Hailing from the Twin Cities and including in their ranks both current and former members ofNanashi, Swing Low, While God Sleeps, Mithya, SLNCR and War Prayer are Metallic Hardcore quintet Rot. Hot on the heels of 2019 EP “Nothing’s Changed”, the band once again worked with Southern California based label War Against Records (Pressure Cracks, The End Of Everything) for their second outing and debut full length record “…As One“. After forming in 2018 and citing influences from well established acts like Kublai Khan, ComebackKid and Stick To Your Guns, while looking to write socially aware lyrics that force you to to engage your brain, they are fast becoming a band for the present climate. The album has a burning car and something akin to a riot scene on the cover; it’s an instant grab with thoughts of bands like Rage Against The Machine and what’s more is totally DIY; Produced, Engineered and Mixed by vocalist Arrold Walton and Co-Produced, Co-Engineered and Mastered by bassist and vocalist Jake Watson. The group are rounded out by guitarist duo Tyler Filler and Michael FritzKapps as well as drummer Alex Wells.
As fans of the bands debut EP which cuts across sub-genres, we know what Rot are capable of and from the very start the band more than match our expectations. Single verse track “Overdrive” which plays off of a sample about suicide and what the afterlife could be is a particularly poignant place to begin before “Exhaust” breaks out of the chamber with a rage fueled vocal from Arrold Walter, punk energy and Hardcore vibes. The shriller, roared backing vocals give the cuts a live feel and by the time the bass drive from Jake Watson on “Pressed” hits, the record is a good time that makes you think. The riffs aren’t complex but they are hard hitting with a Metallic edged guitar tone that has an abrasive quality that adds to the staccato attack so each pause and break hits harder. Walter speaks of wanting to feel better but not being able to find anything to help. His eyes are open. Title track “…As One” gallops out of the gate like a greyhound out of the traps, chasing down the rabbit with a high energy physics bounce that creates a platform for Walter and Watson to trade politically charged lyrics. Each song marks a short sharp shock that raises more and more questions, pointing the finger and standing up to be counted. “Ask” follows the trend with a political interview partially buried under some slower, sharper riffs that open up the floor followed by a melodic almost Post-Hardcore moment which is an unexpected pleasure.
There are a few Post-Hardcore moments in the well thought out “Beretta“, clearly influenced by Stick To Your Guns with agile lyrics that tell you that you shouldn’t except the hand you’ve been dealt if you’re not happy with it. Owing more to Hardcore Punk “Technicolor Yawn” sounds like a Deez Nuts track and injects some more fun into the riffs, while calling out a so called friend who was never an ally rather than being a track about vomiting after one too many glasses of wine at a posh swaray. The last thing you would expect on a record like this is the Deftones esq introduction of “Empty Hope“. Walter proves there is more than just his ranting and raving vocal style in his locker with some effeminate cleans that burst into lung busting roars in an imaginative and inspiring piece. Single “Spirit” then sees drummer Alex Wells deliver the finest percussive moment on the album with some almost tribal grooves while the haunting opening sample sets the tone for brutal cut which owes something to 90’s Metallic Hardcore while also having a punishing Downtempo finale. One of the albums stand out tracks, it keeps things flowing nicely and could have make it higher up on the album playing order. The bass heavy, breakneck paced “Daggers” bringing the record to a close but could well be a love set opener. A whirlwind of circle pit starting rhythmic grooves, it will no doubt get festival crowds moving like The Fever 333 [7/10]
“…As One” by Rot is out now via War Against Records and you can get it here.