Sometime in the latter half of 2015, I was first introduced to the Martian rock monsters Ratbatspider. Hailing from the angry red planet but currently residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this horror punk outfit blends the obvious standard scene influences of The Misfits, Glenn Danzig, etc., with a heavier, more metal-influenced style that’s rare to see with bands who identify as Horror Punk. The four piece machine features vocalist Ryan Remains, bassist Chris Rat, guitarist Jack Bat, and drummer Doug Spider. The first impression this band made on me was in form of their 2014 release, Night of the Sharksquatch. The album cover shows a hulking Sasquatch with a shark’s head superimposed on it. Between the cover art, album title, and band name, I had no idea what to expect from the group and went in with zero expectations.
From the start of the album, it was obvious this was a group willing to pave their own way in a genre over-saturated with copy artists trying to emulate groups that came before them. The first track “...And I'm All Out Of Bubblegum” opens with the Rodney Piper quip from They Live where he threatens the alien invaders and then tears right into the music. Front man, Ryan Remains’ aggressive vocal track soars to drummer Doug Spider’s blasting beat as he shouts about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The track ends with a shotgun blast before the album’s second song, “Inward Skeleton”, begins. The group slows down slightly for this track and falls into a tighter groove while Remains demonstrates his capable vocal abilities as he jumps back and forth between a croon and shouting.
The third track is the disc’s longest play, coming in at 3:13. “Last One Out Close The Coffin Lid” has the characters playing a game of Russian roulette. Chris Rat’s bass line prominently carries this track as Remains barks the lyrics like, “one is six chance I’ll wind up dead, paint the room with insides of my head”. Overall, this was my favorite listen on the album. The fourth track “Dead Girls Don’t Say No” starts with Jack Bat playing a thrash-style introduction before Doug Spider starts in with another breakneck pace drum beat. This track showcases the groups plethora of influences as collectively they sound like something straight out the late 80s thrash metal scene. The band works at double time as Remains’ vocals change shape again into a more powerful howl.
The album closes with the title track, “Night of the Sharksquatch” a powerful and heavy closer centered around a Kaiju-style beast created when toxic waste fuses the infamous Sasquatch and a shark together. The light-hearted song premise shows a band that can have fun and still write incredible, gripping, and powerful music. Ratbatspider has proven time and again on each of their more current releases that they are a band with confidence in the direction they are going and the raw talent to get them there.