A few months back, the world greeted the return of ex Gallows and Pure Love frontman Frank Carter, hitting the punk scene once more with his new band The Rattlesnakes, releasing the debut E.P. Rotten. Raw, energetic and intense, the E.P. Was an incredibly promising look at things to come for Frank and his new comrades. Now a few months on, we’re treated to the first full length album from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Blossom. Can the boys deliver on the promise their first release gave us? Well, let’s find out…
Since the album features three tracks previously featured on the Rotten E.P, I will be inserting my thoughts on the songs from my previous review into this one, forming a more complete review. Anyway, let’s go!
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
4. Devil Inside Me
7. Beautiful Death
8. Rotten Blossom
9. Primary Explosive
10. I Hate You
Kicking off the album with true ferocity is the defiant first lead single Juggernaut, a call to arms with only one soldier nessesary. The blood curdling screams eminating from Carter make clear incredibly early on that this isn’t a record for the faint of heart, pummeling the listener with scratchy, lo-fi vibes from the first seconds of the opening riffs. ‘Even On My Own/You Can’t Stop Me/I Am The Juggernaut‘, yes you are Frank. Yes you are. Moving onto track two and Trouble might just stand out as one of the best songs on the album, with venom oozing from each and every pore the song contains. This time directing his hate toward terrorist groups such as ISIS once again, this dark journey through the mind of a captive prisoner of religion is one that stands out atop the pile. Managing to keep a lyrical tone this dark whilst remaining incredibly catchy and screechingly heavy is something Frank and his crew seem to have mastered, and it’s a wonderful thing to behold.
Next up, Fangs. 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.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. Chugging bass ushers us into track four, Devil Inside Me, an almost psychedelic sounding trip into the dark recesses of the human condition. Here however, it would be a crime to say that the rhythm section don’t half steal the show. A kicking beat, infectious bass work and bashed chords create yet another stellar piece with a mid section to rival any of the catchiest songs released this whole year.
From here is the riff driven, distortion drenched Paradise. Tackling a theme as heavy as suicide-bombings, Frank sounds as furious as ever before. 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. Now, I’ll be completely honest with you, the band’s reworking of their previous piece Loss,the sixth track on the album, is something that unforunately leaves me a little disappointed. This isn’t to say that the song is poor, or even remotely weak. But uninspired riffs and a length that rings a little too long just can’t compare to the incredibly raw, soul bearing experience that was the version of Loss on the Rotten E.P. Is it a bad song? Definitely not. Is it a better rendition? Definitely not.
However, fear not, for Beautiful Death has you covered. Beautifully moody guitars carry the listener into an almost whispered dirge before dropping them to the ground once more, the serene atmosphere created shattered in an instant before bringing the listener back to a dream like state, then repeating it’s process. This is a seriously strong track for Carter himself, putting enough emotion into his performance to rival any previous work, and probably knock any notion of ‘going quietly’ quickly to bed. Coming as close as it can to a title track, Rotten Blossom ponders the question regarding our fate beyond the grave. Another showcase track for the ex Heights guitarist, with guitar and bass tone to force every string playing musician swoon. Beautiful.
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. Finishing the album is the sublime I Hate You, a track that I’m sure nearly everybody listening can relate to at some point or another in time. A spiteful, obscenity ridden track, the jazz-laden groove heard here could rival any song thrown at it, coming away with the most interesting piece of the whole record, and my favourite song by an absolute mile. A true diamond in the rough.
So, Blossom, then. Frank Carter has managed to craft one of the most intricately impressive punk records I have ever heard, managing to contain animal ferocity inside some of the catchiest pieces I’ve had the pleasure of hearing this year. If you’re a fan of, well, anything, just music in general, run out today and grab yourself a copy of Blossom. You will not regret it.