Rat King


Listening to PATHETIC, I can't help but shake the image of a medical student failing […]
By Jack Harding
July 31, 2019
Pathetic - Rat King album cover

Listening to PATHETIC, I can't help but shake the image of a medical student failing to find a patient's pulse. They're searching with good intentions, exactly where they should be, but still struggle to nail down what it is they are looking for. Unlike vast swarms of modern Death Metal acts however, it is clear that PATHETIC will only improve with practice, as they finesse their truly unique style from its current fetal state. This uniqueness PATHETIC have forged is, in theory, spectacular. A mixture of Doom Metal with vitriolic Death Metal. However, this marvelous creation is never fully realized within this album. Instead, we are presented two separate and rather disparate bands, masquerading as one single entity; The great, if exhausting, Death Metal band and the underdeveloped Doom Metal band.

Opening track "Natural Born Losers" is a perfect example of this latter charade the band plays. Opening with an initially fantastic Doom Metal laden riff that slowly, but steady surges and pulses with life. This riff however is then stretched out for another 3 minutes and 40 seconds. What initially excites is slowly left to gestate and rot, becoming monotonous, as the genuinely great riff loses all of its good will. This song is not the only case of a great, singular Doom Metal idea being stretched out until boredom. The intro for "Going Postal," the entirety of "Frozen To Death (The Starlight Tours)" and the beginning of "Defacating Upon The Grave Of The Grand Wizard" all also fall victim to this. However, the initial riff ideas here are all great. The only thing that truly needs to change here is an increase in variance. Yes, Doom songs do tend to be slower and longer, but they develop, whereas these riffs do not. Picture "War Pigs" by BLACK SABBATH or even "Mirror Reaper" by BELL WITCH, these songs aren't the same riff played repeatedly for their entire run-time. They are developing and progressing pieces that constant add variance.

Whilst the Doom greatness is only ever hinted at by PATHETIC, they certainly feel more comfortable with their purely Death Metal efforts. Tracks like "Empty Threat," "Shetani," and "Hamatsa" all seep with vitriolic rage, creating an intensity of Death Metal I've not witness in quite some time. Whilst occasional slip ups do occur, such as the Thrash inspired "Slob," PATHETIC have no issue in creating great, but pretty standard Death Metal. My only real concerns with this facet of the band is that possibly things are too intense for too long. The shortest song on this record is 4 and a half minutes long, which is very long for music this full on. The constant aggressive onslaught slowly becomes the new norm, draining it of excitement, and after a while the listener is just left craving change. When the extreme becomes the new normal, it fails to excite like it once did.

PATHETIC haven't created a perfect album here, but they have sewn the seeds for greatness to bloom at a later stage. The very implication of Doom-tinged Death Metal excites, and the obvious talent on display here proves that these guys are ones to watch. With a bit of spit and polish PATHETIC could really go places with this unique sound they have teased. I for one cannot wait for what comes next, after some much needed refinement.


7 / 10









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"Rat King" Track-listing:

1. Natural Born Losers
2. Hamatsa
3. The Fatal Charade
4. Going Postal
5. Rat King
6. Shetani
7. Frozen To Death (The Starlight Tours)
8. Slob
9. Defecating Upon The Grave Of The Grand Wizard
10. Empty Threat

Pathetic Lineup:

None listed

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