Rat Cage

Reviews

Nervous SS / Rat Cage Skopje vs Sheffield split LP

A battle between two hardcore bands that are a match made in hell. In the left corner is NERVOUS SS from Macedonia, a vicious TOTALITÄR-esque hardcore killing machine keeping the Scandinavian sound alive. In the right corner is RAT CAGE from the UK, same core as the above but with a more USHC influence from bands like POISON IDEA. Sometimes punk splits seem like a dumping ground for unreleased material. Not in this case—you get the sense that you are listening to a full album. So, who has won in this battle of Skopje vs Sheffield? The fucking punk scene!

Rat Cage Screams from the Cage LP

This band has two great 7″s, and this LP does not disappoint at all. It features none of the impurities that mar many hardcore bands these days such as weird artsy stuff, metal, grind or garage influences. It is pure straight unadulterated uncut hardcore in the Pick Your King/Is This My World? tradition. The songs are well-crafted, catchy, memorable, and delivered with fire and fury. Musically I like how it is fast and furious, yet a little wild and loose. I hear a lot of JERRY’S KIDS in the general structure, and something about this record structurally reminds me of post Y2K thrash bands like DIRECT CONTROL. But the overall vibe is more wild and chaotic, like classic Italian or Finnish hardcore, even if the pacing and structure is based on the American form. The artwork is crazed like the music, a rat with a chainsaw holds up a severed head on the front. On the flip his eerie rat eyes peer at us from inside “the cage.” Lyrically we get a lot of dead-end desperation here, written from the perspective of the outsider who always gets the short end of the stick. And a refreshingly retro anti-nuclear jam.  I’m told this is a one-person project, and if so, hats off to that person for their vision, because this is the complete package right here. When I was a teenager, me and my friends got into tagging for a while, mostly throwing up anarchistic slogans off our MDC and Crass records. One night I was tagging a bridge piling, when flashing police lights appeared behind me. I ran like hell up the embankment with the cops in pursuit. At the top the hill was an impossibly tall fence with barbed wire on top. Somehow I scampered up and over that fence, but caught my jacket on the barbed wire. I was hanging upside down, spray cans falling from my pockets looking at the cops coming up the hill after me. Then my jacket ripped and I fell to the ground. I got up and ran, from further away I could see in the distance the stymied cop looking through the fence and the other shaking his head looking at my piece on the bridge. That feeling of triumph, danger and excitement is how I feel when I spin a sick new hardcore record like this RAT CAGE.