“Rat from Hell” is Rat Bath’s first LP, an all queer, all trans band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who’s not afraid to fuse all their different influences creating this unique significant sound and energy you’ll hear on “Rat from Hell”. It’s a concept album that they describe as follows
“Tells the story of a witch whose powers are rendered useless when a demon appears in their home having been paid to capture them. Throughout the album the main character fights, is captured by, nearly falls in love with, escapes from, and ultimately defeats the demon by resolving past trauma caused by a previous abuser who had paid the demon. The demon, described to have Xs for eyes and a scribbled-on smile, is the personification of trauma and all the different ways it can manifest in one’s life.”
“Rat from Hell” was written by Fred Kenyon and Cora Bequeaith and performed by them alongside Róisín Shields, Emmett Roehr, Phoenix Lehner (featured bass and vocals) with featured guest vocalist Johanna Rose. It was recorded in Bummer City, produced by Dan Bee at Bee Sound and the album art was done by Kiara Xolo and now, we’re gonna dive into it.
The story begins a groovy rocking old school start with “The Tale of Dead Ol’ Fred”, it prepares you to what you’re about to experience through the record with clean and harsh vocals, melodic guitar melodies and riffs, transitions from clean to harsh fuzzy fast riffs and some of the record’s best solos. “Bone Eater” picks on the fast pace with a punk intro riff with some old school heavy metal galloping and a fluid vocal melody, it has good dynamics and progression. “Coke Dealer” one of the songs on the record that has what I call a “Rollercoaster Riff” that gives it intensity and lots of energy plus that crazy theatrical vocal line I can see the fans moshing like crazy to it. “At Least You’re Lonely” has an overall smooth and chilling mood with its clean approach and sweet vocal and guitar melodies but, Rat Bath refuse to play by the rules and give it an interesting heavy twist at the end to maintain the intensity of their story. Another rollercoaster riff hits you after a bass intro in “Spit//Swallow”, it’s intense, fast and angry with sincere vocals from the heart. “Eat Me Alive” acts like a break around the middle of all the intensity although it kinda fast but not as intense as its predecessors. “Ragdoll” and “Meat Poppet” are the most theatrical ones with their catchy phrases, mood changes and different melodies and structure and of course the vocals, all makes them feel like a raw rebellious rock opera. “Sweer Puppet” which features vocalist Johanna Rose has some beautiful emotional guitar melodies that shows Rat Bath’s abilities to do both heavy and what we can call a ballad, it builds up and progress smoothly from a slow acoustic intro into a powerful tune by the end. “Slowdown Malacha, Malacha Slowdown” ends the record on a high note to make their point clear with fast heavy fuzzy riffs.
“Rat from Hell” is a really interesting record that’ll take you in an intense compacted 24 mins trip full of dynamics, theatricals, storytelling and mood changes. It shows that Rat Bath are not afraid to do things their way with their very own identity and signature from music writing till production and recording that sounds alive and transitions a lot of energy to the listener.