Rats & Ravens

Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Fastball Music, 2020)

Karakter: 2/6

FROM HELL Rats and Ravens album cover.jpgThe rather cool album title “Rats & Ravens” may give you a subtle clue as to what all of this is about, namely a horror-themed (thrash) metal opus with a storyline and concept to it conjured up by the US quartet named FROM HELL. Musically and stylistically speaking, one could argue that there are certain nods and parallels to rather diverse and unique acts such as King Diamond, Exodus, and Slayer present on the disc but without sounding like either one of them. The idea of combining old-school heavy metal, death metal, a small dose of 80s black metal, and frantic thrash metal is not a bad one and there is no denying the quality of the musicianship here, but the songs themselves lack staying power and are neither memorable nor bone-chilling.

Sure, there is a dark vibe to the record and parts of it are groovy while others are doom-like and atmospheric, but in the overall perspective, “Rats & Ravens” is a frustrating listen in that nothing truly sticks in one’s memory even after spinning the disc a dozen times. The lyrical narrative is not particularly captivating either due to it being too cliched and predictable, and the vocals are lackluster as opposed to convincing. With respect to its sound and production, the output has a raw edge to it that is pretty wicked, but sadly, it lacks power and bombast and feels too murky somehow. I cannot help but feel disappointed in this offering and to these ears, it is neither epic nor sinister. The best and most rewarding cut is the 8-minute long “Body Rats”, which contains a solid number of catchy riffs, some interesting shifts and unpredictable turns, and a simple yet effective chorus that kicks ass. I just wish that the rest of the tunes were similar to that one.


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