ALBUM REVIEW: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Modern Ruin

Image Source: Dying Scene

Frank Carter, who was the part of the British hardcore band Gallows until 2011, when he left due to some disagreements over the stylistic direction of further creative work of the band and left to float freely with his new band Pure Love, which played less aggressive, moderately hooligan rock music. That project has since exhausted itself, and now Frank is at the head of Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

In 2015, The Rattlesnakes’ debut album Blossom dropped, and became an instant hit. It was a blistering slab of heavy blues, punk and hardcore, supported by a ruthless, raw sound. Their new album Modern Ruin was set to be released on January 27, 2017, but it ended up coming out 7 days early.

In one interview with Annie Mac, Carter said their new disk is “about human relationships and how they affect us.” The album was mixed by Catherine Marks (Foals/Wolf Alice) and recorded by Thomas Mitchener, the band’s former touring bassist. Released via International Death Cult/Kobalt Label Services, the album consists of 12 tracks and the borrowings from both Carter’s hardcore and alternative rock past are evident throughout.

The first two things that attract attention in the album are the slick, silky production, which reminds about the brass tacks sound of the previous release, and the disk’s heavy thirst for catchy melodic hooks and indie-rock riffs, which are afforded some extra bite by the instrumentation. This is Frank Carter as we’ve never seen him before. The opening track “Bluebelle“ proves that Frank has really entered a new level of musicianship. Here we perceive Frank as a man singing to someone lost, complaining about his broken promises.

The tempo changes with ‘Lullaby’ and ‘Wild Flowers’, and here Carter’s alternative rock sensibilities are more evident. These tracks represent a real variance in the sound of the whole album. In ‘Acid Veins’ this alternative rock route with floaty guitar lines is also noticeable, although it is diversified with breakdowns in the chorus.

The shortest track on the album – ‘Jackals’ is a combination of two main sounds of the disk, intertwining between alternative and hardcore rock. With the track ‘Thunder’, Carter returns to the alternative rock style again. According to Frank, ‘Modern Ruin’ is the “only hardcore song on the whole record, but it’s the defining hardcore song of a generation, I hope.” The closing track ‘Neon Rust’ embodies the duality of the album. This song is the opposite of the first tracks, as Carter’s weeping vocals sound less certain here.

Modern Ruin is something that combines a little from every point of Frank Carter’s career. It’s evident from his ‘Bluebelle’ that we’re not in Orchestra of Wolves territory any more, while the fuzzy, misty ‘Lullaby’ could have sat alongside ‘Beach of Diamonds’ or ‘The Handsome Devil Club’ on Pure Love’s album. With Modern Ruin it becomes evident that the band have tried to please everyone, ensuring the record is cohesive and has a naturally engaging flow to it. However, whichever way Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes take it, their new release proves to be very good indeed.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are touring in the spring, pick up tickets here, and download Modern Ruin here.

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