Review: Modern Ruin

This Friday, punk legend Frank Carter returned with a new release from his band, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes.  Their debut LP, Blossom, was one of my favourite albums of 2015, and even before then I’ve followed Frank Carter’s career since his days as the front man of UK punk band Gallows.  Anyone who’s followed altrocklife for any length of time probably will have realised how much I love this man’s work, so you can bet I have huge expectations for the latest album, Modern Ruin.  Promotion for the record kicked off with the single Snake Eyes all the way back in June of last year, and you can watch the provocative music video here:

Now to the album.  Modern Ruin kicks off with the acoustic track Bluebelle, named after his frankly gorgeous pet dog.  The pace picks up with Lullaby, with its bass led verses and Frank’s signature voice belting out the chorus.  Just after hearing the first two tracks, one named after a pet and the other written about Frank looking after his daughter Mercy when she was ill, makes it obvious that Frank’s love for his family is a significant theme of Modern Ruin.  This is a nice shift in pace from The Rattlesnakes’ previous record, which featured tracks overflowing with hate and anger.

Already this record is much more melodic than their previous effort: Frank still uses screams and harsh vocals for effect, but they are much less frequent in Modern Ruin than they were in Blossom, especially in the verses.  This is pretty evident in track Vampires, which is much heavier on harmonised backing vocals than previous songs.  Does this make Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes any less punk?  Arguably not: Modern Ruin still has the same attitude as its predecessor, but it’s definitely the more mature and refined album of the two.

One of my highlights of the record is the riff heavy outro of God Is My Friend, followed by the explosive 56 second long Jackals.  Guitarist Dean Richardson and drummer Gareth Grover are forces to be reckoned with, and their performances on this album are outstanding.  Each track is a perfectly wrapped parcel, which gets its message across in a succinct and punchy way.  For me, the most aggressive track is the title track, full of harsh vocals and incredible riffs, and its intro reminds me slightly of Paradise from their previous record.

If anyone was expecting an identical copy of Blossoms in The Rattlesnakes’ latest release, they were totally off the mark.  One thing I know about Frank Carter, following his career from classic punk band Gallows, to Brit-rock duo Pure Love, and now to The Rattlesnakes, is that the man is anything but predictable. He makes exactly the music he wants to make, rather than what is expected of him, and that falls under my definition of punk pretty nicely.  I absolutely cannot wait for my preordered Modern Ruin book to arrive, so I can flick through all of the behind-the-scenes photos, and get the CD in my car pronto.  Even though it’s only January, I can already tell that this record will be a serious contender for the best album of 2017, because it’s absolutely blown me away.

Highlights: Snake Eyes, Vampires, Acid Veins, Thunder, Neon Rust

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