For fifteen years, King Rat has held down its own small, smelly corner of Denver's punk scene. That kind of longevity alone is commendable — especially considering the volatile, at times self-destructive nature of King Rat's music, a crackling blitzkrieg of hard rock, '80s hardcore and Mike Ness-style confessionals. On its sixth full-length, Everything Burns, the band taps into a deeper source: itself. Frontman Luke Schmaltz has always played and sang from the gut, but here he's yanking shit out of his bones; maniacally focused, scathingly cathartic and surprisingly catchy, the album sports everything from kiss-offs to shout-alongs, often in the same breath. It's Schmaltz's brutal candor and way with a witty phrase, though, that drives home this batch of ass-kicking, razor-etched anthems. It isn't young, polite or easy on the eyes (or ears). But it feels damn good.
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