Rat King, Psychotic Reality (Satanik Royalty Records, 2023)

"You suffer, but why?" these four words can remind you of the blast of sound that is "You Suffer" by Napalm Death.

Also, these words can be asked at times in light of existence in this current historical moment.

This is where my mind goes as I listen to the impressive new record by Rat King entitled Psychotic Reality.

With nine songs at just over 30 minutes, Rat King presents a no-frills look at our collective human existence. After reading their bio, I could say I heard the influences of the bands mentioned like Sepultura or Death. I could even mention how a part reminded me of the band Decapitated, but I'm most impressed by their songs for Psychotic Reality because this doesn't honestly sound like anything I've heard lately. 

As a drummer, this record is a joy ride. The recording of the drums is one of my favorite overall drum sounds I've heard in recent times and I can tell that Carlos Delgado is articulating every hit across his drum kit.

The overall chemistry of the three members in Rat King is on display all over this record. The harsh growls by Danny Racines and the more grind-akin vocals by his brother Ricky offer a counterbalance to one another while not competing sonically. 

If you read my reviews for No Echo regularly, you'll notice I occasionally wax nostalgic when it comes to death metal. Death and black metal were the two sub-genres that first gripped my attention without being led by other people. I'm not sure who designed the cover for Psychotic Reality, but I knew I wanted to hear the record immediately. It reminded me of seeing the iconic covers of various '90s records designed by artists like Dan Seagrave or Kristian "Necrolord" Wåhlin.

Ahead of the release, Rat King premiered their songs “Destroyer of Us All” and "Vermin" for early listening. They both give a great idea of what you can expect from the overall record. Charging guitar riffs, incredibly energetic drumming, and rumbling guttural vocals. It's dizzying in the best way and sure to get people headbanging from beginning to end.

Photo: Donovan Malley

Set for release on limited edition vinyl, cassette, and digitally through Satanik Royalty Records, Psychotic Reality will be available on September 29th. Also on the 29th, Rat King will be playing the first night of the Satanik Royalty Showcase at Belltown Yacht Club in Seattle with deathCAVE, Old Iron, and Dripping Decay. There isn't a better way to release a record than playing some of it live and if you're in the Seattle area, I'd recommend you don't miss this great lineup.

If you aren't able to make it to the Satanik Royalty Showcase, Rat King will also be starting their Western US tour at Belltown Yacht Club on November 3rd; shows are scheduled through November 18th in Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Idaho before ending the tour in Olympia. Make sure to check their social media for tour information.

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