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Record of the Week: Rat Cage: Screams from the Cage LP

Rat Cage: Screams from the Cage 12” (La Vida Es Un Mus) After a pair of well-received 7”s (also on La Vida Es Un Mus), Screams from the Cage catapults Rat Cage into 12” land without losing an ounce of power. Screams from the Cage reminds me of Blood Pressure’s two LPs in that Rat Cage fuses the best elements of neo-Scandinavian d-beat and USHC into a bulldozing sound. Further, like Blood Pressure, Rat Cage’s chops are unmatched, but rather than using them to make the music complex, the technical skill makes for a more brutal bludgeoning. The drums are at the front of the mix, the relentless d-beat landing every kick drum hit like a swift yet powerful body shot, and the vocals are of the throat-shredding variety, yet they’re also able to carry just enough melody (and only just!) to keep the songs memorable (see: the sarcastic “la la la” part on “Not Got No Nope”). While there isn’t a dull moment here, the two-part Negative Approach / United Blood homage “Vanity Game” is the highlight for me, trimming Rat Cage’s already lean sound right to the bone. Spikey punks, oi! boys, crusties, black clad anarcho punks… I don’t see why anyone shouldn’t love this one.

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