Song of the Day

Rat Cage, “Charge Them with Murder,” from Screams from the Cage (La Vida Es Un Mus Discos, 2020)

Thanks to our fearless leader Carlos for tipping me off about this one. When speaking on the latest wax from La Vida Es Un Mus Discos, his apt description of their current offerings was simply “gold up in dem hills.” I’ve long regaled you with tales of their quiet stranglehold on hardcore punk, their ceaseless churning out of top shelf goods comprises a dizzyingly superb run. Enter Rat Cage, the brainchild of musician Bryan J Suddaby. 

Rat Cage's latest release, Screams from the Cage, dropped last week on the aforementioned London label. Just south of 20 minutes, it’s a malicious mélange of Mob 47-styled mangel, blazing UK82, and straight ahead hardcore punk fury. The album in its entirety is crucial but, for our purposes, get hip via “Charge Them with Murder.” Fittingly, it’s the year of the rat. Here’s why.

This latter gem on the long player condenses what these wildlings do into a concise blast.

Suddaby is clearly informed by the curled lip aesthetic and presentation of No Future/UK82, also dishes out his take on Swedish hardcore a la Asta Kask, Avskum, and Totalitär. The label themselves name checked the snotty, sneering, and superlative Missbrukarna, which checks out after some audial anthropology.

Suddaby has more than likely digested the Skitlickers/Shitlickers discog, as well. Riding in on a ratatat snare run, the song quickly devolves into a glorious hellscape of raw-throated vocals and D-beat pacing. He finds time to squeeze in a squealing, discordant solo (all solos on the record are played by George Wright and James Fidler) that’d make Inepsy proud. Hardcore has a way of traveling, and they’re seemingly familiar with USHC, most notably the uniquely nihilistic variation typified by '80s Midwestern hardcore punk. 

Via Rat Cage, Suddaby doesn't so much as mine the past as he does add the influence to his contemporary take on hardcore punk. Alongside heavy hitters Larma, Loose Nukes, Muro, and Fried Egg; this Steel City weirdos demands your attention. Whether to bolster your bilious hatred of the Tories or soundtrack the apocalypse, the Rat Cage LP beckons chaos like few others. To quote the mighty Wipers, this is the return of the rat. We’re all the better for it. 

Screams from the Cage is available now on vinyl at the La Vida Es Un Mus Discogs store, and digitally on Bandcamp.

Tagged: rat cage

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