It was after a breathtakingly brutal show in London in 2016 that a colleague of mine told me to look out for the new long player from Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes. I’d heard that Frank was a phenomenal front man and that his shows were nothing short of spectacular, so off I went, researching this heavily tattooed red headed wild man of punk rock.
My initial point of contact was his first band, Gallows, a hardcore punk band that Carter left in 2011 after citing that they "have hit a crossroads in our writing process and unfortunately myself and the rest of the boys have different ideas regarding the sound of Gallows going forward”.
Carter formed English-American alt-rock outfit Pure Love that went on to release four singles and one album Anthems. In 2014, they released an EP titled The Bunny prior to announcing that they were going on an indefinite hiatus and after some farewell shows in May.
Never one to be held down for long, Carter promptly formed ‘Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes’ in 2015 and in May of that year, released their debut EP Rotten. This was followed up with their debut album release of Blossom in August of the same year, receiving positive praise from a slew of high profile magazines and websites who were glad that Frank had come back in to the ring with such a strong release.
Their latest offering Modern Ruin was released on January 20th 2017 and it’s this that we’re going to focus on for the next few paragraphs. Will the sound be reminiscent of the debut album Blossoms?, will it take a surprising detour off course? well, read on to see what we thought.
First and foremost, this album is a masterpiece.....clean, sharp and superbly crafted. Initially I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t as raw and spontaneous as Frank’s live shows, but when thinking a little deeper, that’s what makes Frank Carter such a spectacle. His live shows are an experience and not something that you can replicate on a CD or digital download. The first thing I noticed about this album was the huge vocal hooks and strong melodies that will resonate throughout any venue. Simple in appearance, but heartfelt and gutsy, like a red headed wolf in sheep's clothing!
This feels miles away from any of the Gallows releases, and in the best possible way. This is a new venture and one that has taken huge leaps and bounds through its short history. Vocally, this album has taken a different approach to that of their previous long player Blossom. The radio-like tone from that last album has been calmed and Frank’s vocals have been captured with a lot less post production by capturing a much more atmospheric, 'live' sound. Some parts even reminding me of Billie Joe Armstrong’s vocals in ‘American Idiot’. This is also one of the main selling points of this album. The difference in vocals is just the tip. Everything is much tighter and carefully considered, a thought process that will see this album appreciated by a much wider audience.
Highlights of the album? Lullaby and Wild Flowers. Lullaby, purely for that filthy chord progression combined with Frank’s haunting vocals, it’s such a technically brilliant track and it sticks in your head. It’ll be resonating throughout the UK’s finest venues over the coming years. Wild Flowers initially hooked me with that 8-bit style drum tone but like Lullaby, I’m a sucker for a great chord progression. My highlight from Wild Flowers was Frank’s synth like backing vocals, not as good as hearing the track live, but one that I felt was one of the closest to the real thing on this album.
So, my first recommendation is, go and give this a listen. Then immediately go and buy a ticket for any of his upcoming shows. This album is a real treat, but nothing will quite beat the real thing. Trust me, this’ll be the one thing that you'll thank me for.
Review by Steve Muscutt & Sion Roe
- Snake Eyes
- Wild Flowers
- Acid Veins
- God Is My Friend
- Real Life
- Modern Ruin
- Neon Rust