Rat King “The Plague of Hamelin” (2008)

This review marks two extra special occasions; The first time (I believe) that an Indian band have been featured on our humble site, and also the unveiling of the fantastic “Rat King” to our avid readers. And what special occasion would be complete without a nice big cake. Rat King bring that cake and much more to the table in their debut full-length.

This certain dessert contains many ingredients rarely seen together. The “sponge” if you will is a cohesive experimental industrial ambient sound, complete with a Metal icing and sprinklings of Jazz, Classical and Indian Folk. This may sound like a bit of a mish-mash of styles, but Rat King manage to blend them cohesively and keep a core sound throughout.

One of the main features of this release is the concept. The album is based upon a “morbidly distorted version of the Grimm Brothers’ classic tale, “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”” as it is written in their website biography. Being fully instrumental, Rat King have left a lot to interpretation here, but I couldn’t agree more with their idea that they have written a soundtrack to a non-existent movie; the music conjures uses very vivid soundscapes to paint pictures of the album’s story (whatever you take that to be) without need for visual aid, showing that Rat King have mastered effective and subtle use of sampling, electronics and ambience to create a very full, intelligent journey.

The instruments in this album and how they are played are not particularly important factors in this release, more the effect that is created with their use and how they add to the overall themes and ideas in the album. As a result, this is really a work (like most all intelligent musical releases) that needs to be appreciated as a whole rather than a collection of tracks, and when you do hear it in this form, you can really understand the work and effort gone into exposing the listener to varying ideas and emotions with a minimal (read solely aural) timbre. It is for these reasons that I sincerely recommend this release to anyone who wishes to explore further the use of music for an almost visual experience, and as an art form.

-Simon Brand


Release:  2008
Label:  Roadcrew Records
Avantgenre:  Experimental Industrial Ambient
Duration:  49:48
Origin:  India
Official site:  http://www.gimmesound.com/ratking/index.cfm
Review online since:  14.10.2009 / 01:28:20


01 – The Plague Of Hamelin
02 – Into The Lair Of Vermin
03 – Metamorphosis I
04 – Metamorphosis II
05 – In Blood And Feculence We Unite
06 – Lord Piper
07 – 20061284
08 – …And Then There Were None
09 – Hamelin Harvested

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