One of the underground’s best-kept secrets, BLACKRAT have been skilfully skirting the often-fine lines among metalpunk, thrash, crust, and traditional speed metal. Formed in 2012, this Canadian power-trio to date have delivered two cult full-lengths, 2013’s rough ‘n’ rowdy ‘Whiskey and Blasphemy’ and 2016’s far-more-epic ‘Hail to Hades’, laying on the line exactly what BLACKRAT’s all about. Big fans for years, SHADOW KINGDOM had no other choice but to scoop up the band, and now they’ve arrived with their ultimate statement: ‘Dread Reverence’.
It always excites me when I’m about to review a band I’ve not heard before. I always feel that finding a new band is like opening another chapter in your life. Something new to explore that wasn’t there before. That’s exactly what I get with this latest offering from Blackrat.
From the moment ‘Into The Ebony’ greets us it’s clear where these guys get their influences from. Straight away I can hear Slayer mixed with Napalm Death & Extreme Noise Terror. Lovely speeds changes in a great opener that does not relent from start to finish. ‘Lust To Burn’ takes us more towards a Motorhead style riff and beat which always goes down well. ‘Thrall To The Gallows’ is where this album really starts getting more intense and dark. There’s a lovely clever switch in this where the song suddenly changes into a punk rhythm which works really well. So far so good!
‘Coffin Rock’ for me is so far the highlight of the album. This is proper hard rock with some serious speed changes that give you no prior warning. Diversity now springs to mind and these guys have plenty. ‘Fang Of Malice’ takes the album even higher in terms of class with it’s Manowar-style juggernaut riff that keeps us entertained until it finally relents and gives way to an angry galloping verse. I’m thoroughly enjoying this album.
As we progress through ‘Headless Countess’, ‘The Sign’ (which opens with a superb Black Sabbath style doom riff) , and finally ‘Haunter Of The Threshold'( a perfect album finisher), it’s clear to me that Blackrat need to be heard on a larger scale.
For me, a new chapter has opened. Let them take you too.
- Into The Ebony
- Lust To Burn
- Thrall To The Gallows
- Coffin Rock
- Fang Of Malice
- Headless Countess
- The Sign
- Haunter Of The Threshold
R – Drums
S – Bass/vox
L – Guitar/vox