Septic Tank – “Rotting Civilisation” (Rise Above Records)
Oh wow, if you miss the days of late 80s chaotic punk noise thrash, then super group Septic Tank are back! Featuring no less than Lee Dorrian (Napalm Death), Gaz Jennings (Cathedral), Scott Carlson (Repulsion) and now joined by drummer (and esteemed producer) Jamie ‘Gomez’ Arellano (At Dusk, Blutvial), Septic Tank was created in the mid 90s as the alter ego side project of Cathedral, featuring at the time the late Barry Stern (Trouble) on drums. Despite its immense potential, main band priorities sadly kept the project low key, ensuring the songs penned at the time were never recorded. However, some 20 years later, rejoining to record Cathedral’s final album in 2012 resulted in the band’s self titled 4 track EP, ultimately paving the way for this full blown release. Typically drawing from the members’ own 80s favourites of Discharge, Black Sabbath, Hellhammer and Motorhead, the 18 tracks do not hold back and in some cases, are even faster than Napalm Death! However, given the pedigree of the veteran band members, the material has some serious composing talent behind it, from vicious hooks that catch you time and again, to class A monster riffs and plenty of subtle melodies dropped in crucially here and there to ensure that “Rotting Civilisation”, while keeping in with its themes of social unrest and political angst, never looses the attention of the listener from start to finish. From the filthy phat tones of ‘Social Media Whore’ with its dirty bass and Dorrian’s sung diatribe to the slow, doom crushing ‘Treasures Of Disease’ before its revs up into full punk grind mode not forgetting Jenning’s wild Slayer-esque solo, there’s a full spectrum of material that covers the key extreme underground styles of the 80s, now recaptured authentically here in its ugliness and magnificence. With plenty of swearing from Dorrian, my favourites were ‘Death Vase’, highly reminiscent of Celtic Frost with its ultra raw guitar and balls heavy bass along with ‘Digging Your Own Grave’, with its Motorhead kick beat and thrashy guitar – complete with wild solo that Fast Eddie would’ve proud of! An utterly awesome release that not just brings back plenty of memories, but is a fine and classy tribute to those pioneer bands, many of whom never received the full measure of respect they fully deserved.