The L.A.-area hardcore group Rotting Out sound grippingly ferocious on their new album Ronin, which is available now via Pure Noise Records. The band build their sound on a lot of traditional elements of the hardcore style, including pummeling riffing alongside blasting drums and seething vocals, but Rotting Out also maintain a decidedly personal touch in their music.
Through the dynamic swings that are present and by virtue of the brazenly rabid aggression of the overall sound itself, the band establish their unique and, above all, very emotionally real-sounding take on the interpersonal and social tumult that hardcore music traditionally confronts via sound.
Opening track “Vessel” immediately establishes the band’s trajectory. It’s less than two minutes in length, but within that comparatively short timeframe, the band veer from a blistering opening sonic barrage into heaves of more groove-inflected hardcore riffing during the song’s latter segments. And the lyrics, which vocalist Walter Delgado delivers quiet accessibly, hit hard—on “Vessel,” for instance, he sings with a frantic aggression, touting a wish for an unnamed aggressor to take him as “the vessel for [his] family’s agony.”
Track after track on Ronin feature brutally heavy breakdowns that are immediately enveloped on all sides into the band’s never-ending, hardcore, riffing attack. “Reaper” packs some particularly memorable musical moments out of a slew of them on the album. There, the guitar and drum barrages crescendo together into the pummeling conclusion that feels like it’s dramatically swinging enough that it’s carving out an emotional hole just like the physical one. Elsewhere, like towards the conclusion of “Unforgiven,” the band leap into heavy, solo-worthy snakes of guitar riffing.
There’s a gradually growing sense of a kind of triumph in the band’s urgency-infused, super heavy lurches of hardcore riffing, which are always accompanied by concurrently brutal drum barrages that back up the ferocity perfectly. The comparatively slower but still dizzyingly ferocious riffing of the album’s closing track zeroes in upon this feeling of fist-pumping triumph in the shadow of the very real pain that’s encapsulated by the overall music and discussed in Delgado’s startlingly personal lyrics. The whole piece packs a gripping portrait of the stark reality of living in some of the socially volatile segments of U.S. society that the most privileged might like to forget about.