It’s always interesting to see how dynamics play out for a sophomore album, particularly when the debut gained such critical acclaim and success.

Sure, one could easily presume that with the added anticipation and hype, a group or artist could crack under the pressure, but that’s not entirely the truth for Brisbane’s own rascals of thrash pop, DZ Deathrays.

Signalling a change in creative process and opting for a stronger anthemic and vocally melodic release, Black Rat defines the struggle of any young band – trying to appease loyal fans with sporadic punchy hooks whilst wrapping up new followers into a movement through stronger songwriting and a firm self-belief.

Thankfully, the distinctive high-octane, alcohol-fuelled-night-out culture through the first half of the album in ‘Less Out Of Sync’ and ‘Keep Myself On Edge’ captures the mosh friendly sonic tundra that DZ fans fap over. This with manic riffage, burst eardrums, and relentless distortion amidst a refined, more confident lyrical performance make for raucous bangers.

That being said, cuts ‘Nightwalking’ and ‘Fixations’ change this tone slightly, with less awe-inspiring rebellion and disregard for the rules. Having just enough oomph in them to draw a listen but not quite enough to hit the loop button.

From gents that know how to party, the album suffers slightly from a hangover, still rubbing its eyes after its predecessor. But there’s still plenty to like about Black Rat. Simon Ridley is a menacing drummer capable of epic shredding as Shane Parsons works his magic to produce sounds unimaginable from a guitar.  Throw in some tight production work from Burke Reid and you’ve got something that’s good.

Listen to ‘Reflective Skull’ from Black Rat here:

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