Album Review: Rotting Out – Ronin

U.S. hardcore ragers Rotting Out hit back hard on first album in almost a decade, Ronin

Album Review: Rotting Out – Ronin
Paul Brannigan

A look at Ronin’s tracklisting – Reaper, Prisoner, Unforgiven – indicates that Rotting Out aren’t a band to waste words or fritter away time, which is entirely understandable, given their history. Following the band’s original split in 2015, frontman Walter Delgado served 18 months in an Ohio prison on a drugs trafficking charge. Having reunited in 2018, the San Pedro quintet aren’t about to squander second chances.

Their first album in seven years takes its title from the Japanese word for a samurai warrior without a master, and ideas of autonomy, self-reliance and self-examination run deep throughout this old school hardcore-referencing set. ‘It’s all on me,’ spits Walter on the lacerating Thief, ‘I’m the only one that’s got me on my knees.

Such unflinching honesty can make Ronin an uncomfortable listen, not least on the punishing grind of Boy, which alludes to childhood abuse, and builds in intensity towards the repeated mantra ‘Here I am, roaming alone / Every step, filled with shame.’ It also makes Ronin the first truly essential hardcore album of 2020.

Verdict: 4/5

Check out more:

The best of Kerrang! delivered straight to your inbox three times a week. What are you waiting for?