3 September 2015
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes - Blossom
Welcome to cover roulette - my general term for picking a review based just on the cover of an album. This time it is from an artist who I have heard about, but not in this context. This is the debut release of Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Frank Carter has formerly performed in Pure Love and also Gallows. Now, I reviewed the first Gallows albums - 'Orchestra of Wolves' - cleverly linked here (back in the day when my reviews were shorter than an New York minute), I found the songs to be good, but the production to be a little ropey; it took something away from the power of the band. Since then, I will be honest I have not followed the Gallows or Pure Love as - for want of a better reason - I have not had time to check releases from either of them out. I know the Gallows have continued after Frank Carter left following the release of 'Grey Britain' and that Pure Love have release one album and one EP, but as this blog proves I have been listening to an awful lot of stuff. Now when I first saw this cover a few weeks ago, I loved it; amp stacks on fire - what is there not to love. After checking out their website and Facebook, they have been growing in leaps and bounds; the album also made the top twenty on its first week of release, their upcoming UK tour is selling really well and they have been touring the festival circuit around Europe. So it is time to find out if their album is as explosive as the cover.....
With a sharp strum of the guitar, "Juggernaut" come smashing through that quick opening and there is nothing left to the imagination here. Musically it is heavy hardcore with a great chorus hook, lyrically it is a statement of intent and defiance - with lines like "Even on my own, you can't stop me" and "Who crossed me out", this is a song is stating that Frank Carter is back and will not take any shit. To be honest, it does not so much set their stall out - it burns the stall, dives into the pit and starts to look for blood. It is an explosion that sets the album out to a fierce start and the Rattlesnakes sound fucking awesome. "Trouble" starts off with a claustrophobic set of lyrics and a desire for escape, once again you can read so much into this set of lyrics and people probably will. But this fantastic song about needing to change or die is another stomping number that will go down a storm when people see them on the tour for this album; it is hard hitting, lyrically it is very engaging and it sounds like a the pause before the explosion. “Fangs" comes across as a mosh pit waiting to happen; the Rattlesnakes are in their groove on this song and if there was any doubt about the standard of this band, then this song smashing them into dust. The song (to me at least) seems to be about being tempted by someone who you know is no good for you, but you are going to do it anyway; I could be wrong, it has been known to happen - anyway, long story short; fucking cracking song that sounds like a mosh pit exploding next to you.
"Devil inside Me" has a riff at the beginning that sounds like the rhythm of the Dr Who theme, once I noticed that I could not take it out of my head. Anyway, this song about the evil inside of each of us that does all the fucked up things that we would not normally do is another explosion draped in music. I love the whole combination of the song, it is another powerful tune and I wish I never made the Dr Who connection - still fucking brilliant. The fifth track (and half way point of the album) is called "Paradise" is a damning condemnation of religion and people who do not deserve to see that paradise. It is a harsh track, there is no remorse to this number and it comes across as subtly as a brick wall dropped on your head. It is harsh as fuck, ready for war and taking everyone with them; job well done on that one. "Loss" is the sound of a man in despair and stating the obvious that everyone has lost something in their life. It is another hard hitting number, musically and lyrically it reaches in and smashing everything up. It is also something where people will be able to relate to it as people will be able to find that emotional attachment to the song. Hands down (for me at least), the stand out track of the album especially the breakdown at the end and the after screaming sound of exhaustion and additional fucks that are added as the guitar fades out with static in the air.
"Beautiful Death" is heart breaking, the sound of anguish about the death of a close on is all too clear for anyone blessed with the gift of hearing. The music from the Rattlesnakes is spot on to accompany the torrent of emotion that is coming from Frank Carter, the whole song is an emotional release that is hard to hear if you have experienced similar as it does sound like the feelings that are going on inside; not to take anything away from the track, but when you relate to this song it hurts and my deity that is shows how effective a song this is. It is stunning, fragile and wounded - another track that knocks the wind out of your sails and picks you up with the power of the song. "Rotten Blossom" has such a swagger from the beginning that you would expect it to steal your beer, your partner and your life, it is fucking awesome from the beginning. This song questions what happens when we take the next step after life ends for us, something that people have been doing for many moons. I do not think it has been given such a manic, angry and violent eruption of noise as this track, it really does make you think and it can also make you want to form a circle pit on your own. The penultimate track is called "Primary Explosive" which has an almost rock 'n' roll feeling to the music from the Rattlesnakes, the groove for this number is genius for me and the lyrics about feeling abandoned and that you are about to blow the world up with your anger is just as powerful as every other number on this album, I am not going to lie - so far, there has been no rest and this song does not change that. Neither does the final number - "I Hate You" (which is the words of a popular t-shirt from the band; it is the longest song on the album (none of the others outstay their welcome which is the way hardcore punk should be) and whilst it starts off without an explosion from the band, the lyrics are really, really, really harsh. Imagine the person you hate the most in the world, times it by infinity and you are not even close to the hatred Frank Carter has towards this person. From the opening moment to the end, you are in a world with no remorse and you are basically fucked if you are on the receiving end of this torrent - it might not float my musical tastes as much as the rest of the songs, but I am too scared to say so in case he turns up and gives me a hiding. But it does end the album in style (and that is said without fear).
Wow - I think that this album is a game changer. You are never sure what to expect with a band when you go by their cover, even if you know something about one of the people in the band. This is an explosion draped in hardcore and filled with piss and vinegar, it is harsh, unforgiving, brutally honest and in no mood for taking any shit from anyone. From the opening note to the ending of "I Hate You", there is not a track which does not impress; production is loud, the performance by everyone sounds brilliant and it is one of those albums that will take a lot of work to beat. I usually look for counterpoints so I do not come across as a fan boy, but I cannot apart that I wish there was more on here (but it is best to leave the audience wanting more); if you get a chance to see them on tour, go for it and buy this album - what an album....
9.5 out of ten - Almost perfect, almost.......
Top track - Loss
You can purchase the album from Amazon here
You can visit the Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes website here
You can follow their activities on Facebook here
You can stream the album on Spotify here
You can stream the album on Deezer here
The album is not available from streaming on Tidal (at least it is not shown when I was looking for links) - but here is a link to their page on Tidal
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