Release Date: 14/8/15
Label: International Death Cult
Frank Carter has had a bit of a turbulent time to say the least ever since he came bulldozing into the spotlight of the UK punk and hardcore scene with Gallows first record Orchestra of Wolves. Since then he’s gone on to write a modern masterpiece (Grey Britain) and put aside his anger and stepped into his singing boots to put out the Pure Love record, but something inside us makes us think he’s never been truly happy with any of these records. After a stressful and memorable year which included Frank getting married and having his first child, to getting fired from the tattoo studio he and his wife worked at and taking time out of music. But something didn’t feel right, he wasn’t happy with how his break from being involved with music was going, a moment of clarity opened Frank’s eyes to the realisation, that music was what he was meant to be doing. So now he’s back (yay!) and in a completely different outfit to what we’ve seen previously. He’s brought in friend and former Heights guitarist Dean Richardson, the two have been writing together for a few years in fact, Memby Jago formerly the drummer of punk powerhouse unit The Ghost Of A Thousand, and Thom Mitchener on bass. With the line up complete and the anticipation levels getting out of control, we wonder what Frank’s return will sound like?
How do you start your rebirth? With the most pissed off track you’ve ever written. ‘Juggernaut’ is an absolute behemoth of a song that is bristling with a visceral vocal performance and driven riffs. Frank’s delivery is possibly the most unique aspect of this record, an in between style of his Gallows gravel spit and the smoother tones of Pure Love, add clarity to it and you get this brilliantly British vibe which makes us love it even more. ‘Trouble’ follows on in brutish fashion and doesn’t let up, the vocals almost copying the guitars melody and changes to make this an infectious and raucous affair. ‘Fangs’ is just pure filth, one of the best and catchiest riffs Dean Richardson has penned and Frank barks pure bile and hatred as he howls “But i can’t help but wanna feel your teeth against my skin, if you’ve got fangs then sink them in”. An incredible opening to proceedings here.
‘Devil Inside Me’ quietly stutters forward before smashing through to leave a lasting impression on the listeners ears. The opening riff to ‘Paradise’ is phenomenal, it pulls and bends and wraps itself around the inside of your head and stays there, then follow it into a lyrical performance laced in poison words and directed at your worst enemy. Kicking up the energy levels is ‘Loss’, which you can guess, is all about loss. Losing faith, losing hope, losing yourself are some of the topics Frank delves into on this track and throughout the record as it details one of the worst years of the frontmans life. The guitar tone isn’t necessarily the heaviest but all the performances make this feel like the heaviest and angriest thing to have come out in years.
‘Beautiful Death’ is a beautifully tragic, almost tear jerker style of song that sees Frank opening up old wounds and letting us into his most vulnerable state of mind, one that we’ve never witnessed before on any of the Gallows records or got even close to on the Pure Love release. It just goes to show that anger and despair doesn’t have to be coupled with fast and hectic punk music but can be communicated in a more delicate and personal manner. Sure the track explodes and emphasises the hurt and shaky performance in his voice, and it’s the shaky and choking up nature that makes this even more real and necessary for Frank to be doing right now in his life. “What happens to us when we die?” is the question put to the listener at the start of ‘Rotten Blossom’, a song that asks many questions but leaves us reeling for the answers.
‘Primary Explosive’ continues the theme of rage and leads into album closer ‘I Hate You’. Strangely enough we can definitely see this closer becoming a mass singalong at live shows, even though it details the hatred Mr.Carter has for a certain someone, he really doesn’t hold back here. Not holding back is essentially what makes this album memorable as it attacks you from all angles and pummels you from start to finish, even the ‘softer’ moments are dripping in venom. The record has this very British feel to it, from the vocals to the riffs and even to the production and mixing of the record, which makes it feel like it’s ours, and we fucking love that. All hail the return of Frank Carter, it’s so good he put his name on it.