The resurgence of Frank Carter in hardcore music was arguably the most exciting and unexpected return in recent memory when ‘Blossom’ surprised us all with its hard hitting combination of honest emotion and devastating riffs back in 2015. The Rattlesnakes brought back all of the characteristics that we were used to expecting from the Hemel Hempstead frontman, but with ‘Modern Ruin’, although the lyrics are as dark and raw as the first record, the musical output has taken a rapid turn.
It’s a completely new sound for the former Gallows and Pure Love vocalist, as he pushes the boundaries by experimenting with a sound that combines Bowie, Black Sabbath, and noughties indie rock that produces an interesting, mass friendly rock sound, but one that sadly hits and misses throughout.
The Arctic Monkeys channelling ‘Snake Eyes’ and the adventurous ‘Lullaby’ led the singles on the record, and introduced us to the new singing style of Carter, provoking raised eyebrows and question marks on the strategic direction of ‘Modern Ruin’ and how it would progress the band, which is now down to Frank and ex-Heights guitarist Dean Richardson as the two remaining original members.
The menacing tones of Richardson‘s guitar were a consistent highlight of ‘Blossom’, with the hooks on ‘Juggernaut’, ‘Paradise’, and ‘I Hate You’ being immediately recognisable as The Rattlesnakes‘ staple sound, but the sophomore record has removed all traces of the signature styles, and has such a different complexion that you could easily mistake it for a completely separate project.
The best example of the new objective is ‘Wild Flowers’; a track that incorporates vocal melodies that you would’ve laughed at Carter for attempting a decade ago, and still has the twang of attitude that maintains their punk aesthetic.
The title-track gives a quick throwback to the roots of the band, and, although it has still had a face lift of a Placebo feel and wouldn’t compete with the best of the first record, it still has enough aggression and identity to maintain the hardcore brand.
‘Modern Ruin’ isn’t bad, but it’s certainly a shock to the system, and has different targets and objectives to the band’s output so far. ‘Neon Rust’ is a clever, expansive journey that finishes the album excellently, but it’s not one for the regular Gallows fan that would’ve dropped in on Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes previously. The commercial success will be greater for ‘Modern Ruin’, but it’ll be a new audience as once again, Carter has made the music that reflects his mood at that current time. Where he goes next, we can only wait and see, but it’s sure to be one to watch out for regardless.
Written by Mike Heath (@MikeBeef)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.