Rotting Civilisation by Septic TankRelease date: April 13, 2018
Label: Rise Above Records
From his very early days in Napalm Death, Lee Dorrian’s love for Anarcho punk bands like Subhumans, Conflict, Flux Of Pink Indians and especially Discharge have been well documented. The former Cathedral front and Rise Above Records head channels that first love for hard hitting and socially conscious punk rock into Rotting Civilisation, the debut album from Septic Tank and the results are as stunning as they brutal.
The band first started in 1994 as a Cathedral side project with band members, guitarist Gaz Jennings and bassist Scott Carlson as well as Dorian remaining from those days alongside newer drummer Jaime Gomez Arellano. Despite the fact that 2018 marks the arrival of their long awaited debut album (following their 2013 self titled debut EP), it has been more than worth the wait.
From the offset, Rotting Civilisation roars into action with so much anger at the world that it almost takes your head off and that anger is aimed with so much focus, that the targets Septic Tank attack (racist idiots, macho bullshit in society, the power of social media and so much more) are done so with so much vehemence, it is inspiring.
The music of Septic Tank obviously has the influence of Discharge at its core but they are far from a carbon copy of them and Rotting Civilisation owes debts to bands like Siege, Motörhead and Extreme Noise Terror as well as the big hitters of the UK anarcho punk scene mixed in with the band members own musical heritage and influences like Celtic Frost (especially on the track ‘The Slaughter’), resulting in an album that sounds as good in 2018 as it would whether it was released in 1982 or 1988.
Songs like ‘Victimised’, ‘Whitewash’, ‘Danger Signs’, ‘Walking Asylum’ and ‘Treasurers Of Disease’ are full speed d-beat blasters while songs like the mid paced grind of ‘Living Death’ retain the groove of Cathedral gone hardcore. While the vast majority of songs on the album are full on blasts, there is enough variety to enthral throughout.
The band members play a blinder with Lee Dorrian sounding like he’s having the time of his life with his anger fuelled vocals while Gaz Jennings demonstrates how underrated he is as a guitar player with a storming set of crushing riffs and solos (particularly on ‘Walking Asylum’). It is also a joy to hear the bass sound of Scott Carlson running wild and the Repulsion man dominates constantly with his unmistakable raw sound (just check out the awesome bassline on ‘Never Never Land’), one that works perfectly with the drums of Arellano.
The whole of Rotting Civilisation is literally a blast from start to finish and well worth the long wait for the first Septic Tank album and it will take something for this to be beaten as the angriest, most passionate and well executed extreme album of this year. As the state of the world seems to be going backwards, it is the perfect time for a band like Septic Tank to come to the forefront with their forward thinking, angry and raw but ultimately and above all positive punk rock.