Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

Modern Ruin

Written by: PP on 22/04/2017 02:16:12

For as long as I can remember, Frank Carter has talked about wanting to write a gritty rock and roll album. He's attempted it multiple times: the gloomy, downtrodden "Grey Britain" was Gallows' attempt at that but came out as a hardcore masterpiece instead. Pure Love, his first solo project, found itself far in the melodic alternative rock realm as a sort of an antithesis to his hardcore past. With The Rattlesnakes, he seems to finally have achieved just that, even if it took a hardcore-infused debut album to reach that stage. "Modern Ruin", his sophomore effort with The Rattlesnakes, is basically a gritty rock and roll album to its bone. With echoing vocal effects and groovy guitars produced to sound dirty and sneaky, the soundscape can't be described in any other way than that, which also means it's a noticeable departure stylistically from the testosterone-fueled debut album.

And that's not necessarily a good thing. Album opener "Bluebell" is only a minute long but is way too quiet and slow, resulting in negative feelings about the album straight away. "Lullaby" isn't much better. It's a mid-tempo cruiser with groovy rock'n'roll leads that sound an awful lot like Wolfmother except less catchy and memorable. "Snake Eyes" is marginally more like Frank Carter with vicious lyrics, but even here it feels like he's holding back in terms of vocal rage. It's not until fourth track "Vampires" that we get the first banger on the record. Styled more as a gritty alternative rock track than anything else, the song's muted chorus is ridiculously catchy and the most Pure Love sounding track on the record. That's a good sign. It's also a good example of the stylistic shift The Rattlesnakes have gone through since album one.

If the debut album was almost like a hardcore album posing as a rock'n'roll album, the hardcore elements are all but gone on "Modern Ruin" aside from one or two ferocious pieces. It's a cleaner, slower, and less aggressive sound than before. "Acid Veins" is a good example: Carter sounds like a hardcore troubadour playing rock'n'roll here, but it's an atmospheric song with plenty of ambiance and as opposed to the ravaging nature of his past endeavors. It's a decent song but it's no "Juggernaut". It says a lot when the 55-second "Jackals" is one of the best songs on the record.

"Thunder" is the balladic masterpiece of the album, however. It's slow and foreboding, harrowing in its delivery. It's classic Frank Carter, especially once the crescendo to the chorus begins by asking "Are you a friend or are you a foe?". The song keeps getting louder and louder, stopping just at the boundary of hardcore by the end of it. This is what the entire album should be all about if you ask me.

Instead, the record boasts of many songs that are decent and only a few great cuts. It's slower, less aggressive, and in many cases too anonymous. It's a gritty rock'n'roll album, but it lacks the "Juggernaut" or "I Hate You" that made the first album so beautifully vicious and triumphant. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes might be the best live band on the planet even after this release, but the studio album fails to capture the live energy and the result is essentially: meh. Needs more hardcore, if only all tracks were in the vein of the title track...

Download: Vampires, Jackals, Acid Veins, God Is My Friend, Thunder, Modern Ruin
For the fans of: Wolfmother, Pure Love, The Bronx
Listen: Facebook

Release date 20.01.2017
International Death Cult

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