Rat King is the sophomore effort from Swedish death metal act As You Drown, and it's a pretty solid one for this Metal Blade roster band who are looking to make a name for themselves on the extreme metal scene. Part deathcore as well as technical death, Rat King carries some solid production values and musicianship, though time till tell if there's enough here to carry this over the hordes of other bands doing roughly the same thing. "Conqueror" starts things off with a bang, featuring crushing riff-o-rama and thunderous blast beats, though thankfully there is a bit of melody and groove so it's not a relentless pounding. By the time you get to the second track "Slaves to the Kingdom of Fear", the weak point of Rat King becomes instantly apparent, and that happens to be the vocals. One dimensional and grating, the non-stop assault of pig grunts just hinders these otherwise solid deathcore tracks. It's a real shame, as "Cleansing Hands", "Bleeding Structure", and "Your Loyal Betrayer" all contain some punishing arrangements filled with evil intent, and some variety on the vocals would have certainly elevated them even more. As it it, the monotonous grunts take away rather than add, which is disappointing.
As You Drown show a lot of promise here on Rat King, and vocals aside this is one formidable unit. However, I like a little more variety in my extreme vocals and these just don't cut it I'm afraid.
02. Slaves To The Kingdom Of Fear
03. You Should Be Paranoid
04. Rabid Wolves In Sheep's Clothing
05. Your Loyal Betrayer
06. The Coming
07. The Nothing
08. Bleeding Structure
09. Cleansing Hands