Whilst Seattle based Digital Hardcore band Rabbit Junk have been pretty active in recent years, it’s hard to believe that their last full-length album was 2010’s Project Nonagon. Still, we’ve had some amazing EPs between now and then! However, 2018 marks their return to LP territory with the release of Rabbit Junk Will Die: Meditations on Mortality. How does this fifth outing compare to the rest of their back catalogue?

Is it just me, or do Glitch Mode Recordings seem to favour short albums? The 34 minutes running time of this album may cause some to raise their eyebrows at first, but once again the mentality of this is quality over quantity. The 8 tracks featured on Meditations on Mortality go to all sorts of strange yet amazing places, with influences spanning across multiple genres. It’s very surprising in many ways, and there’s plenty of moments where I was caught off-guard by what I was listening to. It still manages to capture their sound, and yet it bends the rulebook in so many different and unique ways. The overarching theme to the album is one of rebellion, and a commentary on the authoritarian future that we seem to be heading towards. What ensues is an album that at times has an aggressive tone, but also manages catchy and upbeat moments, all whilst fitting in with a dystopian cyberpunk theme. It’s all certainly very ambitious!

Opener “Hunting” instantly draws you into the atmosphere of the album, with dramatic synths progressing into a catchy dancey rhythm. Sum Grrls’ vocals have a very in-your-face feel, with some sinister sounding lyrics, before JP Anderson literally roars into action, backed by a wall of hardcore beats and riffs. The contrast between electro and hardcore elements help drive this track forward, and it’s an excellent prelude of what’s to come. “Xenon” kicks in with more bulky guitars and seamlessly moves to a more synthy sound, almost having a very synthwave vibe to it. It’s probably the calmest moment on the record, feeling incredibly chilled and atmospheric… barring the heavy parts, of course! “Become Hell” is one of the tracks on Meditations on Mortality that feels a lot like old-school Rabbit Junk. It’s filled with sweeping synths that could easily get a dancefloor filled, as well as the trademark catchy guitar hooks and beats that fans will be familiar with. “Shadow Horizon” has a very reggae style to it in terms of vocals and structure within it’s verses. This all builds up to a much heavier sound, with a frenetic pace. The guitar work and electronic elements compliment each other extremely well here, blending together beautifully. Moments of this one reminded me of the likes of Pendulum, only if they had a much heavier sound. There’s vibes of traditional electro-Industrial at the start of “Art of Defiance”, but it also manages to capture a slight hip-hop feel. Then it suddenly picks up the pace, mashing together metal and hints of dubstep. The rhythm of this track is incredibly addictive, making it the catchiest song on the album. “Gravity Hero” is another track that gives off a nostalgic feel, once again containing classic Rabbit Junk elements. The lyrics have a very sing-along style to them, making it feel anthemic. I can definitely picture this one being fantastic in a live setting. “Bend the Light” is a highlight for me. Choir chants give way to catchy electronic beats, and brutal guitar riffs, in an absolutely malevolent and menacing style, with an unrelenting drumbeat. In a word, it’s epic! Finale “The Metro” is quite 80’s in terms of style, starting with dark synths and building into a more upbeat catchy synthpop song, backed with speedy, punk guitars. If anything, I’m reminded of The Birthday Massacre here, which is only strengthened by the fact that Sum Grrl takes on vocal duties throughout the entire track. It’s like a beautiful homage! The overall feel of the track is a very reflective one, which makes it a great way to close things off.

After years of recording EPs, it’s stunning to see how well-crafted Rabbit Junk have made Meditations on Mortality. There’s such a huge mash-up of genres, that I don’t even know where to begin. They’ve literally taken as many inspirations as possible and made them their own. I have no idea how they’ve managed to make it all work, but it does, and it does so in an extremely gloriously consistent way. From start to finish it feels completely fresh, and it’s a rollercoaster of a journey. Everything they have learned and tried over the course of those years is present here, and it’s a testament to how far they’ve come. Meditations on Mortality is by far the most experimental project they’ve ever undertaken and the result is an extremely rewarding in terms of achievement and listening experience. This is without a doubt their biggest triumph.

Final verdict: Rabbit Junk return with their first full-length album in 8 years, and it ends up being their best! A huge achievement in terms of sound, it mashes up a ton of genres to a fresh, unique effect, all whilst being a gloriously consistent, epic journey. A must-listen for anyone that loves hardcore or electro music, or just music in general!

 

Tracklist:

  1. Hunting

  2. Xenon

  3. Become Hell

  4. Shadow Horizon

  5. Art of Defiance

  6. Gravity Hero

  7. Bend the Light

  8. The Metro

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