Rat Cage


Rat Cage Savage Visions LP

Do you feel lucky every day to wake up in this beautiful world? Then don’t buy this record. It’s not for you. This is a nuclear blast of hate against a world on fire. Sheffield’s RAT CAGE has been excellent from day one, but this is the most cohesive and apocalyptic the (mostly) solo project has been. The sound will please supercharged freaks who lick Swedish hardcore like a light socket, but the wattage is even brighter than even 2021’s split with NERVOUS SS. There’s been no mellowing with age, and why should there be? Everything is more fucked than ever, but B. Suddaby’s arterial screech and toxic riffs provide a perfect soundtrack—at times I swear this hits like Nick Blinko fronting DISCHARGE. I know, that sounds like hyperbole, but the ferocity and fearlessness to explore the strange dank corners of hardcore cannot be overstated here. A month after this detonation went live, the world had its hottest week in all of human history. Coincidence? I’ll let you listen and decide.

Rat Cage In the Shadow of the Bomb / Scared of the Truth 7″

RAT CAGE is back after the excellent split Skopje vs Sheffield with Macedonian mangel maniacs NERVOUS SS. This is their new lathe-cut, two-song single, with all proceeds going to the Lughole in Sheffield. First we have “In The Shadow of the Bomb,” which comes close to WOLFPACK due to the chord changes and chorus hooks under a steady demolishing D-beat. Then “Scared of the Truth,” which channels a mid-tempo DISCHARGE-meets-TOTALITÄR vibe. Overall, a great follow-up to the split and a step ahead for the band in terms of sound discovery.

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.