This rager has been a long time coming! Over the years, Rat Damage has become a staple of the Sacramento, California underground punk scene and has released a couple very limited seven inch vinyl records. The vocalist and bassist run a DIY style record label together called FYBS and have not so coincidentally released this album on vinyl. The singer is also a "scene veteran" who has been bringing the best underground touring punk bands to Sacramento and the surrounding area for what seems like about twenty. And if thats not enough, the lead guitarist is always active in at least two or three other bands to boot. Did I mention they perform live about three or four times per month? Whew! These guys are fucking busy!
Now onto the insults: CURSED, their debut full length album, was recored at Lennon Studios in San Francisco by Jeff (Leppard) Davis at the end of 2011. It has a super beefy and slick sound that is not over produced and still delivers a raw, gut-wrenching punch. 11 lamentations filled with regret, desperation, hate, misery and impending doom of the soul. These songs document the day to day struggles that these veteran Sacto lifers experience in Californias Capitol City. Its like sneaking a peak at a mad mans diary (Ozzy reference?). The refreshingly simplistic lyrical approach is most often delivered in a chanting style, a single sentence repeated over and over, drilling the subject matter straight to your brain matter. The vocal style is belted out in hoarse yells of melancholy and bring up familiar sore subjects that plague most of us at one time or another, no matter where you live. This makes the band highly palatable and easy to relate with. Having a bad day? Listen to the vocalist scream his guts out about the same shit thats beating up your brain but magnified ten fold and you will be thinking, well, I guess it could be worse...I could be this guy! A myriad of influences rampage throughout, but it's difficult to pin-point who, as in which particular bands, they are drawing their inspiration. Rat Damage have an original sound, which is rare these days. Most of the time, the drums are assaulted with an up-tempo/mid pace as the guitars chug along in an old-school heavy metal style tinged with "the blues" while still capturing the spirit of classic "old tyme" California 80's punk and hardcore bands. Theres even some 70s British punk riffing invading the mix at times. Some songs start out with stoner/bluesy intros and then gallop forward with a tight, dare I say danceable groove. Others just smack you upside the dome from the get go. The only real exception is when the album's title track, CURSED gets rudely interrupted by a completely different song called PILLS that usurps with a full on D-Beat attack.
Some other things about this release that you may find interesting: The cover artwork was created by Pat Kim, ex-member of the band Unwritten Law and features some cool, collage-style art by Jeremiah (Jed) Pfeffer on the inside. SLOW SUICIDE, the album's final track, features some agonizing backing vocals by VOETSEKs Ami Lawless.
Recommended for fans of Poison Idea, Motorhead, Black Flag, DRI, Verbal Abuse, Attitude Adjustment, Venom, Circle Jerks along with creeps and scum bags from all walks of life. Tired of cookie cutter punk bands? Get this album!
Pressing Info: 400 Black / 75 Red Smoke (with screen printed covers) / 25 Red Smoke (with screen printed glass covers).