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As You Drown - 'Rat King' (metalblade) 4/5

As You Drown come from Southern Sweden and play 'extreme death metal'. They have been around for some 8 years and this is their second full length album.

OK, I will question the term 'extreme' here, as there are a lot more bands out there far more extreme than As You Drown, but as for the death metal part, then we do have a good album on our hands here. Now 'Rat King' is allegedly a concept work built around the old European folk law traditions of the King Rat concept, a deep seated myth that has inspired everything from pantomime villains ('Look out Dick Wittington, he's behind you...'), to James Herbert's classic horror novel cycle and even Chas and Dave numbers. What this album has to offer on the lyrical front to this mythos I cannot say.. I'm normally pretty good at picking the lyrics out of death grunts, but this album has beaten me, so I'll just take the bands word about the concept and concentrate on the music itself.

Musically this album ticks all the right boxes for its genre. There's lots of nice interesting thrashy riffs, and the aforementioned vocals my be unintelligible, but they add to the feeling of power an brutality of the over all sound in fine style. All the songs on offer here are pretty good, from the opening cut, Conqueror with is steam-hammer assault and sublime epic breakdown, via aggressively brooding You Should Be Paranoid and ear raping fury of Rabid Wolves In Sheep's Clothing; to the sonic napalm of The Nothing and beyond - there is enough good stuff on offer here to keep yer average death thrash aficionado more than happy. But the albums real killer cut is the closer Cleansing Hands, with its epic build up from almost nothing to a grinding metal climax and then on to a chilling bass synth conclusion.

So over all, this is a pretty good record and one I would recommend to all fans of death thrash everywhere.

For fans of.... Vader, Cannibal Corpse, Job For A Cowboy etc...