Get Hip to the Latest Fall Fashion with a Rat Jacket from Street Sects
Now I know what I’m wearing to the Halloween Dance . . .
2017 is the first year in which I’ve found myself enjoying at least as many short releases as full lengths. Street Sects keeps the trend going strong with their new four-track 12″, Rat Jacket. The band dropped a bomb on the extreme music scene last year with their debut album, End Position. Pretty much everyone who reviewed the album agreed that it was precisely the right dose of adrenaline to shake the industrial genre out of complacency. Rather than building tracks out of a few core samples and repeating them ad nauseam, Street Sects kept things endlessly fresh by crafting tracks which were in a constant state of flux, and by cramming each one full of too many samples to count. The word deluge comes to mind. A flood of piss and bile and digital sequencer abuse.
I did not expect Street Sects to return so soon. Nor did I expect them to do so in such a drastically revamped form. Rat Jacket is no End Position Part 2. If End Position was the flood, then Rat Jacket is what remained when the waters retreated.
Not that this is uplifting music. Not in the least. It’s just that these songs leave plenty of room to breathe, and thus to reflect. The most immediately striking thing about Rat Jacket is that it puts melody before demolition, melancholy before blackout spasms of rage. Guitar and bass make cameos, casting a palpable post-punk shadow over the sample-beds. Shaun Ringsmuth’s percussion programing remains as punchy and irrational as ever, yet the distance between it and Leo Ashline’s voice is no longer filled to the breaking point with squalls of hiss and clatter; that distance is left more bare, and into that bareness seep the phantom voices of cinematic moods.
Likewise, where Ashline was intent on screaming the walls down in the past, rarely ever sounding in control of his vitriol, here he is content to sing soberly about what a bitch it is to put those walls back up. Fear not: He does lose his shit here and there across Rat Jacket‘s four tracks. But overall his calmer vocals prevail, showcasing a masterful ear for melody and a rare ability to make that melody sound like pain.
The tension embodied in his voice projects outward into the other sounds, patiently building until . . . well, either catharsis or total relapse. If, like me, you find yourself highly caffeinated upon your inaugural trip into Rat Jacket‘s haunted sewers, be prepared to spend most of those nineteen minutes grinding your teeth. If you feel the need to punch a wall once it’s over, just to release that tension, go ahead–just tell your spouse/kids/landlord that I said it was okay.
I’m going to forgo making the obvious and–by this point–redundant comparisons to other artists and just say that Rat Jacket is the perfect little package of industrial rock darkness. It may present a new face of Street Sects, yet it is Street Sects through and through. Once I said that I didn’t think their music was terribly groundbreaking. I was wrong. And even if, as the promo materials suggest, Rat Jacket constitutes more of a tangent for Street Sects than a new beginning, I still can’t wait to hear what they do next.
The Flenser will release Rat Jacket on 12″ vinyl and digital on October 6th, 2017. Follow the links below to do all the stuff.
(Rat King image VIA)