Rashomon, "病原菌X / Pathogen X"

Rashomon Pathogen X.jpg

Rashomon, 病原菌X /Pathogen X
Iron Lung Records
★★★★☆

Outside of the when and where punk originally started arguments, one of the more heated debates is which scene eventually did it best. Like most of these disputes, there’s not a definitive answer, and often it’s a pointless exercise designed to show off the size of your record collection, demonstrate your encyclopedic knowledge of punk’s history, and to show some love for your hometown (or adopted) punk scene. That said, DC did it best and influenced all your favorite bands, don’t @ me.

Continuing the District’s rich punk tradition, Rashomon fucking kill it on the six tracks of Pathogen X, doing more than enough to back up Iron Lung’s promotional blurb comparing the release to the Faith/Void Split LP. Separated by almost three decades, eighteen tracks, and an entire language, there is still somehow a fascinating connection between the two records—something more than just the shared genre and locale. Rashomon tap into that reckless, beautifully nervous energy of 1982, while simultaneously demonstrating the resilience punk has shown as a genre since whenever and wherever its inception was. Bands like Rashomon show how punk has existed—hell, has thrived—in every decade since the ‘70s, and shows no indications of giving up its seat at the pop culture table for decades to come.

Pathogen X is a remarkably layered record, one that reward repeated listens, which is easy to do (and necessary) as the release clocks in at about twelve minutes. Over the six songs, the band careens effortlessly between anthemic and cerebral punk, gut punches and embraces, despair and optimism. There’s as much light as there is shadow, both of which propel this release from the bared teeth of opener “Surrender” to the shifting tides of closer “An Inviting Hand.”

In a new year where there’s already too much to be angry about, Pathogen X provides a destructive, cathartic release from the ugliness that has become our day-to-day, as well as fostering just enough anger and hope within us to make tomorrow worth fighting (and voting) for—and maybe even being cautiously optimistic about. I seriously can’t understate how much you should throw money at these talented musicians.