King Nine Death Rattle

King Nine Death Rattle
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King Nine have been sporting their insatiable "anti-human" mantra on their merchandise for several years, as their fan base anticipated the followup to their 2013 breakthrough, Scared To Death. On Death Rattle, the band demonstrate a hardened maturity and serving of perpetual reality checks over crushing, straightforward New York hardcore.
 
First single "V.R.C.F. (Violence Reality Chaos Fear)" is the soundtrack to a motorcycle accident waiting to happen, and opener "Paradise" declares their "only aim is destruction." They damn well mean it. Both tracks are thrashier than what the act are typically known for, but their malevolent tenor will warm up to listeners as vocalist Daniel Seely and guitarist Gian Farahani trade off screaming duties.
 
Often times, their dismal harmony is the most endearing aspect of King Nine. "Twisted Thoughts" speaks on "solution found in the form of a gun" as Regulate's Sebastian Paba provides guest vocals, and to cleanse the palette, producer Arthur Rizk also steps to the mic on "Happiness Is…" He lends melody and groove to contrast King Nine's bleak, hardest-of-hardcore.
 
Death Rattle yields a riveting distress similar to the early works of Cold As Life and Madball. Ire and ease have always been where the Long Island troupe thrives (namely the infamous "Intro" from their 2016 EP) and this mindset continues to reap benefits on the title track and "Blue Lotus," which recalls the same fierce energy as their debut.
 
The group do not rely on pit warfare entirely, though. Seely's destructive lyricism is often at the forefront, notably as he begs the question "I've made it this far in Hell / What's one more day?" on "Second Nature."
 
Re-recorded fan favourite "No Dreams" is just as menacing as its initial attempt, but feels more hostile when painted with the Rizk production treatment. Added growls, dive-bombs and what sounds like a dog whistle prior to the breakdown in "The Art of War" give new dimension that King Nine might not have reached if they hadn't taken their time with the five-year roll out of Death Rattle.
 
Nearing the end of the album, a second instalment of the K9/Criminal Instinct camaraderie on "Cowards Run Pt. II" is a Death Rattle highlight. While both bands currently share members, the track's chemistry ultimately serves as a manifesto for hardcore principles, declaring that "weakness is not welcome here." The song's tone is combative musically and in writing, but is ultimately a strong point to consider for those who cannot stomach King Nine's harsh truths. (Closed Casket Activities)