A few years ago I remember seeing Like Rats popping up on show fliers. Sometimes it was weird mix of metal and sometimes they were on heavier hardcore shows. I just chalked them up as a band that blurred the line. I’ve never been one to make much sense with my decisions but I opted to just ignore them because Empire Of Rats was a band and I guess I felt that there was only room for one band of rats in my catalog. Sadly in 2016, Empire Of Rats is no longer a band, however, Like Rats has released a new record. With the vacancy on the rodent themed band name being open, I decided now would be as good as of a time as any to give them a shot.

I’ll get this out of the way. I’m an idiot. I should have never passed on this band for such a trivial reason but I’m gladly making up for the error in my ways by jamming this new record, II, very often and very loud. To try to sum up Like Rats sound is a bit challenging. Sure they have an overall signature style to them but they kind of pull from so many directions that once you start to really dissect each song, you find so much depth to their simplicity. On the surface they appear to be a typical downtuned groove heavy band but throughout the duration of the album you’ll pick out elements of hardcore, sludge, death metal, southern rock, and even some slowed down d-beat riffage. It’s all welded together into a neat package that just crushes. The vocals, which sounds like a deeper version of Jorge from Merauder, complements the low end focused delivery of the music.

I’ve read a few reviews of this record where critics basically call these guys a death metal band and I think it’s unfair to give them such a generic description. Much like Weekend Nachos, which shares band members with Like Rats, they can go over just as well on say This Is Hardcore as they would on the Maryland Deathfest. I’ve also seen comparisons to Celtic Frost and Deicide but I would think that we’re listening to two different bands. If I had to, I’d say they would be more akin to Entombed or Obituary if they adopted influences from Madball.

Don’t be like me and pass on this band. Start with II and work your way back. This band is disgustingly heavy and chock full of groove. I will continue to bang my head to this record for a long time.