I’ve never really understood “Hardcore” as a term, as the music sounds like other genres I’m more familiar with. Rotting Civilisation, to me at least, is a thrash-punk album with a lot of other genres on top. On their Facebook page Septic Tank describe themselves as “Punk, noise and low grade metal”.
Apparently formed some 20-plus years ago by the core of Cathedral and friends as a side-project it’s taken them 20 years to come up with their first album. It was recorded over a week in 2017 when the members came together for Black Sabbath’s Final Show in Birmingham. It features Lee Dorrian (ex-Cathedral) on vocals, Gary Jennings (ex-Cathedral) on guitar, Scott Carson (Repulsion) on bass and Jaime ‘Gómez’ Arellano (ex-Cathedral) on drums.
Influenced by Anger
As a whole Septic Tank remind me of early Slayer with some Motörhead thrown in and mixed up with some of the nihilist discordance of Napalm Death. All fronted by the unmistakeable vocal talents of Lee Dorrian (ex-Napalm Death himself, if you remember way back when). It’s possible to think of this album as a route Lee could have followed more full term when leaving Napalm Death – though that would have deprived us of the glorious Cathedral, which would have been a great loss.
It’s fast, uncompromising and very, very angry. The songs are driven along by thrash guitar and some pinpoint drumming. Great riff follows great riff – much like their hero Tommy Iommi (Black Sabbath) – and they’re not afraid to break down into the odd slower passage. This brings some vital light and shade into proceedings which could otherwise fall into a constant stream of noise that so many similar bands are guilty of.
Typically the songs deal with the problems with society. I won’t pretend to have pinned down every lyric but songs like Social Media Whore, Lost Humanity, Whitewash and Rotten Empire (as well as the album title itself) leave you assured that the band are rather less than pleased with the state of society and where it’s going.
All in all an album with a solid core of brutal fury with enough variation to keep you interested and a political message I think most of us can feel somewhat aligned with. Highlights change but my current favourites are the Motörhead influenced Digging Your Own Grave and the diverse Danger Signs. I find when not listening to it I feel drawn back to it to give it another go – a great sign for any album.
Rotting Civilisation on Spotify:
Septic Tank on Facebook: