For Fans Of
While Gallows are still respectable, engaging and producing music that is on the front foot, it’s now very much Gallows A.D. When Frank Carter left in 2011, under the explanation of “creative differences”, a little part of what made the band so endearing left with him. And while it arguably turned out as a win/win, as Wade MacNeil has proved a worthy successor, and we’re talking apples and oranges here, ‘Grey Britain’ is still the band’s hallmark of contemporary punk/hardcore because of the intensity and overt passion (if not, residing bitterness) of the ginger nut that took the microphone and spat out his venom.
For fans overwhelmed by nostalgia and a desire to hear Carter return to these roots, Pure Love wasn’t going to achieve its goals – that was a different beast entirely, a more controlled, indifferent one at that. Enter Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. EP ‘Rotten’ was a fun precursor with ‘Blossom’ the full-length fans are waiting to embrace.
Immediately, the aggression and devil may care attitude of Carter is not only back but prevails at the forefront. Anyone, a glass half-full optimist, hoping to hear what it would be like if Carter never left Gallows, well this is as close as you’re going to get. Like it or leave it. However, it is worth noting that this is a different project and hence has different themes and motivations. It would be lazy and inaccurate to label this merely as ‘Grey Britain’ 2.0. An early tick in the favour of this record is the intensity Carter brings. He does have a band supporting him, so we don’t want to make it all about Frank, but he is a magnetic frontman and the vocals are dynamic and driving. Opener ‘Juggernaut’ is very British with that bouncy drumbeat and driving riffs, with Carter’s almost spoken, cockney twang prevalent.
‘Trouble’ meanders a little but ‘Fangs’ is instantly redeeming. When ‘Devil Inside Me’ hits it becomes apparent that this is a little more accessible. Whether that’s a good thing depends on the respective listener. It is well paced, if nothing else. ‘Paradise’ picks things up and gives something grittier to sink your teeth into. Equally, ‘Loss’ is a highlight. The full-length seems to get moodier towards the tail-end of tracks.
The small problem (if we can even call it that) is, and it’s not really debilitating, as the album plays out the music is a little safe. It’s not as threatening as it could be. It’s very considered, but is considered the objective in this genre? You want music that feels like it’s ready to jump from the speakers or headphones and punch you as hard as the snare drum hits. Yes, it does at many times – just not from start to finish. ‘Blossom’ is quite enjoyable, but not really unrestrained.
Putting overly critical observations aside, ‘Blossom’ is an entertaining release and undoubtedly deserves a confident pass mark, but it’s the sum of its parts instead of the whole that contains the charm. Isolated tracks are standouts instead of a collection of tracks that excel from beginning to end.
‘Blossom’ seems reflective of a vocalist attempting self-imposed emotional cleansing through his music. Therefore, this record is important for its therapeutic elements. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes deliver a solid album, one that can, and should, be endorsed.
4. Devil Inside Me
7. Beautiful Death
8. Rotten Blossom
9. Primary Explosive
10. I Hate You