As You Drown Rat King

As You Drown Rat King
For album number two, Sweden's As You Drown opted for something of a concept record. The concept? The German medieval folk tradition of rat kings, or rats that carried the plague across Europe. This might not be the first thing you think of when you think of Swedish extreme death metal, but Rat King packs a stunning amount of pestilence into nine tracks. As You Drown deliver the goods with their sophomore effort, continuing the pummelling sonic violence they introduced with their 2009 debut, Reflection. Rat King is just as intense, but feels more straightforward. With less to prove this time around, the band focus less on showing off their talent as musical virtuosos and more on creating riffs that could decimate a continent. Thematically, the album moves from the first appearance of the coming devastation with "Conqueror" to the harbingers of "Rabid Wolves in Sheep's Clothing" to the cleansing ritual of the "Bleeding Structure." Sonically, Rat King doesn't rest for a second, finding the right balance between traditional death metal, such as Cannibal Corpse, and some of the more shattering, extreme and youthful sounds that bands like Bring Me the Horizon do very well. (Metal Blade)