of a composite mix, the overall music resembles a work of connectivity rather than appearing detached. Blast beats are adequate, and give worthy fortification to the guitar leads; riffs are sometimes technical and candid but don't present themselves as being filler or disconnected from the album’s primary nature, and the vocals possess a matching vim and are convincing; they seem to have been influenced by those of Dead Congregation’s Anastasis. Drumwise the performance is just as commendable as the supporting aspects mentioned; though not too complicated, it gives passage for the text-book, death metal guitar leads and solos.

The music here deals with many social issues, with some being significantly greater than others. They are easily made clear by the multiple samples preceding several songs through familiar dialogue from movies, such as Escape from Alcatraz among others, and stand out in giving the listener an idea of what topic is being juggled at the time. I like the brutal weight of reality in death metal, especially when it is carried out in an organized manner. I say this because the themes brought to light are not randomly collected and tossed into Rat King just for the sake of; instead, they appear to have a domino effect to them or a relationship of sorts. I won't go into detail about this as It would make this review even longer, cringy and more irritating to read, but if you give a deep analysis of what's being presented, you may see what the narrative of Pathetic is on the record. The instrumentation plays a major role in magnifying the weight of the topics via use of overwhelming guitar leads, mammoth vocals and a rampaging drum performance on a brutally primal snare tone. The measure of this undertaking is immense, and for a debuting full length release Rat King inserts itself amongst the better death metal records released in 2019 thus-far. The only bother I have has to do with the band-name, because the music is well above the average competency. Rat King is a mental pillaging, a serious blow to the psyche and perceptions of humanity.