Review Summary: Frank wears his heart on his sleeve with The Rattlesnakes debut.
Love him or hate him, Frank Carter is one of the most enigmatic punk figures of the last 10 years; the Sid Vicious of the 21st Century. There's just something about the guy that draws people into his presence. Back in 2005 Frank, and his brother, Stephen, formed hardcore-punk outfit Gallows -- which quickly creating a buzz caused by their visceral music and insanely energetic live shows. It wasn't much later they elevated themselves into the mainstream with their 2006 debut LP, Orchestra Of Wolves
, and made the strange decision to get picked up by Warner Bros. Records soon after, to make their sophomore album Grey Britain
. But after the overwhelming success the band was caught up in, Frank surprised everyone and left the band to pursue his tattooing, as well as a musical venture in the USA called: "Pure Love"; a drastic departure from the hardcore-punk he'd played previously. Unfortunately "Pure Love" didn't quite lift off, so Frank disbanded and moved back to the UK to begin a new musical projected titled: "Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes." The band began the year with the release of their debut EP Rotten
, an appetising collection of hard-hitting punk tunes, designed to destroy any misconceptions that Frank is out of venom or steam.
Their debut album, Blossom
, follows the same strand the EP does and, put simply, is fantastic. While it's disappointing on some level that the three tracks from Rotten
-- as well as the hidden track, "Loss" -- are on here, the album more than makes up for this minor niggle with an album full of hard-hitters and little surprises along the way. On the surface Frank has returned to his roots and created an album that would have made a fine continuation on from Grey Britain
; the LP bathes in raw emotion and genuine sincerity -- a sincerity I haven't felt as real as this for along time in music -- and something a lot of artists these days couldn't even attempt to reach to the same level.
It's not just genuine emotion that's brought back to the fold; the heavy punk sound holds the backbone of the albums sound. The opening track was a masterstroke to open with: beginning with a reverb saturated twang from the guitar, before kicking in to the head-crushing guitar riff, and Frank's harsh screams, that would make anyone want to wave their fist into the air. While the album is "heavy" in the contemporary sense, it holds homage to the 70's punk sound; with tracks like "Trouble" and "Primary Explosive", which have the swagger and bite of the Sex Pistols; while the likes of "Fangs" and "Paradise" hold the same traits but mix it with a lot of modern day elements that keep them in the times. The breakdowns in particular are extremely effective throughout Blossom
and even though the band opted for a very raw production (in keep with that vintage sound) the breakdowns and quiet sections stand up to any of the most overproduced metal albums out there.
But as said previously, this is the bulk of the sound. The surprises come from the quiet tracks like "Beautiful Death" and "I Hate You", both are swamped in pain, a pain he transports right into the listener; you can really feel Frank pouring his heart out -- especially in former track -- and it's refreshing to hear something come across so real. Further surprises come from the sneaky variety that's nestled in the albums songs, like the bluesy influenced riffs on "I Hate You", and despite how grim the lyrics are on the track, the overall package of the song is insurmountably catchy -- worthy of radio time on that stand point alone.
Overall, to me, this kind of music has been a little stagnant in recent years, but this album brings it all back to a level ground again. Simple and to the point. While the band have a solid style, it relies more on substance. Lyrics range from personal problems, to current troubles in the world today and you can really tell he believes in every word he's spitting out on this record. Its biggest selling point is that you are getting something these guys believe in. And as Frank has stated:
"Too many bands nowadays are saying nothing. They're just singing about ***ing each other and wearing no clothes in summer. We already know that's cool, you idiots."
It's good to have you back.