Merzbow: Rattus Rattus

Merzbow albums are like buses – it doesn’t matter if you miss one, because there’ll be another one along soon. Unlike buses, however, they’re also reliable. Rattus Rattus never strays far from Masami Akita’s winning formula of blistering noise, squally electronics and an insane mix of high and low frequency drones.

There appears to be some kind of concept around the disc, from the title (the Latin name of the black rat) to the inclusion of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ web address (www.peta.org) on the sleeve. Resorting to his own theatre of cruelty, Merzbow wastes no time in setting mercilessly about the listener’s eardrums on the opening “155.” On the next track, “166,” ghostly shards of melody lurk amongst the juddering sonic attack. Nasty little loops burrow relentlessly inside the listener’s head.

Bolstering the traces of the album’s concept, the 37-minute “Rattus Rattus Suite” rounds off proceedings with a panoply of scurrying, microscopic effects. Stricken, the drones and frequencies stumble in pitch and density, before regaining their violent edge and rushing to a brutal conclusion.

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