Strength Through Struggle

Gat-Rot - Strength Through Struggle ©1998 Code Of Ethics
1. Equilibrium
2. Back Of The Bus
3. Down
4. I Resist
5. Backfire
6. Phillips, Please
7. 1 Man H8 Machine
8. Terrorzona
9. Explode
10. Stranded

Tucson, AZ, may not seem like the raging hotbed that would spawn angry hardcore acts, but Gat-Rot is kind enough to point out that Arizona as a state is ranked nationwide in violent crimes committed in ratio per citizen. That sort of distinction, coupled with a positive anger aimed at forging a better future and life, is what propels the members of Gat-Rot. Now I admit I have a bias for this band, considering I've known singer Charlie Touseull (who splits vocal duties with Ruben Valdez) for nearly six years from our college days together. However, as close as we are, I was surprised to see the gut-felt anger that pours forth from this project. Gat-Rot plays a slower paced hardcore somewhat on line with Vision of Disorder, with lyrics that alternately rapped, screamed and shouted out by Charlie and Ruben. Their vocals have as much D.R.I. in them as Rage Against the Machine and the pair work well together. The production on the album is top-notch for what amounts to a D.I.Y. small-budget project. Boise Acedo's basswork could use a bit more high end to match the sound they generate live, but kudos are deserved for making Gabe Garcia's guitar roar and give the band a complete sound. Admittedly I've never been a huge fan of "stomp" bands and only find a handful of hardcore bands appealing, but Gat-Rot's positive honesty (even when lamenting girl problems in "1 Man H8 Machine") gives them a decided edge. Fans of Stuck Mojo, downset or anyone who dares call themselves hardcore should check these guys out.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/1998

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Gat-Rot - Conflict ©2000 Self-Released
1. This Is Not My America
2. Everyday Chaos
3. Weapons Of Wisdom
4. Confusion
5. It Hurts To Smile

Two years after their debut CD Strength Through Struggle, Tucson's Gat*Rot finally returns with a quickie EP to let people know that there still is a pulse in the desert. Conflict, the five song EP in question, is a stripped down, no-frills vehicle in comparison to their first album. All the rappish tendencies, turntables and extraneous elements have been cast aside for what comes across as socially aware but quite testy hardcore neo-metal. With the two vocalists screaming and shouting their little heads off over bombastic but simple riffs, this is music that is to the point and conveying but one emotion: anger. To a certain degree Conflict is too simple and often seems as though more could be added to the music, but that might defeat the intention of their music. The rhythm section is still the rattling ol' slapped bass and fairly straightfoward, slower to mid tempo pacings. Vocally, almost everything is screamed out, with a few spoken passages sprinkled in. As a bonus, a CD-ROM movie has been tacked onto the EP, showing the band in their home element in Tucson in front of a crowd that obviously loves hell out of them.

While not as sonically crushing as their first CD, Conflict has appeal to those into the angry and relevant hardcore-cum-metal crossover world. As noted above, Gat*Rot has been a fan favorite in Tucson for a number of years and perhaps this time around they'll get some attention outside the desert southwest.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/2000

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