When I first read the name of the band, I did some research about their geographic origin. At first I was surprised to read that the band was from Milwaukee, United States, but I just had to read some interviews to discover that «Prezir» is a word that means «disdain». The choice of a Serbian name for an American band is apparently due to the background of the singer Luka Đorđević, who moved to the United States at a young age. Around him, we can find gathered under this name several expert musicians, well tested by past experiences (we can mention Pig’s Blood, since they are present in our archives), who have agreed that black metal is a good way to spread evil in the world.
The first thing you will notice is just how professional As Rats Devour Lions sounds, starting from the full and abrasive production, up to the preparation of the musicians involved. The second one is that the idea of black metal contained here is conceptually simple: very fast, with melodies dictated by a visceral hatred for humanity and pure barbaric fury – a vision which I really can’t complain about. The idea they gave me is that Prezir‘s sound has two souls: on one side it’s quite focused on melodies, which look with a certain reverence to old classics like Dawn and Emperor; on the other hand we have a more intransigent vision expressed in heavy thrash and death influences, which are revealed from the very first seconds of the album.
What, in my opinion, slows the songs down a little is just the fact that these two souls are alternated, but the line of demarcation between them is quite thick, giving out the impression that the band, more than composing tracks, has created the individual sections separately. This does not affect too much the enjoyment of the whole album, but I think some songs (“Ideologue Alchemy” comes to mind) suffer more than others, losing in effectiveness. To counterbalance this problem, there is the fact that the band knows without any doubt how to write really memorable passages, and when the inspiration is at the highest levels we can find ourselves listening to tracks like “Hamatsa Death Ritual” and “Oedipus Context”.
Although not free from flaws, I believe that As Rats Devour Lions is a debut album able to offer black metal of a certain value, full of small details to appreciate (for example, I loved their use of tapping during the solos ). Certainly Prezir‘s formula has nothing new per se, but I am convinced few will complain.