After his departure from Gallows in 2011, you can hardly accuse Frank Carter of resting on his laurels. From the get-go, Carter formed his band Pure Love with ex- Hope Conspiracy and Suicide File guitarist Jim Carroll. The venture was risky, but seemed to pay off on the whole. However, their only album, Anthems, delved into a more indie, straight forward rock and roll sensibility. While I really enjoyed the album personally, it lacked the bite and intensity I’d associated with Frank, one of the most prolific and scathing songwriters of our generation. Three years down the line after Pure Love were put on ‘indefinite hiatus’, Carter vows to wow us all with his newly curated E.P. with his fresh band The Rattlesnakes. Promising a return to his roots, will the three track release contain the same fire and intensity we first heard from his two albums with Gallows? Well, only one way to find out.
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
3. Primary Explosive
Now, I’d heard the first track, Fangs, before. The song hits the listener in the face, and straight away, you know you’re in safe hands. The lo-fi sound quality works totally in the bands favour, with Frank’s fierce vocals screaming directly into your eardrums, the punk sensibilities of the band are on full display here. Gone is the clean singing of Frank’s previous project, and returning is the raw, strained screams we all grew so fond of earlier in his career. The riffs on display throughout the track are fantastic, dancing on the line between punk and straight up hardcore. Carrying with it the vibe of bands like Black Flag and Bad Brains, a track as ferocious as this having such an incredibly catchy chorus just shouldn’t be allowed, but alas, here we are. Fangs can sit comfortably as one of the finest pieces of work Frank Carter has ever produced, and definitely stand as the best song on Rotten.
Next up is the riff driven, distortion drenched Paradise. Tackling a theme as heavy as suicide-bombings, Frank sounds as furious as ever before. ‘If there is a paradise, A superb chorus and stupidly heavy verses just show off just how heavy music can sound without the unnecessary use of production. This raw, intense piece of music is just as crushing as anything I’ve heard in recent years, all through pure aggression and intense vocals. A mid-song break gives way to a fitting crescendo breakdown to ring the song out, with a lyrical section begging to be screamed back at the band as soon as they begin playing shows. Another fantastic track from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, then.
Finally, Primary Explosive has enough groove and swagger to force anyone to move their feet. A snarling Carter moves his way through the track spitting venom at every turn, singing over yet another fantastic riff and instrumental section.A slower burning track, the song has an air of maturity about it that cuts through the malice presented through the lyrical content, showing just how far Frank’s really come since his days barking at crowds with his former band, yet without losing any of his vicious, cutting edge.
Hidden away at the end of a brief silence from Primary Explosive, hidden track Loss is a thoughtful dirge wrought with pure emotion and heartfelt sentiment. If anything, Loss might be the most intense song on the E.P.. Sure, it’s not as hard hitting, and features solely a clean guitar and Frank’s harsh vocals, but the emotion on display here is such that the captivating quality transcends any requirement of loud guitar and drums. A real stand out, and contender for song of the E.P..
So, Rotten is an incredibly welcome journey through the mind of one of the best vocalists to come out of the hardcore scene in the past ten years. However, this isn’t all about Frank. The Rattlesnakes put in a stunning showing with their catchy riffs, already signature tone and vicious playing style. At a mere three (well, four) tracks, the E.P. Just left me begging for more, and I can’t wait to catch a show as soon as I can. Capturing both his roots and twisting them into new shapes, Frank Carter has produced his best material since 2009, and the promise is tantalizing.
Catch Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes on their upcoming tour