“Choose hate, it’s so much easier…” That opening sound clip completely sets the tone of what you are about to hear. Ohio’s, Empire Of Rats are back with the follow-up of their incredibly pissed EP, No Peace, with their first full length and debut on A389 Records. If you thought their EP was angry, you are in a whole new world of hurt with this record.

With EOR being calling the Buckeye State home, the clear comparisons to Ringworm and Integrity come right into mind. Cut from the same cloth of holy terror and thrash, Empire Of Rats takes that raw, ferocious approach their predecessors took and utilized some modern times and transition smoothly into some of the hardest breaks this side of the Mississippi. The end result is the musical equivalent of a chainsaw attached to a sledgehammer. It fires out of the cannon with pure unrelenting dominance and packs a punch.

The one thing I was worried about with the band doing a full length is that, in a lot of cases, a raw, speed driven juggernaut is a dish best served in a 7” form. The EP is what I would compare to be being fucked by a partner on PCP. It came and went before you know it and you aren’t sure exactly how you felt by the end but you knew you liked it. It clocked in at just the right time to drive home the point without wearing out its welcome. How would this formula work expanding into LP format? Well, as with any good band, growth comes into play. Instead of focusing on coming straightforward like a freight train, the band has added some much needed groove and some guitar solos throughout the entire record. They also had the sense to not go overboard with it and kept it to just the minimal amount to give enough change without ruining the sound they are known for. At times these simple additions make me think of Rock Bottom if they were sped up (funny enough Dion sings on the song Rats Reign) .

Along with Alpha & Omega, this record is already a quick nomination for my favorite hardcore record of the year. It’s sincere, angry, and fun ride through all 11 tracks. If No Peace left you salivating for more, wait until you hear this record. Do Not Sleep.