Filth, by its very definition, refers to something either dirty and disgusting, decadent or otherwise corrupt behaviour, or obscene and offensive language or printed material. In other words, the concept of filth is supposed to be something repulsive that one should probably avoid at all cost. Yet, very paradoxically, when someone refers to music as absolute filth, it often has a surprisingly positive ring to it, and forces you to direct your ears at it, if you prefer to savour some aural violence over pleasant wind chimes and bird chirps. Makes total sense, right? Well, I got some filth for you right here.
Five years after the highly praised Vestigial, LO! finally makes a glorious return to the release front with their new album The Gleaners, hitting the streets and gutters like a tangible flood of infernal rage on the 7th of April via Pelagic Records. Today, we’re in awe to share with you the newest single cut and music video taken from the nighing record, in the form of “Rat King”. Prepare your eardrums for an utter annihilation and hit play from below to experience the captivating grit of LO!‘s making;
Coming from someone who may or may not have had the new album blasting on repeat for weeks now, I can confidently say that “Rat King” represents the most furious and feral edge of not only LO!‘s released output so far, but also that found on The Gleaners. LO! isn’t exactly known for slowing things down (relatively speaking) and taking it easy, so you should be delighted about the fact that it’s certainly not happening on the new album either. But more on that later, let’s keep our gaze at “Rat King”, and what the band has to say about this little three and a half minute bundle of fury;
‘A rat king is a rare monster created by nesting rats that through crammed and overpopulated conditions become entangled in their own tails, slowly starving to death unable to free themselves or work together to survive. Traditionally seen as a poignant symbol for greed, plague and societal disease. ‘Consumption as a saviour‘ complex makes us all rat kings, bound together in greed. We have eaten beyond our means and we lust for more through capitalism and refusal to stop a feast that is coming to an end. One of the album’s core characters is given its dues.
‘Stylistically the idea was to give the animation a hand drawn and gritty look, whilst keeping it simple and striking. This was achieved through a variety of rotoscoping techniques over stock video, animated elements and footage of Sam singing.‘
I’ve always absolutely adored the narrative aspect found in LO!‘s essence, as getting a glimpse to the songs’ lyrical backgrounds such as the above only puts further weight and significance on them. You’ve also probably noticed the band’s inclinations to produce magnificent visuals, both artwork and music video-wise, that provides them another rather gigantic pedestal to stand on, and I doubt any of you would disagree with that. Goes without saying that these aspects are rather heavily emphasized by the ravaging and forward-thinking music itself, but especially when paired together, you can’t do anything to prevent LO! from pummeling you into smithereens – and why would you?
“Rat King” excels as a demonstration of LO!‘s capabilities all the way from their nuanced blackened hardcore-esque grinding to their post-metal leanings and malevolent sludge breakdowns. I’ll abstain from further analysis until my review hits the metaphorical shelf, but the replay button is right there for you to indulge with. As you heard yourself, the song somehow manages to encapsulate everything that the Australian quartet is known for, and does that in a pleasant but unforgiving fashion. It flourishes in the newfound hues to be later elaborated on The Gleaners, and it’ll be interesting to see how big of a ruckus about the band will start in mere weeks.