Mor is the second album from the Czechia-based metallic hardcore band Ratpack. The ten tracks have a fairly barebones production style that lends itself well to the emotional album. Despite not understanding a word that’s said, Mor still managed to draw me in for the majority of its runtime. I wouldn’t say Ratpack have crafted the perfect album, but if the idea of an atmospheric metalcore release intrigues you, Mor is worth the listen.
Mor begins with a brief spoken word and instrumental intro track which, if you speak Czech, probably establishes a theme for the album. These spoken vocal passages are peppered throughout and, even though I don’t know what’s being said, help to tie the album together. “Mor I” is the true start of the album, with a sombre, repeating guitar melody and heavy rhythm section that sounds like a mashup of emo and black gaze.
From there, we’re onto my favourite song on the album, “Nespatříš provazy.” (Thank fuck I don’t have to worry about pronouncing these.) Although the opening riff of the song sounds like it could’ve been a Deftones B-side, the song has a very live-sounding metalcore feel to it, with a noisy instrumental and almost out-of-breath sounding vocals. For me, the tune embodies the guitar work, atmosphere, and heaviness that Ratpack are going for on Mor.
Ratpack have a solid album on their hands, but it’s not without its flaws. The band are interesting enough when they want to be, but a “Strachem šach” that opts for a more straight-ahead hardcore approach is an easy one to skip on repeat listens. Although the song is performed well, there’s just nothing that sets it apart for me. “Slušným čechům” is just an odd addition to Mor, coming after the outro track. At just over 30 seconds in length, the track pops up after I had already assumed the album was finished. Maybe it adds something thematically, but it’s half a minute I could’ve done without.
Mor was an interesting album to listen to. I can’t say that Ratpack are doing something wholly out of the box, but their concoction of atmospheric metalcore was refreshing to hear. The production quality may not be for everyone and there are a few skippable tracks throughout, but I’d say Mor is an album worth checking out.
Written by Justin Bruce
*edited by Kate Erickson