Our main man the mighty Ricardo covered the first release from Ukraine based Death Metal bastards Rattenfänger. “Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum” (Letters of Obscure Men translated I am led to believe) was an absolute belter of an album, so when news of a follow up reached our ears we were well excited! For those who are too lazy to look up the old review, in a nutshell these guys are all out of Drudkh, and a slew of other bands, and apparently one day they just said fuck it let’s do some Death Metal, and for this I applaud them all.
This one has medieval written all over it’s dark and disturbing face, most of the titles are in Latin, apart from what I can see also one in French, and one in German, apparently these lads are quite the linguists. Regardless, combined with the general overall feel of the album, this one is like having the Spanish Inquistion arrive on your doorstep and torture the living bejesus out of you and yours. Opener “De Laude Flagellorum” just sounds like human misery, the grinding of the wheel, the lash of the whip, and utter despair. Welcome to this album, It doesn’t get any cheerier.
Onto “Materia Prime” (Prime Material), and the smothering darkness begins to envelop you. Guttural vocals, massive walls of riffs, thunderous drumming, and a bass that sits just in ear range underneath like a fucking monsterous thing await. This is just horrific, and yet we as Death Metal heads will eat it up bare fingers and all. “Pestarzt” (German for Plague Doctor) continues this theme, of course I’m gonna say reminiscent of Bolt Thrower, early Asphyx and so on, but this whole album has a really menacing edge to it, somehow made even more powerful by that aura of misery that I mentioned earlier. Magnificent yet disturbing if I may. Even the awesome D-beat stuff thrown in doesn’t shake the feel of being drowned in a mire like a bastard kitten..
“Les Bons Hommes” (French – Good Men,) is another fucking nightmare once it get’s up and running, just full on wall to bloody wall madness, the added keyboard effects just make it so much more creepy, you have to hear this to believe it. Of course the associated members’ backgrounds in other styles of music has only led them to just be as evil as a pack of vampire bat’s during the bleeding season, so what else did we expect? “Sella Stercoraria” pretty much translates as ‘Dung Chair’, and a fair call too, this one contains a more Doomy element, and these riffs may well make you shit yourself. I imagine it to be someone being questioned and tortured to confess, and of course one may do that under extreme duress..
“De Blasphemia In Latina Vulgaris” begins with what I imagine to be the sharpening of some wicked blade, and you are about to die for your supposed sins, one of which is insulting the Holy language of the day. Maybe you spoke a different dialect, these monsters care not, and this one is the closest to my previous Bolt Thrower reference than any, as you will see. Pure fucking crushing Death Metal at it’s finest, and at around 2:41 on the track (or maybe even precisley) they make sure that you can fucking very well hear the bass, and then lay waste to your mortal form with a barrage of riffs and nastiness that is just sublime. The song rolls on and it’s sheer magnificence after that, all you can do is listen, perhaps weep a little that you have been so honoured to hear it, I dunno, words fail me but you will find out!
Closer “Funis Coronat Opus” makes this one end perfectly. Again massive, again vicious, you get the summary of the whole album in one tune. THIS is as solid as fuck, and is going to be right up there come end of year. Yeah, I am often accused of being overly enthusiastic about the bands I review, but hear this. I only review the one’s that I think are well fucking worthy (or Ricardo suggest’s, he knows me well ha-ha.) Interesting point, Rattenfänger was the name given to the famous Pied Piper of Hamelin, the one that led all the rat’s away during a period of plague. Check him out, legend or not, he has inspired a bunch of legends in this band to be even more legendary. (The Great Mackintosh)