‘Modern Ruin’ is a sensational triumph that offers more variety than its predecessor, and cements Frank Carter as a symbol for what hard rock stands for in the 21st century.
The last words that Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes left listeners with back in 2015 was “I hate you! / And I wish you would die!”. This summed up their raw and fiery debut Blossom that presented hard rock, or hardcore punk, as something cool for audiences to indulge in. Frank Carter had returned after former bands Gallows and Pure Love – and he was angry! Now though in 2017, the charismatic vocalist and his Rattlesnakes are back, after only a two-year wait to endure, with all new material in their second album Modern Ruin. New material that, perhaps, the listener will not be expecting.
The new album does hint at the Gallows-esque hardcore punk of Blossom every now and then, but on the face of it, it’s an intermediate contrast. The rampant debut wanted to bite the listener’s head off from the get-go. Conversely, Modern Ruin seems to display a more refined and sophisticated Frank Carter but the kick does not fade away. Experimentation with different flavours and dynamics shows that the band are expanding their horizons and not necessarily changing the way they sound for the sake of it.
Whilst ‘Juggernaut’ was an absolute belter of an album opener for Blossom; ‘Bluebelle’ embodies a borderline melodramatic atmosphere; how weird is that? Frank Carter is certainly a vocalist that can send you to sleep one minute and scare the living daylights out of you the next. The subsequent track ‘Lullaby’ follows on beautifully from ‘Bluebelle’ and it is in the moment that Carter sings that you noticed how his vocals are perfectly tuned to match this new sound. Anything from Blossoms would stick out like a sore thumb for many of the songs on this album. So, does the listener get to hear his rasping screams that he’s so brilliant at? Well yes of course; the penultimate title track seems to be the only track that resembles the essence of the highly passionate debut. But then to suggest that Modern Ruin is rubbish because of this would be utterly ridiculous as it is far from it.
‘Snake Eyes’ is simply magnificent with a powerful, brutal fast-picking guitar riff that gives light to Dean Richardson’s playing ability. ‘Vampires’ and ‘Wild Flowers’ brings out the hardcore punk element that is rife with satisfaction. If compared to modern American punk rock albums like Green Day’s latest release Revolution Radio, the punk element on records like that are almost non-existent and proves that the country that invented punk in the first instance (debatable… – Ed.) knows exactly how it is done.
Surprisingly the stand-out track from this album is one with a slower tempo and that is ‘Acid Veins’. A remarkable, swinging rock bonanza where Carter screams “I want to feel it!” multiple times. But if it is emotional lyrics that’s important to the listener then ‘Thunder’ ticks this box. The second verse for example: “Murdered by the nameless / Killed in their beds where they should be safest”.
‘Neon Rust’ concludes Modern Ruin with a masterful blend of harmonious guitar notes from Dean Richardson. With an upcoming tour approaching, they will not have to worry about whether people will turn up to their shows. Overall, Modern Ruin is a sensational triumph that offers more variety and cements Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes as a modern symbol for what hard rock stands for in the 21st century. (8/10) (Harry Beynon)
Listen to Modern Ruin here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!
Tags: album, Dean Richardson, Frank Carter, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Gareth Grover, Harry Beynon, International Death Cult, review, Tom Barclay
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