As You Drown
The Rat King

As You Drown‘s first album, Reflection was one of my top 25 albums of 2009, so I was pretty psyched to hear these Swede’s follow up. I’ve sort of mentally linked As You Drown to Australia’s The Red Shore,who released their 2nd album ( I know its their third but here in the US, albums 1 and 2 were releases together on one CD) The Avarice of Man last year. Both play a burly form of technical modern death metal with a bit of a thin relation to deathcore.  And both band’s debut albums blew me away.

However, where The Red Shore seemed to somehow improve on their debut and blow my balls right off my taint, for some reason I’m left a little underwhelmed by The Rat King.

I cant quite put my finger on why The Rat King isn’t impressing me as much as I’d hoped. I mean its essentially the same, brutal, beefy burly sound that blasts and bludgeons with down-tuned might only letting up for a few mammoth grooves. And even with  the style that essentially bruises and batters for most of its duration, which I typically don’t mind ( see The Red Shore, Those Who Lie Beneath), I simply cant get excited about The Rat King.

While the band still essentially mixes European death metal (Behemoth, Decapitated, Aborted and Behemoth are tangible influences) and American death metal (namely Suffocation and Morbid Angel), they seem just remain on the outside fringe of excellent song writers. The brutality and musicianship is there in spades and for many a moment on The Rat King, your chest might tighten at the hefty music on display (“You Should Be Paranoid”, “Bleeding Structure”) but for the most part, there’s no real reason to return to the album’s 38 minute run time. If the likes of  opener “Conqueror”, “Slaves to the Kingdom of Fear”  or closer “Bleeding Hands” or show up on random on my Ipod, I’ll give it a listen and give my head a quick nod during the song, but I’m hardly likely to replay the song or seek out a song.

And its not because I’m burnt out on death metal or deathcore, as I’m still rocking many CDs from both both genres, and its possible that Reflection caught me at a good time,  but to these ears The Rat King is just a step back from Reflection. Not a huge one or even a bad album, it’s just lacking that certain ‘it’ to make it something more than just a ear bashing.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 21st, 2011

Comments

  1. Commented by: Allred

    Nice review, I haven’t heard this album but the review conveys the same feeling I got from their debut. Not a bad band by any means, but they just don’t seem to do anything for me.


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