Before starting the review I must add that I am a novice when it comes to listening to Avantgarde Metal. With so many nuts and bolts spinning around Death and Black Metal, I never bothered to check this relatively untouched genre till I came across RAT KING. When I first heard ''Plague Of Hamelin'', I was visibly taken aback by the mixing of varied styles ranging from Industrial to classical and even Jazz to Folk in the album. But the amalgamation of these varied choice created a perfect blend of ambience in the album, which left a dying urge in me to check their next album ''Larva''.
If ''Plague Of Hamelin'' was about a distorted version of the famous story Pied Piper of Hamelin, then Larvae is about ''a man's unremitting dream and his crawling descent to his physical disintegration, through a series of horrifying phantasmagorias''. Sounds a bit too farfetched at first, but then it sure does leave a horrifying imprint in your mind when the opening track “Egg”'s sonic burst of dark ambience ridden sounds interspersed with drumming fills your ears. And that’s how the album proceeds over the next thirty five minutes. ''Larva'' is a very conceptual album as it lacks a vocal support just like their previous album, and yet they manage create a vocal impression with their dexterity in instrumentation, which clearly shows how clever the band is.
Drumming plays a very important role in the album, as the maniacal blast beats heard in ''Larva'' perfectly sums up the frantic horror going through the man's mind. The guitar work too is cleverly done level too as heard in tracks like ''Hour Of Wolf,'' where the guitarist cleverly changes gear from soft acoustic to a more Industrial Black Metal side and in the 'Wake' where there's a canny interaction between acoustics and electric guitars. All through these, the orchestral elements play an equally effective role in maintaining the perfect dark ambience through out the album just as though you're experiencing your worst nightmare.
In short, with ''Larva'', RAT KING have come out more matured than before with greater expertise in instrumentation and an even greater knack in song writing that manages to conjure the perfect horror-imagery in mind which perfectly conforms to the album's storyline. And the fact that they have done this without lyrical support once again and yet adding to a good listening experience deserves a commendable applause from the listener. So if you still think that only Black Metal and its sub-genres induce horror-filled atmosphere with their sounds, then listen to RAT KING and live through your nightmares.
Guest review by Shoubhik Roy
(Online October 15, 2010)