CD Review: Basque Rats

The Basque Rats
Self Released

The Basque Rats are a three-piece hardcore punk band with influences ranging from d-beat/crossover acts such as Discharge as well as thrash metal; they’re one of the most fast and raw bands in town. Members include: Jeff B (The Catholix, Agonizer), Ryan Clapper (The Catholix, Leatherhorn, Totalizer, The Mark), and Tim Riney on drums. Their debut demo was recorded and mixed by Ryan Roullard (formerly of The Wastelanders) at the F Street House Garage.
“T.V. Lobotomy” starts off with lightning fast drumming, a real strength of the album. Riney is an excellent drummer, whether dabbling in d-beat or providing the backbone to a thrashy slaughter his talent can’t be ignored. It’s followed by “Apathy in Slavery,” which features a favorite chorus on the demo; Jeff B’s banshee scream of “No hope / No hope for you and me” had me yelling along. The feedback/wah-pedal heavy breakdown towards the end also is indicative of some of Jeff B’s most interesting guitar work. Not a lot of other punk bands in town feature such noisy shredding and he probably does it best.
The album closes with “Rest in Thrash (Where the Enemy Sleeps).” This song is the longest on the EP, clocking in at just over four minutes. Vocals are sparse on this track but the musicianship speaks for itself. The song maintains intensity through slower, chugging riffs – chaotic, fast screaming – as well as noisy breakdowns, and just straight up shredding at the end.
Of all the bands involved in the Next Seven Exits scene, The Basque Rats are one to watch. They’re always consistent, always face-melting, and always worth a listen.
–Ethan Smith